Club ride reports - 5th May

Club ride reports - 5th May

05 May 19

Category 6 ride led by Danny Hood

The old baker’s dozen made another appearance this Sunday. We've been around the twelve or thirteen mark pretty regularly lately. The weather was bright and dry but with a cold wind; this meant I saved my new club short sleeve shirt and shorts for another day. Other members, though, had either bought some items of warmer kit, or just thought: Sod it, I'm wearing the new stuff whether I'm cold or not. Very nice it looked too (on most people anyway!). I have to say I was disappointed with the time it took for the mighty Spurs result the day before to be mentioned. Almost six seconds is just not good enough. I don't know why, but for some reason, not one of the group seemed surprised when I took a wrong turn and led us all down a dead end road. As usual though all those years of SAS training kicked in, and within no time I had calculated what had gone wrong, planned and put into action a recovery strategy. He who dares, Rodney!
The café was busy but we were in and out within about forty five minutes. What I had figured to be a tail wind going home turned out to be mainly a head wind. Luckily enough us special forces guys are used to just facing up to hardship and cracking on. Whether it be in the wilds of Afghanistan or the roads of Essex makes no difference.

Thirty eight miles carrying a Bergen (saddle bag) and nearly one litre of water into the eye of a tornado after only seven hours sleep the night before is the sort of stuff films are made about. But I'm not in this for the glory. I'm just doing my job. Mission accomplished, sir!

Category 5 ride led by John Farnham

After setting out from Ware for our regular ride to the Costa Del Buntingford, our intrepid leader required an adjustment to her saddle at Bakers End which resulted in a loud snapping noise as the frame clamp gave way. With no 'on the road' fix possible she had to make her way back to Ware using the Shanks's pony method. The remaining 5 carried on into the wind through the Hadhams, Pelhams and Meesden to Cave Gate, where at last we picked up a tail wind for the final run into Buntingford. Unusually the coffee shop was not rammed full of customers, so there was a suitable table for us and the service was swift. Return via Westmill, Great Munden, Colliers End, Latchford and Barwick back to Ware with a following wind. 42 miles. No punctures, tumbles or further mechanical mishaps.

Category 3 ride led by Graham Knight 

It was cold and sunny at the start in Hertford - thereafter merely cold. Seven Wheelers and a guest set of into the headwind to the north of Whitwell, through Lilley and on to Poplars Garden Centre near Toddington.

The slick organisation of the ride was exemplified by the fact that at no stage were more than four riders missing from the disciplined peloton. Three went off the front and missed a right turn (and the blue bells in Hitchwood) - but that was their own fault and serves them right. They re-joined just shy of Lille. Two disappeared off the front on the way to Streatley and the leader managed to lose two off the back on the right turn towards Sundon. (There were, of course, extenuating circumstances but I will not demean myself by presenting my perfectly valid excuses). Miraculously all managed to re-assemble at Poplars where generous portions were consumed.

Jonny and Chris set off on their own on the way back, forming a de facto Cat 2. The rest proceeded at a decent Cat 3 pace - at least we did once we had completed the climb up from Hexton. The group split at Codicote with three taking the planned return through Rabley Heath and Tewin the rest taking the direct route along the B1000.

Despite the logistical problems, several claimed to have enjoyed the ride and the glimpses of Chiltern scenery. It was good to meet prospective member Carolyn who seemed happy with the pace and distance, but may have been mystified by the avant-garde approach to ride management.