Sunday, 19 July 2015

19 Jul: Sunday afternoon ride to Ashdon

Ray writes: After last week's drenching, I had been keeping an eye on the weather forecast for today. Earlier in the week it looked like we would be in for another damp ride, but the forecast improved as the week went on and in the end we enjoyed an afternoon cycling in glorious sunshine.

Five of us (me, John E, Gina, Simon and Paul) met at Brookside and, for a change from Trumpington Road, we headed to the railway station to pick up the guided busway out to Addenbrookes then the DNA path to Shelford.

On the DNA path

We carried on through Little Shelford to Whittlesford and crossed the A505 by the Volvo garage, regrouping by the new Welch's transport depot.

Regroup by Welch's

We rode through Duxford to Hinxton (nobody was brave enough to attempt the ford - perhaps they had all read Thursday's ride report) and continued to Ickleton. Paul left us here in search of teeth in Elmdon (I'll leave him to relate that story next time you meet him on the road). Before he left, he took a photo of us at the bottom of Coploe Hill.

Before Coploe Hill

We carried on uphill to Strethall before the long descent of Chestnut Avenue to Audley End, then another climb towards Saffron Walden. From there it was a long but gentle climb to Ashdon, where we arrived just after 4 o'clock.

We found Nigel, Adrian, Joseph and Li from the all day ride, and Bev and Rob who had ridden a more direct route from Cambridge . The village museum usually has a great selection of home-made cakes, but they had been very busy today so there was just a chocolate cake left by the time we arrived. Still, it was very welcome washed down with a nice pot of tea. Paul arrived 20 minutes or so after us, possibly just in time for the last slice of chocolate cake.

We gave Paul time to enjoy his tea before setting off together for Cambridge. Most of us took a right turn, up the hill towards Steventon End for a longer loop home, while Simon headed straight on for Bartlow. We paused at the top of the climb to regroup and noticed that John E wasn't with us. We waited a couple of minutes, but nobody had seen him since the tea stop so we decided to press on without him.

From there we continued to climb to Shudy Camp and Mill Green, crossing the A1307 at Horseheath. Rather than turning at Streetly End for West Wratting (my usual route home when I lead this ride), we carried on to West Wickham, Weston Green, and Weston Colville, making for Six Mile Bottom.

The main group turned right to take the lane past the woodland cemetery, while Paul continued straight-on. After we crossed the road at Six Mile Bottom, Nigel saw a rider in the distance and took chase, while I stopped to wait for the rest of the group. We caught up with Nigel and Paul further up the road, where Nigel took off again and the rest of us continued more slowly to keep together.

By now we were on familiar territory, and took the obvious route home through Stow Cum Quy and Fen Ditton, coming into Cambridge along the river.

There were no wrong turns today, but Nigel remarked on the way back that I had chosen a long route home. Some riders expect a more direct route back after tea. The runs list had the afternoon ride down for 50-60 miles, and I had put in the extra loop so as not to leave anyone feeling short-changed. Nigel suspects that the runs list should have had it down for 40-50 miles. In either case, I think I was within budget, as the route from Brookside to the Green Dragon bridge was 47 miles.

I'll try to make sure next time that everyone knows if we're taking a longer loop home, especially when there's a breakaway group going direct.

The round trip for me (from Arbury) was 51 miles, with 1,386 feet of climbing. Ray Miller



Download GPS track (GPX).

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