Posted on Tuesday 31 October 2006 by Camille Savory
Dinkily numbered and purpled-up, the mob converge (trains not withstanding) to start the End of Summertime 100k. Those organised or unconfident had blagged early start times but we built in some nifty handicapping. Put the etapers and esteemed on fixed, get mile-eaters riding 50k to the start, and give Inez builder-itis. Finally set Simon to hare ahead with the racing clubs to prove that purple can pace-set, until he gets tired of their showing off.
The route was straightforward, a litany of familiar names, and rolling enough (flat – pah) to be interesting but not enough to swear (pardon, Nick?). The weather could not be bettered, with only a splash of autumnal mud, and the controls were just that (those dinky little numbers weren’t solely for effect). The Hare Street halt saw us beginning to congregate, and at the Saffron Walden turn a plan was hatched. Then, at Reed, the pre-arranged signal (‘Hurry up and finish that cake’), a wagon train formed and the 11-strong purple peloton set sail in full glory.
So it wasn’t a perfect echelon, and a couple of overshot turnings testify to the slowness of our democratic decision-making… But a solid swathe of purple black and white, complete with fixed outriders, sweeping past ancient churchyards was a suitably awe-inspiring if gothic sight. Admiring, nay envious, comments were many – it was obvious that that diverse pack in pretty purple have more fun.
And thanks to little green riding, we were piloted safely back into Stevenage (then we got lost in the park) just as the sun was sinking. Indeed, the sole down-side to the day was the end of summertime. Roll on spring.