Posted on Friday 12 January 2007 by John Snuggs
Mark from Pollards Hill noted that some of his Usual Suspects took the weather forecast seriously last weekend. So did some of mine.
A plea to all – weather forecasters deliberately exaggerate cr@p weather in their weekend forecasts. This is partly because they seem to think forecasts are entertainment rather than information and want to tell an exciting story to boost their egos. But they also seem to want to discourage us from visiting the Great Outdoors to avoid anyone calling out the mountain rescue or air ambulance.
The weather was great. Paul and Ms Waste met me at King’s Crustacean, while our esteemed secretary joined us at Finsbury Park. After a lot of phoning, our tame triathlete and golf widow, Geraldine Nogami, caught up with us at the start of the ride.
The ride was originally planned to start from Hitchin on a vague “well, it’s nearer the pub than Bedford or Hertford” basis. But subsequent examination of the map revealed that starting from Hitchin would involve an Urban Audax of A-roads and residential streets that would have been difficult to negotiate, before reaching the countryside. So we diverted to Baldock, where the countryside starts 200m from the station.
The return of Geraldine meant we could get the answers to a couple of questions about Rick Stein’s TV programme where he tried to make sushi for her other half (and ended up watching the Japanese chefs doing it, open-mouthed in amazement). Yum.
The burning questions were:1. Why was she not in the film?Answer – she was in Hawaii wearing the wrong clothes to run, swim and cycle.2. Why did her other half not smoke any fags during the film?Answer – they edited those bits out. (Must have been a lot of stuff on the cutting-room floor).
The p*nct*re fairy was sighted about 3km from the start. She visited me. But with the sterling support of Paul, it was quickly sorted and Paul managed to find three (count ’em, three) pointy things stuck in my three-week-old Gatorskin. Harrrumph, bloody Essex geology.
The ride to lunch was great – I cut out a loop via Shingay-cum-Wendy (home of Europe’s biggest arable farming show), which proved unnecessary due to the howling tailwind. We averaged nearly 24kph to the pub (including a brilliant 40kph blast with Paul on the way) and got there early. Paul went on a little trip up the road while the rest of us found a bench in the sun and waited for opening time. Paul returned to let us know that we really didn’t want to ride into the headwind he’d just been to try out.
The soup was good (a sort of greeny-brown this time) as were the cheese, ham and Adnams. Pub entertainment was provided by various dogs.
The original plan was to turn round and head back to Baldock, or via well-known Audax routes to St. Evenage. but we decided none of us fancied the headwind, so continued to Cambridge to get a fast train home.