With Rupert as our leader we set off for a brisk climb over Chapel Hill into Barrington and on into Shepreth and the A10. Next we went through to Fowlmere and up to the other busy main road, the A505 at Flint Cross. From here it's a choice of two climbs - one up to Barley and the other up to Great Chishill and Rupert had chosen the latter which gave us more than two miles of climbing - not all of Cambridgeshire is flat. Eventually we all made it and took the opportunity to regroup and allow everybody to catch their breath. Now we were in one of the higher points of the county as we joined the beautiful, and undulating road via Shaftenhoe End to Barkway, enjoying a fabulous view of the countryside in crystal clear relief. Another climb out of Barkway took us along another high road with great views towards Royston and thus bringing us to Reed and the Silver Ball for coffee.
At coffee we were joined by Doug, and John E, but after coffee a number returned home and this left nine to carry on to lunch. During coffee the sunny weather had given way to dark and threatening clouds and there were some murmurings of calling it day here or only going as far as Buntingford. Fortunately braver spirits prevailed and on we went with the proviso that we would review the situation again in Buntingford. With the stiff breeze the dark clouds were soon blown away and it became sunny again. We went through Dane End and Mill End and this was still all very pleasant with the sun out and riding through mostly quiet lanes with hedgerows which protected us from the oncoming wind. We came back to the A10 which we crossed for the run into Buntingford and, although it had been raining here, the sun was out so we decided that we should go on to lunch.
From Buntingford it was Aspenden and West Mill and on to Nasty and here it can be said that the weather had taken a fairly quick turn for the worse and was most definitely very nasty! We ran through showers in quick succession as we went though Great Munden and further south past St Edmund's College to take a southerly approach to Standon. The rain became so heavy that we had to shelter under the trees so after we had completed the last few miles to Standon we arrived at The Star like drowned rats.
The good thing was that The Star was a very hospitable lunch stop with a nice light menu being very suitable for cyclists. Even those who had brought a packed lunch decided that a bowls of soup to go with their sandwiches would help offset our bedraggled appearance.
At about 2.15 pm it was time to leave with Tony and Sarah preferring the slightly quicker route home along the B1368 from Puckeridge and the rest of us following Rupert; we were all going to benefit from a following wind. So we left Standon and headed east to the A120 at Little Hadham and this time the lights were green and we went straight across for the climb up to Albury and Gravesend.
We were having incredible luck with the weather - it was mostly sunny and when dark clouds came up we managed to skirt round them and for all of the journey home we avoided any rain. When we reached Stocking Pelham Craig branched off to head to his home and the remaining five went along to Brent Pelham and then to Langley, both Lower Green and Upper Green and the descent from Duddenhoe End and on to Chrishall. This left us with another descent down to Chrishall Grange and then, running parallel to the air museum, into Duxford.
Langley Upper Green
This just left Whittlesford and Great Shelford where we ended the ride after a bit of a roller coaster of a day with wind, rain and sun, but nonetheless a very enjoyable 61 miles. So thanks to Rupert for a well thought-out route and not giving way to the siren voices that said we should finish the ride at coffee. Edward Elmer
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