Thursday, 2 July 2015

2 Jul: Thursday ride to Newmarket and Hawstead

Alex writes: 'Moderate' it says. '60-70 miles' it says. But with today's ride we strained at the leash of those characterisations.

One cake good; two cakes better. But better still is a cake and a sausage roll. This is the perfect coffee-break fuel for a ride such as today's – or at least so I thought as I enjoyed this combination at the National Horseracing Museum in Newmarket at our coffee stop.

Earlier, around 20 members had gathered in Hauxton for the start of the ride. It had been muggy and rather overcast – conditions which were to persist for the rest of the day with a brief outbreak of rain, which did not amount to much.

Gathering at Hauxton

With Mike C leading, we had set off through the Shelfords, along the DNA path, past Addenbrooke's, over Gogs and then via the Wilbrahams, Exning and Reach to Newmarket where we stopped for coffee and were joined by Peter, Eva and a few others. At 25 miles this was already a good distance and, as several rider remarked, the pace seemed more rapid than normal.

On the DNA path

Over the Gogs

Nearing Exning

With the usual comings and goings around 15 of us set off further east, climbing up out of Newmarket in the drizzle. We passed through Moulton, Gazeley, and Dalham and then on to roads that were unfamiliar to, at least to me, heading further east passing through Ousden, Chevington and Whepstead before arriving at our lunch stop: the Maglia Rosso cycle shop and cafe in Hawstead, where we found David S waiting for us.

Some of us ate sandwiches on the village green, others ordered food at the cafe. The fact that Maglia Rosso is a bike shop was particularly handy for me, as I had lost pressure in my rear tyre (valve failure?) and was able to borrow their track pump for easy inflation of a replaced tube. Several other members toured the shop suffering various degrees of temptation but remarkably, nobody bought anything.

Leaving Newmarket

With 45 miles already in our legs and the temperature in Celsius now rising in the high 20s the return home to Cambridge was always going to be a little testing, even taking a direct route. We took undulating roads passing through Rede and Cowlinge, pausing frequently to regroup and swig from our bidons. I floated the idea of an ice cream break at Stradishall or maybe a pub stop in West Wratting, but the mood was more that we needed to continue with the final push.

Hydrating at Cowlinfge

Eventually at Brinkley the group divided, with some riders heading south to Abington, and Rupert leading a group (which I joined) that swept down to Six Mile Bottom and then slogged along the Wilbraham Road before heading through Quy back to Cambridge.When I got home, I found I had cycled 83 miles. My Eddington number remains 41. Alex Brown

Download GPS track (GPX).

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