High winds and rain made sure that the numbers were well down today, let’s hope it isn’t raining on May 3rd. We set off half an hour after the faster groups and our numbers were 8 our youngest being just 8 years old. The first part of this ride is just a gradual uphill all the way up to the end of Layhams. By this time you are beginning to feel that you have cycled to the top of the world. Everyone had done extremely well with no hills being walked up to now. The wind was so strong and the rain lashing down but no complaints as everyone fought the wind and cycled on.
When we got to the top of Titsey Hill we decided to take an alternative road to the bottom. Titsey Hill is so bumpy and with our younger riders cold hands we thought it safer to avoid it altogether. We were soon making good progress along Pilgrims Way the wind now behind us. We stopped halfway along to warn everyone that they needed to be in their lowest gear to tackle the mighty Hogtrough Hill which was fast looming. I sat at the back ready to scoop up the walkers, in particular our younger riders. Imagine my horror as they disappeared in front of me, legs spinning round, with me now walking.
Spencer made everyone stop half way up to take on water and to have a little rest. I secretely thought this was more for the benefit of the adults rather than the young people. Everyone back on bikes and from this point we all managed it to the top without getting off. Especially well done to Isla, Oliver and Jack who did the whole of Hogtrough without walking.
Then it was on to the Tally Ho for hot drinks and a bowl of chips. The weather now had deteriorated to such an extent that we decided to cut a corner off and head for Cudham. I think most of the groups did the same. After lunch we put back on our rather damp jackets and set off for home. Not too far down the road and we came across some of John’s riders who had overshot the pub. We managed to get a message to the pub to let John know, who knows whether he ever received it.
Down the steep hill now and at the bottom Spencer had a puncture. Soon sorted and then up another mega hill to Cudham. Not too much further on another puncture from Spencer at which time we directed the group back to Hayes. A good ride, everyone did so well in atrocious weather conditions but still a very enjoyable day.