Thus we went out via Little Shelford and Whittlesford and then on to Newton into the face of the wind. After travelling through Thriplow and Fowlmere we made our way out to Flint Cross on the A505 and the turning up to Great Chishill. Now we faced a severe test as this was a two mile climb and into the very teeth of the wind and by the time the first riders reached Great Chishill there was quite a wait for the back markers to catch up; it did, though, give us the opportunity for a well earned breather.
Flint Cross to Great Chishill
Flint Cross to Great Chishill
We proceeded into Heydon and then a bit more climbing on the approaches to Elmdon, but now came the reward of a couple of miles downhill with the wind more or less behind as we descended into Ickleton and the Riverside Barns for coffee.
We arrived here at about 11.20am, a bit later than planned, but against the wind progress couldn't be too rapid, and here we found other members who had cycled out independently. We always enjoy this coffee stop and today its warmth was very welcoming as riding into all the wind had made us feel quite cold. Needless to say there was the usual exchange of personnel after coffee but still a large group assembled for the next stage of the ride. We used the farm track to join Coploe Hill and more fighting against the wind especially after reaching the top as there is not so much hedgerow protection.
This brought us to Catmere End and the approach to Littlebury Green where we turned for more climbing on the twisting roads before the rapid descent to Wendons Ambo. We crossed the B1383 and climbed up to Saffron Walden and negotiated the town's busy streets and took the Ashdon road for another climb.
Ashdon turning from Saffron Walden
When we reached the top of the hill we decided to shorten our route as the plan had been to go via Sewards End to Ashdon but instead we took the direct route and this gave us some relief from the wind as it was no longer head on. Now with the worst of the climbing behind us we made rapid progress through Ashdon and Bartlow where we turned for Hadstock and the very welcome sight of the King's Head.
Already there we found Jacob and Adrian, who had left us at Ickleton to indulge their off road skills, Doug, Mike S and Vic F. It was nice to be in the warm again and we enjoyed a very satisfactory lunch. The early arrivals, joined by Sarah and David M, left before the main party so when we left we were a group of nine.
After lunch at Hadstock (Photo: Belinda Borneo)
Hadstock is only about twelve miles from Hauxton and as it was about 2.15pm when we left we expected to be home before requiring lights. With the hills now behind us and a following wind we soon reached Linton and Hildersham and the B1307. We crossed this road into Great Abington and soon after on to the new cycleway along side the A505 until the Babraham turning and then into Sawston.
Babraham to Sawston cycleway
We finished the ride using the cycleway to Whittlesford and finally into Little Shelford at 3.15 pm, and those going back to Hauxton would have completed 52 miles, being just about right for a Thursday winter ride. Edward Elmer