The Shropshire Hills English Cogal

The Shropshire Hills English Cogal

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April 2012 promises top be a special month for any Velominatus. While the current icons of our great sport do battle in spring classics, many of the Velominati will be enjoying The Keepers Tour.

Meanwhile, in the quiet county of Shropshire, another event promises great things. Epic scenery, some pretty serious climbing, an imperial century, and fine post ride beer and curry, The English Cogal has it all.

@Chris gave us all a taster of the Shropshire Hills in his guest article covering Edric’s Windy, Wet and Wild Wiggle, and The English Cogal will be covering much of the same terrain. After bisecting the Clees in the South of the county, we’ll head across to Stiperstones, before crossing The Long Mynd, so there’s climbing a plenty. As the saying goes, what goes up must come down, and there’s some fairly hairy descents too. Just ask anyone who’s ever ridden down the Burway.

It’s not all about the hills though, and the Cogal will also pass through some of the historic towns which are scattered across the county. From the industrial heritage of the Ironbridge Gorge, to ‘Little Switzerland’, as well as the town that claims to be the birthplace of the Modern Olympic Games, Much Wenlock.

Assuming that we all make it back to Shifnal in one piece I’m guessing that a thirst will have been worked up, and we’ll be aiming to sample some of the fine real ale pubs that are in the town. Once re-hydrated, we’ll be finishing off with a traditional ‘English’ curry.

So, who’s riding? Well I suppose the fact that we frequent this website speaks volumes, but I’m no ex pro or budding racer(and the same can be said for the other locals), and this Cogal will be of the ‘Casually Deliberate’ variety (See The Small Print below).

There are plenty of places to stay in Shifnal, and if anyone wants details of B&Bs etc just let me know.

This could be fun.

The Boring Bits:
Date: Saturday April 14th 2012
Time: Wheels will be turning at V past 9 precisely
Where: Silks Café, Shifnal
Distance: 164km(ish)
Route and location details on the Cogal Event Page.

The Fine Print: This is fairly tough route, and although we’ll be adopting a ‘no drop’ principle, there are limited bail out points and so attendees need to be confident of their ability to complete the route. I’d imagine that the average speed will be somewhere around 23km/h taking into account the hills.

// Cogals

  1. @strathlubnaig
    The top end of Glenogle looks a bit steep, that must hurt a bit.

  2. @strathlubnaig

    Shropshire sounds good, but would involve going abroad.

    As would Scotland ;¬)

  3. @936adl
    As both are for me!

    Scotland sounds good – always good craic are the Scottish – could do some MTBing too – just so long as we are far enough away from those fricking monster midges in Largs!

  4. @Dr C
    Midges are much less of a problem over towards the east. They’re also pretty crap when it comes to Rule #9 and tend to die off once it cools down.

    Hows the new MTB going? Fallen off yet?

  5. @Chris

    Good idea to keep mouth closed when out in what passes for summer here, and adhere to Rule #39 of course. On the other hand, it saves you stopping to eat.

  6. @strathlubnaig
    And be sure to use non-tacky sun block!

    To be fair though on a fine day you can’t beat the highlands.

  7. I’ve spent an hour or so this evening tweaking the route a little. There’s certainly going to be some climbing on the day!

  8. I’m going to recce some of the route tomorrow, and if the weather’s good i’ll take some pics.

    Only just over a month to go….

  9. It’s going to be a full on rule VV ride!

    We rode the first 60 or so km yesterday and it’s a lumpy bu66er!

  10. The planning continues! I’ve identified a pub for a mid ride snack/lunch, and there’s even a bike shop attached in case we need it.

  11. How’s the route planning going? I’m keen to ride, but I want to make sure I’m properly up to it. Do you have an estimate for the total amount of climbing?

  12. @Mike

    The route is pretty well set.

    Plenty of climbing, although there will be a bail out option. The main route is likely to be about 1500m of climbing.

    Pace will be modest though, and no one will be left behind

  13. Thanks for the info, that sounds like a manageable quantity of lumps, certainly enough to facilitate the consumption of several pints of malted recovery drink.

  14. Found this on the Velominati tumblr site, looks very much like the sort of roads and terrain that @936adl will be dishing up…

  15. @Chris
    at the top of the picture, it looks like heaven, at the bottom of the picture, the reality bites, and one realises why so many people ride MTBs on the roads – either that or glue your teeth in firmly to prevent bleeding gums

  16. Great pic!

    Could well be one of the climbs on the Cogal.

    Not long now…..

  17. Two weeks and counting…..

    If you’re planning on attending can you let me know.

  18. @ 936adl

    If I win the lotto tonight we’ll all be there. But probably that won’t happen. I have no plans to be back in blighty any time soon but if that ever changes and I have to come over to Telford I will contact you to ride!! Count on it!

  19. @Chris
    What a picture… Just begs to be ridden.

    Word. Not too late to show up…

  20. @936adl

    Yep, I’ll be there. My legs may not be though.

  21. @936adl
    3 of us coming up from Bristol.

    Can you confirm the start time? Says v past 9 above, but the other pager says 10…

    Can’t wait!

  22. Apologies for the confusion.

    The aim is for wheels to be turning for 0930(give or take V mins!). i’ll aim to be at the Cafe from 9 for pre ride espresso.

    I’m looking forward to it!

  23. Ok.

    We’ve pushed the start time back until 093V to allow those travelling a bit more time, and for consumption of a pre ride espresso.

    This is certainly going to be a long one, and i’m anticipating being out pretty much all day.

    I thought we could have lunch here – – the added bonus is it has a bike shop attached if we need anything. This is also pretty well bang on half way sp should work pretty well.

    If anyone wants anymore info get in touch via twitter, and i’ll DM my mobile number.

    The plan is still for post ride beer and curry for those who want to stick around.

  24. @paolo
    whenever you’re back in blighty be sure to be in touch!

  25. Hi

    Long time lurker on here, first time poster.

    As i live about a mile from ironbridge would you mind if i tag along?

  26. @muck muck

    No worries. The more the merrier!!

    Although i hope today’s snow is gone before the ride. Ideally this will not be a Rule #9 affair.

  27. I’m planning on coming along, looks like it should be a great ride. I rode through some of the area last autumn when I did John O’Groats to Land’s End.

    It’ll be nice to have a crack at it without about 20lbs of luggage and chunky touring tyres this time!

  28. @936adl

    whenever you’re back in blighty be sure to be in touch!

    I sure will. Damn I wish I could make this cogal, looks like you’re goning to have a great turn out and a great day! Good luck!

    ( snow in April???…now I remember why I left).

  29. @936adl

    @muck muck

    No worries. The more the merrier!!

    Although i hope today’s snow is gone before the ride. Ideally this will not be a Rule #9 affair.

    Great thanks looks like being an epic day. I ride these roads every week but am looking forward to some new stuff hopefully! Is the route sorted? I know you are using Marshbrook but that’s about it.

  30. @936adl

    Can confirm two of us coming up from London for the ride. Sure it’s going to be tough, reckon we’ll have earned a post-ride pint (or two…).

  31. I’m currently in France for Paris Roubaix but will post some more updates when i get back to blighty on Monday.

    The route’s all sorted, and i can send this to people via e-mail next week if they let me know their details.

    I’m looking forward to it, it should be fun.

    I’m now off to ride some cobbles in France ;¬)

  32. @paolo

    Hopefully the snow will have cleared up by next Saturday!

  33. Ok.

    I’ve just got back from Belgium, and I can promise that no cobbled sections are included in the route.

    I’ve plotted the route on Garmin Connect for anyone who wants to upload it before saturday. –

    Everything crossed that the weather is kind to us….

    I hope to see as many of you as possible on Saturday.

  34. @936adl

    Eyup, this is to confirm that I will very much be in attendance for this event. Really looking forwards to it!

  35. @mrhallorann
    Excellent Stuff. See you on Saturday!

  36. Last call for Saturday….

    The weather forecast could be better, but it’s going to be an epic!

  37. Oh I don’t know, the weather forecast has got steadily better throughout the week.

    Looking at it this morning it seems OK. Might be Roubaix tights weather though! I suspect I’m going to end up sticking all kinds of clothes in the car and making my mind up when I arrive.

  38. @Mike P

    Having all bases covered on the clothing front seems the best approach.

    In the meantime hopefully The Prophet will put in a good word for us…


  39. I havent been homesick in 15 years. I am now. I’d even be glad to be in the armpit of the world, Telford, this weekend if it meant I could ride this cogal.

    Have a great time! Take lots of pictures!!

  40. Arrived in Shropshire to glorious sunshine this afternoon, so obviously expecting a deluge tomorrow. A quick spin up the sides of ironbridge gorge confirmed there’s some fairly savage gradient around here… probably too late to reach for the EPO, sure I’ve got a bag of blood at the back of the fridge somewhere!

  41. @acciaio

    Where are you staying?

    As you say what the climbs out the gorge lack in length, they make up for in gradient!

    See you in the morning.

  42. Chaps epic ride today!

    Chapeau to 936adl for taking the time and trouble to organise the gogal.

    Nice to meet you all today and share a little pain. It was a pleasure.

    Now when is this Bristol cogal then!?!?

  43. @muck muck
    I’m working on it now mate!

    Thinking of early September, but I’ll get the details up when all sorted.

    Good to meet everyone today, and a big thanks to @936adl for organising everything.


  44. @Unica

    @muck muck
    I’m working on it now mate!

    Thinking of early September, but I’ll get the details up when all sorted.

    Good to meet everyone today, and a big thanks to @936adl for organising everything.


    Did you boys find your way back okay?

    It was 7 o’clock when we got back to ironbridge! We almost needed lights to get


  45. @muck muck
    Yep, saw about three of you heading into town as we headed out in the van, Think we got back about 3/4 to an hour ahead of you by the time we’d faffed and got going. Arrived home at gone 10pm. Epic ride, many thanks 936adl for organising and apologies again for dashing off like we did.

    Here’s today’s work from me

    Not bad on 42:23 !!!

  46. @Robb1112
    Great day, thanks so much to @936adl for arranging it. Nice to meet you all, look forward to doing it again sometime. Rule #5 was certainly to the fore.

  47. What a day! I’m absolutely blown away by the turn out and how well it all went.

    20120414Cogal_ 21

    It was certainly a tough one. 164km and over 2,300 metres of climbing! Whilst many rules were broken, 5, 10, and 9(a hail storm on the top of the long Mynd!) were religiously adhered to.

    Full route Details – The Shropshire Hills Cogal

    It was a pleasure to share ‘our’ local roads with so many fellow Velominatus, and from the converstaions on the way round, i’m sure this will not be the last Cogal that’s held in England.

    To finish things off properly, beer and curry were duly consumed. I don’t think a Lamb Rezala has ever tasted so good!

  48. @936adl

    Well done mate. Great pics on flicker! Glad you all had a good day, seeing Shifnal made me quite nostalgic. I used to spend some time in the Nell and White Heart many years ago.

    I hope a British Cogal will coincide with a visit for me one of these days.

  49. Thanks again to Andy for organising this Cogal. It was a fantastic experience to meet some of the guys from this humble forum and to be able to totally endulge in all things cycling for a whole day, totally without any self-consciousness in like-minded company. Bliss.

    As for the route, what a beast! A really tough saw-blade of a ride with four-seasons-in-one-day weather left me totally drained at the end of it. But the post-ride beers and curry never tasted so good as a result.

    I feel like some great new riding friendships have been formed and really look forwards to getting out with as many of you guys as possible again!


  50. It was a cracking day out, a proper good stretch of the legs. Looking forward to the ride report and the pictures.

    Cheers to @936adl for putting it together, and to everyone who turned up and did it.

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