At my Grandmothers knee I learned an old saw which I expect many of you will have heard “raining at seven, dry by eleven”, meaning that if it’s raining when you get up it will have stopped by lunchtime; and how many times that old adage has proved a reliable weather prediction is beyond my recall. Not so today on the Bigfoot 2 Brighton Training Ride No2. It was raining and blowing a hooley for the whole ride. Though it cannot be denied that numbers were seriously depleted from normal, there were enough participants to make it a worthwhile day out.
And who could blame folk really, the choice between staying in a nice warm and comfortable bed and getting togged up in waterproofs to go cycling is not an easy one for many.
There were however enough hardy souls to make a joint ride of Joe’s and my group. There were nine of us in total, I led and thank you to Joe and Gary who kept things in order from the rear.
Today’s route in this wonderful series of rides organised by the brilliant Adam Shepherd of Bigfoot Cyclists, was a figure of eight through Downe Village – 20 miles in the Kent countryside. In spite of the weather the signs of early spring were unmistakeable. Of course nowadays there so many varieties of early flowering daffs and narcissi that the sight of the plants in bloom is not the reliable harbinger of spring they once were. But there is no cheating the cherry blossom and the hawthorn and these were in flower, so that’s good enough for me!
Most of the riders were old regulars but we had one newbie who turned out to be an excellent cyclist and made mincemeat of the course which included Church Hill and Christmas Tree Hill – two real brutes for those who don’t know the roads.
The surfaces were slick and greasy and large puddles concealed many of the potholes. High on the North Downs the wind was gusting making cycling quite challenging, but there was no moaning just a determination to get the job done and get home to a warm bath and some dry clothes. The pace today was just under 10 mph which given the conditions was pretty respectable I thought.
Towards the end of the ride we decided to break for refreshments in the cake shop in Downe, however this was unfortunately closed but Joe had spotted the nearby Queens Head was offering hot drinks and cakes so we popped in and allowed ourselves a ½ hour warm up by their log fire and this was very acceptable; one of our riders had never seen an open log fire before so that was a bonus.
We were back at Panagua just after mid-day and set off for our respective homes for a well-deserved warm up.
Well done riders, every one of you today will easily make it to Brighton in may and I look forward to riding with you again very soon.