Mixed reports heralded the weather this Sunday morning - Half thought fair to middling all day whereas the realists knew it was going to be rain all day. As a result most TVC members stayed in bed although not Gareth who rounded up his morning run (not ride) by nipping in to say hello.
5 of us set off to Ulley: Matthew Lowe (Ride uncoordinator), Paul Bacon, Paul Russell, Nick (the wrecker) Kay and me Martin Crapper. Setting off was a tricky affair, nobody seemed to want to go first, but Nick who announced that he would ride at the back hit the gate first and stayed up front all the way.
It was raining, not your continental warm stuff and not yet the artic variety, more the middle English wet drizzly stuff that gets through to the bones pretty quickly. Since we were all in waterproof jackets, 3 yellows a blue and an orange no one would know we were the TVC blue ride until we got to the café and took them off. And by then we hoped they couldn’t read!
Our first flooded road was before we got to Malpass Hill, and Thornbury Hill Lane’s pot holes were hidden below Eau. That and an awful lot of twigs and general debris. I was enjoying it. Paul R, at the back, was the one without mudguards so it was a natural place for him to be! The downside of Thornbury Hill Lane was a combination of stream and debris — more a case of gripping tight and hoping than carefully picking your way through — but we made it in one piece (or 5).
By the time we reached Firbeck my sun glasses were more hindrance than help so I had to fasten them over the handlebars and ride naked which meant I could see again!
None of the corners could be safely taken at speed- they, and the roads generally, were covered in leaves and the rain just squished them all up into a hazard. Kid lane, Lamb Lane then into Letwell. Now somewhere between Letwell and Dinnington Matt took pity on us, saw sense or simply stopped to shelter from the rain and reprogrammed. A collective decision/sigh of relief and we opted to go to Leger Lakes where we hoped they would let us drip on their floor. Utilising Matt's detailed knowledge of the back streets of Dinnington we headed up from Throapham towards Laughton. The river that used to be the one way bit up the hill was interesting and wet and caused a number of thoughts about those unfortunate folk already flooded out and now suffering again/more.
We made it though and parked our bikes under the eaves of the stables. If you look at my strava map you can see it was so wet the Garmin lost track of reality and whilst I was inside sitting it had me heading north and south times 3 or 4 across open fields — strange! Inside we claimed a table and ordered, when the owner asked if we were wet she really meant “you are not going to soak my chair covers are you”. So we swapped a couple of chairs round and sat on out jackets (dry side down) and all was well. ERR no!
Nick attacked the welsh dresser - I can’t put it any more kindly — and at this point we 4 denied knowing him at all! The picture on the top to the dresser fell over with a resounding crash but stayed on top, the doors flew open and a concerned lady grabbed a pile of irreplaceable china before it fell, we ended up with a strange glass cup(?) on the table . And despite this they still fed and watered us!
But we were cold, Some had taken the trouble to wring their gloves out and hang them on a radiator but it didn’t really help and those of us that didn’t just suffered a tad more. Outside we had a group photo - Heads only as I am an amateur at these things, it isn’t done to look as though we were standing in water although it felt like it. Another discussion — very one sided — took place and we opted for the direct route home. Direct but not easy was the way. Debris, puddles and cars coming the other way saw us split into 2 groups and we met again in Firbeck where we agreed to carry on as 2 groups.
Thornbury Hill Lane was much wetter than earlier and the junction with the A60 was flooded. We enjoyed the freewheel down the hill and pedalled up the other side to be treated by the sight of a flood right across the road. Paul R and I being the tail end of the ride had a bit of a wait for a gap in the traffic so we could cross onto the shallow side. Unbeknown to us Paul B had headed for Oldcotes and a more direct route to his home. Paul R went directly home along Sunderland Street and I went into the cricket club to find Nick and Matt trying to get dry in the changing rooms.
A short but eventful ride and I thought enjoyable. Given the same circumstances I would do it again but can we have good weather next week please committee?