🎶 Always look on the bright side of life 🎶🎶🎶 At least that’s what it seemed like when Ray suggested this Friday’s ride. “Not looking too promising weather wise, strong winds and rain” he began his encouraging rallying cry. Were we daunted? Not in the least…. well, apart from hedging bets with a weather permitting, except for Michael, who is not one to let a little weather deter him from his ‘enjoyment’, put his ‘money on the nose’. “I’ll be there, Not Weather Permitting” he claimed.
As dawn began to break, heads poked out of windows. “What’s it like out there?” enquired Michael (probably texting from under the blankets). “Cold and Wet” suggested Chris “so it’s a no from me”. “It’s not raining here” added Zog “I’ll give it a go”. Routemaster Ray then chipped in with apologies that he’s not feeling well and would give it a miss. In the end, seven optimistic Knights made it to the 0945 start line at Manor House.
The first leg of our journey saw us battling into the westerly wind towards Newbald with Matthew taking the lions share at the front. I think everyone else was just glad to be able to hold his wheel. As we approached the bottom of Stoneknowle, we were joined by Zog. Not far into the climb, shouts went out “Hold on everyone, mechanical!” turned out that AndyG had problems with his rear mech. “That looks terminal” was the consensus, only option would be to split the chain and set it on a fixed gear. “Good luck getting up the hills with that” suggested one helpful voice. As it turned out, no one had a chain splitter with them. Time to call “International Rescue” which in this case Heather managed to persuade Neil in Thunderbird 1 to transport him home.
As Andy waited for his lift home, the rest of us continued up Stoneknowle in the sunshine with a little wind assistance then down past Gardham farm. On the way down, we ran the gauntlet of grouse shooters on both sides. “Hope they don’t mistake us for moving targets” as we kept our heads down. Shortly after, while cruising along Gardham Road, a figure in bright colours shot off the front. “Was that Colin?” we wondered. “Is he having a go at the 2018 sprint?” A bit late now Colin.
On reaching Etton we headed up to Holme-on-the-Wolds. On the way, a realisation dawned on Pugwash that we were heading for the Fiddle Drill and not the Farm Shop as he’d advised his dearly beloved, who had intended to meet us there. Well what can I say, dementia must be setting in, Ray’s message clearly said Fiddle. Having also forgotten to bring my phone, how was I going to contact her? Nobody remembers mobile numbers do they? Then as we wrestled once more against the wind towards Goodmanham the solution came to mind that her number would be on Slack. 🙏
The Fiddle Drill was quieter than usual so we had no problem finding a table. Once we’d had our fill, it was time to face the chill on the way home. At least we’d have the wind behind for the most part. We took the Spring Road to Kiplingcotes back to Etton. At the junction, Colin decided to have a go at this year’s sprint section. “All clear Colin. Go go go” we all shouted encouragingly then sauntered our way down to meet up at the bottom of Etton ramp. “How did that go Colin?” we asked when we caught up again. “Not good” was the short answer. “Can’t expect much on a winter bike and cold temperatures” we commiserated.
With a deteriorating forecast over the next few days, we spent the rest of journey home wondering when we might get out again. Today was another super ride with enough ups and downs mixed with flats to keep everyone happy and the bright sunshine along with the company was a real bonus.