Posted on Tuesday 29 May 2007 by John Snuggs
I was thinking perhaps last Sunday would not be a good day for a ride, given the weather forecast, but was amazed to find seven waiting for me at Liverpool Street – The Giraffe, The She-wolf, her cub, The Wastemistress, Stephen, Charlie (welcome back, Charlie) and Danish Tom (who’s been living in The Netherlands – more of that later).
In the interests of keeping warm, I set off from Witham at a quick pace and managed to keep my flock in tow. The weather was foul. Then it got fouler. I only managed one grave navigational malfunction (they didn’t notice the other three), but since I didn’t want to get the Proper Maps wet, I was reading from a ukstreetmap printout.
We continued to blat along as I entertained fantasies of being a Flandrian hard man (but without the murs, bergs and kasseien), a fantasy destroyed whenever the nearest thing we had to a real Flandrian hard man, Tom, got onto the front. Gosh, he’s quick.
A plea arose at Great Maplestead for a wimp option, so when we got to the welcoming but slightly chilly pub, I got the Proper Maps out and saw we were only 15km from Braintree station. A phone call told us there was a train to Witham every hour, on the hour, and I knew the train itself would take a reasonable number of bikes, so we did more blatting, this time straight down the A-road to Braintree to deliver a Frozen One to the train.
When we got there, the allure of clean, tidy bogs with hot air dryers and a comfy waiting room proved too much for 62.5% of us, so we decided to wait for the train and accompany Frozen One back to London.
Paul, Charlie and Tom went for another 15km blat back to Witham and got the London train before ours.
Very cold, very wet and only 70km (in 3hr!) by the time I got home, but for some strange reason I still enjoyed it. Must be ill.
I look forward to reminiscing about this ride when I’m sweating up an alpine col next week.