Sunday, 28 August 2016

28 Aug: Sunday afternoon ride to West Wratting

Ray writes: after three days cycling in the Peak District, I was looking forward to a gentler ride today in the Cambridgeshire countryside. I arrived at Brookside to find five riders eager to set off: John E, Ian B, Phil, Matt and Liz. I quickly texted Peter to let him know how many of us to expect for tea.

Gathering at Brookside

We set off down Trumpington Road for our usual route to the guided busway, then cut through Addenbrookes to Wort's Causeway and our first hill of the day. This took us to Fulbourn, then the Wilbrahams and Six Mile Bottom and our second hill, towards Brinkley. We turned past the woodland cemetery and emerged on the B-road at Weston Colville, only a mile from the tea stop.

Approaching Weston Colville

Ian was recovering from an injury so left us here to ride directly to tea, while the rest of us continued on a south-easterly loop via Carlton Green, Little Thurlow, and Great Thurlow where we turned south-west for Withersfield then north-west to West Wratting. Along the way, Phil pointed out rain clouds and what looked like heavy rain in the distance. We hoped we'd make it to tea before it caught up with us.

We arrived (dry) just after 4.30pm to find the all-day riders already there. We were greeted by Peter who immediately rushed inside to return with very welcome cups of tea. Now that we were all here, we could start on the fantastic spread provided by Peter and Lesley. We enjoyed sandwiches, quiche, pies, and scones, and a selection of delicious home-made cakes. It looked like someone had been up all night baking!

While we were eating, the rain that had threatened earlier made itself known with a violent downpour. We had second cups of tea and hoped for it to pass. I checked the Met Office app on my phone  and saw that heavy showers were forecast to continue until 8pm, so I decided to set off into the rain.

Two separate groups headed for Cambridge: John R would lead a direct route back via Fulbourn, while I would lead a small intrepid bunch via Abington and Sawston. I had planned to ride back via Bartlow and Linton, but on Nigel's advice cut off this unnecessary detour to ride via Balsham instead.

Nigel, Susan and David joined me and most of the afternoon riders on the Abington route. We were riding carefully in heavy rain, through streams of surface water running down the hill and giant puddles in the dips. We hadn't gone too far when David shouted that he had a puncture, but not to wait for him. Susan stopped to keep him company while the rest of us pressed on.

The rain eased and finally abated as we approached Abington, and we enjoyed a calmer final few miles home. Phil peeled off as we came into Stapleford, and the rest of us split up as we approached the railway station. I arrived home just after 7pm having ridden about 48 miles. Ray Miller.

Download GPS track (GPX).

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