It was a foggy morning: one of those horrible Cambridgeshire winter fogs that soaks your gloves and condenses onto your glasses so that you have to wipe them clear every couple of miles. But there was a surprisingly good turnout considering the conditions: fourteen riders at Brookside, including newcomer David. Fourteen riders are quite a lot to look after, and I was a bit worried that I might lose one or two in the fog, so I stopped at the tricky turnings to count everyone through.
I was hoping that the fog might lift as we got out of the low ground by the river Cam, but no such luck: it kept its clammy grip on us all the way through Bottisham, Swaffham Bulbeck, and Dullingham to Newmarket. At Coffee & Co we found some more cyclists (not all from CTC). Someone did a count and came up with the number 27, which is a fantastic turnout for the first week in January. I guess it's all those New Year resolutions! The staff at Coffee & Co did a really efficient job of taking our orders and then getting everyone served in only about half an hour. Long may they continue.
About half the riders headed home from coffee, so it was a slightly reduced contingent that I led up the hill towards Saxon Street. The fog still hadn't cleared, but perhaps as a consequence there was hardly any motor traffic to be seen. We rode through Kirtling and Great Bradley to Carlton, where a contingent split off to head back to Cambridge, leaving just ten of us for lunch at the Old Red Lion in Horseheath. This pub is currently renovating its dining area, but Tina had arranged for it to serve us sandwiches and coffee, which just hit the spot.
I canvassed for opinions about what to do after lunch: a longer loop, perhaps south via Ashdon, or straight to tea in Cherry Hinton? No-one was up for the loop, so it was straight home via Streetly End, Balsham and Fulbourn. The fog had lifted by now, but it was still a cold and damp afternoon, and I wasn't feeling altogether well, so I was happy for it to be a short ride, at about 49 miles. There'll be plenty of time to stretch the legs later in the year, I hope.
At tea, Conrad and Su-Lyn put on the most amazing spread. Sushi, pan-fried tofu, chocolate brownies, whisky cake, and endless cups of tea warmed us up. Many thanks!