My first proper club ride for some weeks, discounting last weeks ride from North Crawley, which I am sure will be repeated. Also my first club ride since the official splitting into two groups.
I picked the C1 group option which had a 9:30 start. It was a similar size group to last weeks ride, I’m not sure if there were 11 or 12 of us but it was just the right size. Large enough to have enough people to share the work around among those prepared to do it but not so large that it was unmanageable or unruly. Everybody was within calling distance from the front or the back.
My route looks a bit strange on the Garmin plot. I rode out from home and then we came back through Olney and then Harrold and Bozeat and round to Castle Ashby. I have usually done the ride the other way around so it was a bit different to do it this way round. Our destination was the The Buttery Restaurant . We went inside as it was quite cool outside. I think we may have destroyed a few peoples quiet Saturday morning coffee as we kind of filled the place up. We are always welcomed there with big jugs of water and glasses as soon as we arrive while they take our orders. They also give a discount to cyclists and walkers among others so thats a bit of an added bonus! After some pleasant chat, a large black coffee that was refilled for free and a largish chunk of carrot cake we were off again. Looking at the calories burned on the ride I think I might just have beaten those consumed with cake.. !!
It was a cruel restart as we went back down the hill that we had just come up to get to the cafe, as if we were not cold enough already and then straight into the climb up Whiston Hill from the south side, the first of three fairly stiff climbs in fairly close succession. Next was the hill up into Cogenhoe and the one up from Great Houghton. All of them are not straightforward as they have varying gradients throughout the climb, messing about with cadence a bit.
Once they were out of the way though it was pretty easy going apart from a headwind approaching Salcey Forest and then on through to Long Street at Hanslope. Nearly home now though with a tailwind to Gayhurst and then a slight diversion via Tyringham and Filgrave back to Olney. This made the total distance up to 102km, a very nice ride with good company, most enjoyable, even with the hills !!