Conrad writes: I was about to leave my home at Cherry Hinton when the heavens opened to such an extent that I had to put on my rain jacket (my refusal to put on the rain jacket during the ride itself would prove to be an issue of some concern among the other riders later on in the day). So I was surprised to find 11 other people at Brookside (Mike K, Tina, Gareth, Paul, Neil, Mike Sleep, Lynn, John, Steve G, Howard and Simon).
As it happened, the rain had stopped by the time we set off from Brookside. Today's tea stop was the Cock Inn in Gamlingay and I led the group on a direct route through Barton and Comberton with a detour down Church Lane to avoid the hill at Toft. We then crossed the A1198 and cycled through Longstowe.
Just before Little Gransden, the rain returned with a vengeance and waterproofs were hastily put back on. Mike Sleep left the ride soon after this point as we cycled through the Gransdens, up the little road to Waresley and then onto Everton. Here, I offered the riders a choice :- either continue with me (with the possibility of more rain along the way) or turn left and proceed straight to the tea stop where they would be 45 minutes early. Tempting though it must have been to go into a warm dry pub, everyone decided to soldier on.
We then went down the short 14% descent into Tempisford, with a brief stop at the level crossing to wait for an East Coast train to pass, and crossed the A1. By this time, the sun had reappeared, making the journey over the narrow bridge into Blunham particularly beautiful. Going through Blunham, we turned into the cycle path that runs next to the old railway line and emerged in a residential part of Sandy.
Just after the roundabout in the centre of Sandy, we turned left and cycled up Sandy Lane, which is a forest path that runs parallel to the main road into Everton.
By this time, it was getting late and we had to push on to Gamlingay where a huge rainbow was there to welcome us. At the Cock Inn, we found Nigel and Mike S, the only survivors from the day ride, who had been waiting for us patiently since 4:30pm.
After tea, most of us went back via Croydon Hill (our second steep descent for the day), Orwell and Barrington. Gareth went ahead, followed by a small group, while I stayed in a small group with John and Tina. At the bottom of Croydon Hill, Tina turned south to go home to Royston and we caught up with Mike Stapleton who was putting on his rain cape at the side of the road. Sure enough, the rain returned as we turned into Orwell. I did not fancy another extended spell of cycling in the rain so I left Mike and John and sped up to Chapel Hill where I was surprised to find Mike K and Paul waiting at the top for any stragglers. After a brief consultation, we decided to return via Cantelupe Road and Grantchester Meadows, stopping only to mend Paul's puncture.
I reached home at 1930, quite late for an afternoon ride, having cycled about 50 miles, including three descents of 10% gradient or more. Conrad Chua
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