A headwind to ride Dunmow

Sunday dawned bright and windy. The group (Alan, Brian, Paul, Ron and me) concurred with Ian’s suggestion that as there was a stiff headwind from the west, we should head west first to High Easter or High Roding, then have a tailwind on the way back.

We pedalled south to Youngs End, turned right and headed down to pick up Route 50 at Lavender Leez. Having cycled 40 miles on Friday, I felt every hill in my legs, and was very slow, pushing into a headwind. Fortunately Ron took pity on me and dropped back from the group, letting me tuck in and draft behind him as we rode across fields, unsheltered by hedges. I noticed every tributary of the Rivers Ter and Cam, pedalling into every downhill and toiling up the other side and concluded that my fat:muscle ratio was all wrong for cycling into a headwind! I toiled up through Pleshey and caught the group just as we reached the Snug at High Easter. Here Ian and I agreed we had not gone far enough for a tea stop, so we pedalled past. I noticed there were about 8 vintage cars lined up outside, so it looked as if the Austin 7 club were having a meet. Ian thought Dore’s Café at High Roding was a better destination so we turned right at the end of High Easter main street, and followed Route 50 to the B184.

It was downcast faces all round, when we realised Dore’s café was closed for refurbishment. A unanimous vote to head north to Dunmow was taken, and we leapt on our bikes, hammering up the roman road to Dunmow. This change in direction, meant we had a slight tailwind, and it made such a difference! Once we reached the first café, we fell on our food as hungry bikers. Brian commented that we had achieved 20 miles at 12mph. I think I was quite a lot slower, and the rest of the group had spent time waiting for me to catch up at various points.

Revitalised by a bacon butty, we headed north along the main street, then took a right to Bran End. Once again, I noticed every tributary of the Chelmer as I toiled up the hills, but after we turned towards Stebbing we gained the full benefit of the tailwind, with long expanses of slight downhill. At this point I reflected that my surface area and downhill gradient:tailwind ratio, enabled me to take lead of the group, flying along at approaching 20mph. We zoomed around Andrewsfield, round Great Saling, and down to Rayne. Here we separated ,with the main group taking Rayne Road, and me taking the Flitch Way back home.

34 miles, average 11.3 mph, 3 hours pedalling time and 1900 calories. Home by 1pm, having worked up a good appetite for cottage pie, and apple and custard for lunch. What not to like!

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