A few of us had joined the Wessex CTC’s autumn audax last year but had found ourselves cycling through a downpour. Four of us (I, Christine, Sabina, Sarah W) thought it might be good to see the area in better weather, so enrolled for the New Forest 100km Day Out ride on 29 April.
We rode part of the way down on Saturday through some light showers. We started at Winchester (tea stop) then rode over the hills to Romsey (tea stop) then into the New Forest with a break at Lyndhurst (tea stop, you get the picture) then a final stage to Lymington and, this time, dinner at a local fish restaurant we knew from the last visit.
We knew the weather forecast was not good for Sunday but we were not starting until 10.00 and the rain was due to clear before lunch. Others were more cautious: only one third of the registered riders had showed up.
We set off through the pouring rain. Three of us were breaking audax tradition lacking mudguards but it didn’t matter as all were soon wet though, anyway as a mixture of pouring rain, huge puddles and careless drivers ensured a steady supply of water from all directions. By 11.30 there was no sign of the end and we lost Sabina in front as she found a quicker group to follow. The remaining three followed our tea stop instincts as we passed a farm shop near Ringwood with basic café attached, but fortunately I was prevented from staying there “until the rain stops”. It was still raining when we left.
We continued along the Avon valley by the ever-wider river though some very large puddles, Christine leading the way though the water. We stopped again for lunch at the Breamore Tea Barn and then a hillier section cutting though Wiltshire. A puncture (Christine) and faulty brakes (me) necessitated a pause for repairs where a very hospitable local couple lent us space in their garage and an offer of tea (we had to decline as two tea stops an hour would have been too much even for us). It was still raining when we left. more »