Joseph Sugg writes: The forecast for today's ride was good, and so it proved. I got my bike out only to discover I had a puncture, and as I had left it to the last minute I didn't get going till 9:45am. Having missed the start at Brookside I took the most direct route to Waresley. I soon discovered a fierce headwind which was evident all day. Despite the wind it was warm, and I soon took the jacket and gloves off.
I went through Grantchester then onto the B1046 and onto Barton, Comberton, Toft and Bourn. At Bourn I turned off towards Caxton. From Caxton the much improved road surface helped a lot and I began to make some headway in the headwind. After the Gransdens I caught the rest of the group just as they were reaching Waresley at 11:15pm. Our Leader today was Mick Cousins and there were plenty out. Waresley is one of our favourite stops, and it was packed as usual, especially it being Mothering Sunday.
After coffee John and Greta went home whilst the rest carried on allbeit split up into faster and slower groups. The wind continued to be a pain, and we made slow progress. We left Waresley and took the small road out of Waresley and then up to Abbotsley. At Abbotsley we took a short cut up a muddy track and then turned briefly back onto the B1046 before turning off and up to Croxton. Then over the A428 up Gravely before turning towards the offords. Through the Offords and over the east coast main line and into Buckden. At Buckden you get across the A1 by using the subway (I wish there were more). This took us onto the B661. You are soon aware of the big wall of the reservoir on your right. This is Grafham Water. You stay on this road to Perry. At Perry there is a visitor centre which has a cafe serving hot lunches. Very friendly staff and reasonable prices.
We were all pretty shattered by the time we got to Grafham, so lunch was very welcome. We stayed a while and watched the boats on the lake, it was pretty rough today. There is a very good rough cycle track around Grafham which is well worth cycling if you have time. You can ride it with kids and even hire bikes. We didn't have time today as we didin't leave till after two. We turned right onto the B661 and continued till Dillington where we turned off for Staughton Highway. Here we did a left and right and started up the longish slog up to Staughton moor. The signpost at the top of the hill is aptly called Top Hill.
We turned left and left again at Bushmead. There is a Priory here, which I still haven't visited. We came into St Neots via Duloe, then down the hill and over the river and up to market square. Went though the back of the market to join the B1043 and through a housing estate to join the B1046, again! With the wind firmly in our favour we flew through Abbotsley and Great Gransden, before reaching the Cross Keys Caxton at 4:30pm on the dot. Well done Mick. By this time there was just myself, Geoff, and Tom left from the day ride, although we met up with Bob, Mike and Adrian again at the pub.
The Cross Keys is one of our longest running tea stops and the landlord always does a good spread. There were 9 of us to start with and we were a bit worried about the afternoon ride. They eventually turned up, rather late at 5:15pm. After a much needed cup of tea myself, Geoff and Tom set off for home. Despite the aching legs, we set a cracking pace thanks to the generous tailwind and took just 45 minutes to get home! We were treated to a wonderful sunset, and it was just dark by the time I got home. This was the longest ride of the year at 70 miles. It was also the best weather, more than 10 degrees warmer than last Sunday! Joseph Sugg.