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Wet and Windy, Consolidated ride to Dunmow 28/12/2022

Stalwart members of Braintree Easy Riders started gathering in Weavers Park from 0915, despite the forecast for drizzle deteriorating to steady rain by midday. Tim, leader for Long Ride, let on that he had the toothache. After some debate, manfully (or Timfully!) decided that the best option, with reduced ride numbers due to inclement weather, was to merge the long and medium rides, and go to the Medium Ride destination of Paradise Café at Dunmow. He pedalled off home, cancelled our booking at The Hub, then investigated an emergency dental appointment (achieved for Thursday – Hurrah!).

We pedalled off going along the Flitch Way to Rayne, then past Andrewsfield where we rode straight into a 20mph rainy headwind. I discovered I needed my waterproof jacket to keep my arms warm, but my body was too hot. So, I unzipped it. Mistake! With steamy riding glasses, I could not see well enough to refasten it. When wearing my gloves I had negligible grip, and I did not dare take them off, as I’d not be able to get wet hands back into them! So, I flapped along like a pink bat into a headwind!

Andy C and Andy P were sterling support riders. On my instruction, Andy P took the main group off faster, so we were well spread out on the road, especially when we joined the B road into Dunmow. Andy C brought up the rear of the group very well (often accompanying me up the hills). Group members remained in high good humour all the way round, despite the persistent heavy drizzle.

Once in the Paradise Café, we compared kit notes. Some brand-new ‘waterproof’ gloves were a disaster – absolutely sodden; other older gloves were waterproof but had worn badly. I discovered clammy hands need gloves with wrists that open out wide, otherwise you can’t get them on. If readers own the gloves in the photos, please feel free to caption them with your opinions on fitness-for-purpose.

On the way back, the group split, with two members going south via Barnston (faster to get back for hospital appointments), and the remaining 6 retraced our route. When I’d recce-ed the route over the last few days, I’d identified the places where floods were likely, and avoided them. So, I did not want to go up Mill Lane in Felsted; under the metal bridge at the Flitch Way; and outside the farm in Stebbing amongst others. I don’t like out-and-back routes, but this was my optimal safe route. I also knew we’d have a tail wind up the hill out of Dunmow. Notably, according to Strava, today some of our riders achieved Personal Records on this hill!

My group rode strongly on the way back, well spread out on the road. I was flagging with the rain and gusty wind, but they kept me in good humour.

26 miles, gusty 20mph wind from SSW, steady drizzle all the way round.

Fantastic ride members, and two absolutely sterling support riders. Well done all!

Cathy MacTaggart


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