The remaining five of us set off from Brookside and rode through West Cambridge to Coton and then up Madingley Hill towards Hardwick. The pace was brisk from the start, and once we reached the open road Gareth and I were soon taking turns at the head of a small informal peloton, with Sven, John R and Chris following close behind. It wasn't long before Sven and John had joined in, and all five of us soon found ourselves riding along at over 20mph in a CTC Cambridge approximation to a chain gang along the old St Neots Road, along Broadway to Bourn, and then along the road to Caxton.
Speeding along Sand Road towards Great Gransden
This isn't something we do very often and it soon became evident that our initial pace wasn't sustainable: as we approached Caxton I found myself flagging and dropped back, and somewhere along the road to Great Gransden Gareth found it necessary to pause briefly after an attack of cramp. We regrouped and carried on into Great Gransden where we stopped for a minute or two by the windmill.
The windmill at Great Gransden
This marked the half-way point of the ride, though it was still only about 7.15pm. We returned to Cambridge via Longstowe and the B1046 through Toft and Comberton, still riding briskly but not at the breakneck speeds we had been achieving earlier. We arrived in Barton just before 8.10pm, twenty minutes early, and stopped for drinks at The White Horse. Chris announced that this evening's ride was his "fastest CTC ride, ever", though I can think of one or two other evening rides where he was probably riding just as fast (such as this one).
As we sat outside drinking beers and eating plates of chips we were joined briefly by Alasdair M who lives locally. By the time it was 8.45pm we were ready to set off for home; we were just preparing to depart when John E arrived.
Those of us who live in Cambridge returned there along the Barton Road cycleway. I arrived home at the unusually early time of 9.10pm, with five minutes still to go before sunset. I had ridden 32 miles.
Download GPS track (GPX).