We let the fast boys get away, said goodbye to our escorts through suburbia, and watched Keith, Naomi, John, James, Richard and Paul go up the road, leaving Nick and I to roll through Essex in the drizzle feeling rather more autumn than spring. Just at the point of warming up, if not drying out, there was a warning of ‘diesel’ and a group clustered by the side of the road, which I thought was ‘not us’…. until Paul’s phone-call requesting a Land Rover to the rescue.
So, the Land Rover pilot headed back (safely via the signposted short route). After a moment’s hesitation, I said a quick prayer to the God of Gatorskins, and put my head down. Apart from the odd fairy victim speeding past me, all there was for company was my average speed and the plentiful jaunty yellow route-signs. The rest were still at the half-way checkpoint when I rolled in, but shortly left me to the home-made flapjack on offer.
Essex was fairly peaceful, with even a glimmer of sunshine, and reasonable headway was made – bar pauses to scarf fig-rolls. By the time I started to flag as suburbia hove into view, I was managing to pass more than passed me. The time-keepers were still waiting with cheery smiles, pleased by the assurance of a good if slightly boring day, and keen to re-assure us Paul had been picked up and transported back slowly but safely, with suspected torn ligaments. Really well organized and friendly, so do look out for this next year – hopefully I’ll have some company.