Day one - short ride with John aka The Beard. He promised us a 10 mile round trip to the pub and yes it was 10 miles with another 5 miles thrown in for good measure. Thoroughly recommend the Oakham beers - JBH and Absolution.
Ann led the early morning Yoga session - fortunately
I didn't arrive in time for this ;-)
Today's ride was out to Rutland Water led by Ian. it was a lovely route with the wind slightly against us (40 mph plus). Apart from a car trying to overtake us when we are turning right and an early right turn meaning we ended up at Normanton as opposed to Whitwell, it all went well. Gifford and I decided to take out a couple of electric mountain bikes to go around the lake whilst the rest of the guys set off back home.
With the wind now behind the group made good time along a beautiful route - overall they covered 42 miles.
Gifford and I arrived an hour later having gone round the lake and then retraced our earlier route - overall 40 miles plus the odd 17 miles around the lake. We were slightly delayed by 5 trains passing - my fault entirely as I said to Gifford I hope it doesn't turn red as we get to it......accounted for at least 15 mins delay!
Before our meal at the local Horseshoe pub at 7pm, Margot ran a wine tasting session to get everyone in the mood - you can see the effects from the photos. Before...During...After
With so much food back at the hostel, desserts were forgone and we established three teams ready for Helen's quiz. It is disappointing to note that as a group we got more questions right on every other topic than cycling.....I'll leave it at that. The 1st and 2nd countries with the largest population will always stick in my mind, but you'' need to ask Helen why. Quiz done the discussion turned to the Wednesday ride given the forecast of 50 mph winds. The ride had been reduced from 45 to 30 but it meant riding out with the wind and back against it.
We set off to Crowland - the wind was strong but not too bad (now 50 mph plus). The roads were straight, very straight - great for seeing but not great if the wind caught you, especially if a lorry went by as well, A couple of gravel roads (Mick you would have been proud) and it was hard riding as the wind wasn't entirely with us. Eventually with just 5 miles to go we turned on to a lovely flat road with the wind right behind us - 20 mph came up barely pedalling.
We stopped at the Old Copper Kettle to refresh and chill and then some people explored the famous abbey and the trinity bridge in the middle and some just watched the world go by.
As we readied to set up, one of our number found that they haven't brought the key of the lock that they had locked their bike with. Amazingly there was a hardware shop and a £1.50 hacksaw made short work of a Lidl lock - there is a lesson there....
We set off home along Low Road which was directly in to the wind, it was absolutely howling down and there was zero protection on this unmade road which was around 5 miles long. At points the cross winds were scary, threatening to blow you over. A number of us walked for a while and some cycled very slowly - 5 mph was about the fastest you could go. At one of our stops we discussed whether it was safe to continue given the wind speed and so we called International Rescue aka Peter Short to see if he could drive over and meet us to take some drivers back to pick up the bikes. Peter was great and came as soon as he could - we met him at the Ruddy Duck (closed!) in Peakirk. A number of riders wanted to continue so Bill returned with Peter and got his car and came back with Peter to collect the final set of bikes and bodies.
The 11 remaining riders set of to Maxey, I had warned them that we faced 4 miles straight in to the wind and then would turn and hopefully the wind would be a bit kinder. Well the wind held up its promise of being hard work, but we all made it through Maxey and turned.....it got so much easier although the cross winds were still a little bit scary at times. We got back just as Peter and Bill arrived back in the car park so not bad timing at all....35 miles covered and everyone safe.
Dinner was at the White Horse in Baston....
A big thank you to Mave for organising, the ride leaders/supports for running their rides, Peter and Bill for their rescue, Margot for the wine tasting, Helen for the quiz and photos, Ann and Diane for the food organising, Gwen for sorting Tuesday's meal and everyone else for bringing food and getting stuck in. Plus our thoughts to Mick and Julia for Wednesday.