Sunday, 20 August 2017

20 Aug: Sunday afternoon ride to Newmarket

Greg Writes: And it came to pass that on the twentieth day of the eighth month a bike ride occurred. Though not exactly starting with a census it had the required rider registration process to begin with as nine intrepid souls joined Greg for the Sunday afternoon ride from Brookside. Two Simons, Phil, Jeff, John F, Lalli, Mark, Tom and finally Bob.

Census time at Brookside

We set off up Trumpington Street using the new cycle path – a great improvement since we no longer fear being "cardoored" at the start of the ride. ("Editor's" note : Cardoored - a new verb declines as: I car door, you car door, he hospitalises. Transitive, very transitive...)

After a brief swerve into Bentley Road Greg self-corrected and we took the next left into Barrow Rd. There is a car joke in there about moving from a Bentley to a Barrow but I can't quite find it... (try harder – Ed.) There is always an Ed on a CTC ride, apparently – even if sometimes just a virtual one!

We came through the gap onto Porson Road and thence to Long Rd and the busway.

Through the gap

We wove our way through the ever expanding Addenbrookes site and emerged via Red Cross Lane onto Wort's Causeway.

Bob observed that he might be dropped on the hill but, like the US Cavalry, Greg assured him that "No one would be left behind". We would wait at the top.

This we duly did – where the time passed pleasantly enough as Phil regaled us with tales of Sky Box problems. Ah the joys of being a Newcastle supporter – not only the endless despair of the football but also the technical challenges of recording the match. Still Phil was hopeful that his wife had sorted things out for him and the "Lads" undoubted triumph over the newly promoted Huddersfield journeymen would be a chance to watch his team winning for once... the hope, the hope...

Phil speaks, Jeff yawns...

We set off once again – surprised on the downward rush to Fulbourn to have Bob fly past us and lead us briefly. We went on the usual Fulbourn and Wilbrahams route – stopping briefly to admire the finest cottage garden that Wilbraham has to offer.

Cottage Garden Magnificence

We then turned due East and headed off towards Six Mile Bottom. Once again we agreed to wait at the top – giving Greg a chance to declaim in his best Mid-Western accent (which is v similar to his worst one…) "See y'all at the Cemetery Crossroads." He was amused...

Cemetery Crossroads

Whilst we waited at the crossroads for the last rider to finish the hill Jeff was able to fill us in on his new WMD. Apparently he had been wearing his overshoes for the previous 3 weeks. Given that at this stage the sun was out and it was a balmy 22C the thought of the foetid contents of the overshoes being revealed filled us all with horror. Something about this threat made us all keen to get ahead and we duly picked up the Balsham Rd and headed further "Into them thar hills."

Jeff and his overshoes

Phil refused to indulge us by checking either the score or whether the Sky box had been successfully reset by the Domestic IT Department and so we were simply left to guess the current state of play: 3-0, 4-0, who knew? The hope was what drove Phil on.

We powered ahead enjoying the rolling hills as we came into the Newmarket environs and Horse Country (no, no more Western jokes - Ed.) There was a brief halt whilst a strange sound from Mark’s rear end was investigated. A bent derailleur cage was diagnosed and duly sorted. So much better than Diocalm.

There was the slight matter of a further haul up past some rather swanky stud farms on Woodditton Road and then it was the fast descent towards Newmarket. Eschewing the tedium of the straight route Greg threw a sharp right at the first opportunity and we duly waited there for the group to reform. Both Phils' score and Jeff's socks provided conversational centrepieces until a few minutes later we spied Bob speeding past. He spotted us at the last minute and swerved right to rejoin the group. The initial ten was briefly eleven as Keith had been with the all day group earlier and was returning home and found us. We then duly cycled through the back streets together to arrive at the Palace Road Tea Room and Horseracing museum just after 3.30pm.

The weather was pleasant enough to sit outside for some – and Jeff's thermonuclear socks were definitely not likely to be permitted inside a confined space.

Coffee indoors – note Jeff is banished outside

Greg chivvied everyone along after thirty minutes, proclaiming that there were now no more hills for the return trip.

We went briefly down the High Street before making the earliest possible right turn and picking up the backstreets to avoid the traffic. This brought us out on Hamilton Rd and the private road through the stud farms where we could smell the money.(So much sweeter than socks - Ed)

Greg had to remind the group that the incline they were tackling at that moment was definitely and categorically a figment of people's imaginations and was not a hill – the illusion not helped by a pedestrian crying "Keep going, nearly at the top".

We crossed the road onto the cycle path – Greg facilitating the manoeuvre by holding up the traffic. Then down the path and through Exning on NCN 51.

Once out into the countryside we had the rather tedious flog on straight roads – briefly running close to the noise of the A14. This was a chance to do some committed spinning and stretch the legs after coffee. Simon was "recovering" from his inaugural 200km Audax on Friday (Chapeau – or should it be Stetsons?) and was keen to have a bit of a go for a mile or two to loosen the muscles. This was duly accomplished with him and Greg leading off the group.

We all stopped and reformed at the end of this single road – with a brief discussion about route options. The original plan was maintained and we set off towards the Swaffhams. Bob left us at this stage and we then went through Bottisham and headed towards Quy.

With a most opportune photo moment appearing we discovered a pub that referenced Jeff's Sartorial Contributions – and he duly posed with said "Socks" on display. He has threatened to include a statement item of clothing at all subsequent rides but this may just be attention seeking. Phil was still moaning about the football so with Jeff showing off his clothes and Phil grumbling it was absolutely clear that all was well with the world.

Socks appeal

Further departures from the group occurred as we neared Cambridge and the remaining cohort was brought to an abrupt halt in Fen Ditton by Greg complaining of a rubbing on his behind. It rapidly transpired that this was due to Extreme Fatigue – his pole had sheared due to overuse. This is a cycling failure for those who may have thought otherwise – see photo!

Extreme Fatigue

Emergency repairs turned his cycle mounted pack into a backpack and the ride resumed.

Though Fen Ditton and onto the Stourbridge Common and, like a dodgy Agatha Christie novel, we duly started losing people on by one. The groups eventually had dissolved by Riverside as people found their way home after the required 40 miles of fun filled action.

Do remember to ask Phil when you see him about the score and how his team is doing – he will be delighted to give you all the details of their 1-0 loss to Huddersfield. "Away The Lads!" Greg Tucker

Download this route (GPX).

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