Wednesday 19 September dawned with a weather forecast for a gale at midday. I met up with about 18 Easy Riders for a bike ride heading south west with a tea stop at the Queen Anne Castle in Great Leighs. A large part of the Easy Rider group were away for a few days in Lincolnshire, and planning to do a 50 mile bike on open roads in the same gale!
We split into two groups, and Karen leading the longer group, tailed by Andy, and Paul leading the shorter group. We set off down London Road and discovered the wind was already getting up. Fortunately we battled into the headwind on the way out, and as the windspeed increased over the morning, we benefitted from a considerable tailwind on the way back. I have to say, that I struggled on this ride. I had a thumping stress headache (after a university assessment, and some difficult car journeys) so tried to deal with it through fresh air, exercise and water.
It was a good ride, with dry roads and very little traffic. I can’t actually remember the route, but we were to the south and east of the A131. I was not riding well, and our group split quite sensibly into two parts – about 6 stronger riders in front, and me plus two others further back, thereby enabling faster traffic to pass us in two overtaking manoeuvres. Karen, as group leader, had decided to keep to an average speed of 11mph, and by the Queen Anne’s Castle stop, we had completed 20 miles and averaged 11.1mph, which I thought was impressive accuracy. Paul’s shorter group had arrived some time before us, and were just about ready to set off on their route home, so we had staggered our arrival nicely and did not overwhelm the waiting staff.
On leaving the Queen Anne’s Castle, we had a strong tailwind – Hurrah! We headed west and did a loop bringing us up to Rayne station. We split up here, with most going back to Braintree via the roads, but Fiona and a couple of others, joined me for an easy downhill coast along the Flitch Way.
My thanks to Andy and Chris, as tail riders, for keeping me company at the back, and Karen for being lead rider and keeping an impressive average speed. 28 miles overall, and an average speed of 11.2mph.