After a quick inspection of the car and driveway at 07.30, both seemed wet but ice free, so after the normal cycling breakfast I donned the kit and off I went just after 9.00! Some parked cars along the way seemed covered in ice and others didn’t, but the roads appeared OK, although caution was definitely the way forward. The five riders set off from Ware in the four hour sunshine window which I organised the previous day, heading for Flint Cross near Royston.
What kind of ride would it be today?
“Cry “Havoc!”, and let slip the dogs of war” (Mark Anthony in Julius Caesar).
Or, “I don’t think that’s an awfully good idea, sir” (Sergeant Wilson in Dad’s Army).
A blood soaked, violent adventure or merely a morning of mildly amusing buffoonery?
A nice crisp, sunny morning greeted the 15 Wheelers who fancied a Cat 6 ride to The Country Bumpkin at Tewin. No more than 5 miles away as the crow flies, Captain Bob had devised a circular route via Brickenden, Bayford, Little Berkhamsted, Letty Green and Cole Green, but still less than 13 miles to the café stop. It was hilly thought!
Waking up to the sound of rain hammering down on the roof and another cold only a few weeks after shaking of the last one, meant I thought I'd drawn the short straw. However the rain stopped and the sun even made an appearance as I arrived at HQ. I was banking on about 6 hardy souls, but was amazed to see 16 as we approached 9.30
Fourteen riders today made a chilly start from Hertford, going via Bramfield, Datchworth, Aston, and Walkern to receive a warm welcome at Mill End Plants, as always.
The weather improved for the return journey, with the sun showing its face and warming things up a bit.
Back to Walkern and then up to Benington and Whempstead, where three of the group took the road to Dane End and Ware. The remaining 11 headed for Watton at Stone and back to Datchworth for the final leg to Hertford.
It was stotting down at Allenbury’s before 9.30, and the forecast for later was poor. The ride leader was unimpressed and cancelled the ride, leaving a couple of keen aquaplaners to take their chances on some form of category 2/3 ride.
I turned up to lead on this glorious day; precipitation was 100% and I expected the full compliment of riders! I was going to phone the cafe, to advise them we were coming, but I held off. As I waited in anticipation, the realisation struck me that no one else was coming! Then thoughts of my lovely warm house came streaming into my head (like a warm sunny day) eating bacon sarnies and drinking cups of tea. But no, I decided to ride.
Five Wheelers proceeded on their merry way from Ware to overtake the category 6 group early on in Fanhams Hall Road, pleasantries of the day being exchanged. We continued via Barwick Ford, Standon, Mentley Lane, Gt Munden, Buntingford, Sandon and Roe Green to the excellent Mill End Nursery just as a large group from the Verulam Club were leaving full of cake; fortunately there was still plenty for us. Returned by way of Cromer Mill, Wood End, Haultwick, Standon Green End and Barwick Ford. 40 miles in pleasant weather.
Knock, Knock, are there any Cat 3 riders around today, yes, me, myself and I and a very welcome Arsenal supporter Ian Moore who was a guest! So the ride was changed to allow him to train up to the Emirates for the start of the match!