Wednesday, 12 February 2014

12 Feb: Evening ride to Fen Drayton

Conrad writes: When Nigel sent members an email the day before saying that he would not be able to attend the Wednesday ride, and that he was tempted to cancel the ride because of the weather, I was in a less than engaging meeting and, without much thought, agreed to lead the ride.

Foolishly, I had not checked the weather forecast when I sent out the email. The forecast was grim with heavy rains and gusts of up to 46 mph. Thankfully, I did not completely take leave of my senses and I decided to bring forward the pub stop time to 8pm to give enough time to return.

I arrived at Brookside uncharacteristically early to find no one there. Just as I was about to re-evaluate my options, Jonathan arrrived. This was his second CTC ride, the first being last week's Thursday ride. Everybody else must have hunkered down at home so a few minutes after 6.30pm, we set off.

Nigel had earlier changed the pub stop to the Three Tuns at Fen Drayton and he was rightly skeptical of my suggested route of going south first. In any case, the howling winds knocked some sense into me and I decided on the most direct route going through the city and taking the guided busway. As expected, the winds were brutal, especially the cross winds and I found myself cycling most of the way at a 45 degree angle and being blown left and right across the cyclepath.

We weren't the only ones on the cyclepath. At Longstanton, we passed a group who were practising what I can only describe as skiing on short skis with wheels. I only found out when I got home that these are roller skis. I would have taken a photo but I was anxious not to stop in the face of these strong winds.

We couldn't cycle all the way to Fen Drayton on the busway because of flooding so we went through Swavesey before turning south west to Fen Drayton, or right into the wind. This was the toughest stretch and my speed dropped considerably. Thankfully, we weren't far from Fen Drayton and due to Jonathan's punishing pace, we arrived at the Three Tuns at 7:40pm.

This was my first time at the Three Tuns and it is a place I would come back again. I had not planned to eat dinner there and I thought a small portion of potato wedges for £2 would be manageable. It turned out to be one of the largest servings I have ever seen.

We left the Three Tuns at 8:30pm and braced ourselves for the return journey. Given the winds, I decided on a route designed to offend Nigel's GPS sensitivities. We took the same route back to Cambridge. We don't know if it was the food or whether the winds had died down slightly but it was slightly easier coping with the wind on the return journey although the cross winds were still tricky.

I arrived at Mill Road at 9:30pm after cycling 29 miles. A short ride, but a good workout and I look forward to seeing Jonathan in future CTC rides. Conrad Chua


View this GPS track on a larger map. Download GPS track (GPX)

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