Sunday, 1 October 2017

1 Oct: Sunday ride to Stansted Mountfitchet and Westmill

Ian B writes: There had been a big question mark over the weather leading up to our Sunday ride to Stansted Mountfitchet and Westmill but thankfully the rain was only light when seven of us set off from Brookside: Sheila, David, Simon, Rupert, Alex, John P and myself.

After the usual route south via the DNA path to Great Shelford, we collected another couple of riders for our merry band - Edmund and Susan.

As the coffee stop at 26 miles was almost the maximum we ride to, it was thought best to go the most direct route. This meant we started with the triple climbs of Coploe, Telegraph and the long ascent into Arkesden. Tackling these hills in rain would have been enough of a challenge but add in a strong headwind and suddenly Stansted seemed a long way away. But at Clavering the riding became a little easier and as we ticked off Manuden, the rain stopped and we had the happy prospect of leaving the headwind behind us at coffee.

Unfortunately Simon picked up a flint at this point but managed to limp to The Bean House where his rest stop was spent repairing his inner tube. Here we met Adrian, Sarah and Andy who had made their own way there. I've stopped here four times now with CTC, three for lunch and this time for coffee and have been pleased each time.

After half an hour, we started the 16 mile journey west to lunch. Shouldn't take long with the headwind gone should it - except during coffee the wind direction had switched and was now a westerly and a headwind again! When I checked the ride on Thursday, I had a puncture a few miles before Braughing (Averil - I feel lucky to only have had one!) and it turns out Alex had had a similar experience on that road recently as well. However we were fortunate this time.

After safely negotiating the pedestrian crossing of the A10 at Puckeridge and Great Munden, we freewheeled into Westmill where the Tea Room was ready for us with our reserved table. I think this is a new lunch stop for us but they seemed pleased to see us despite my slightly mud-splattered look from the earlier rain. It's not very big but it is in a lovely setting.

We were aware that a band of rain was due in Cambridge later that afternoon so we didn't dally and soon set off for the usual route back from Buntingford via Wyddial and Nuthampstead, thankfully this time with mostly a tailwind. Those returning to Brookside will have got back around 4pm having ridden 68 miles and climbed 2900 ft. Ian Bamborough

Download this route (GPX).

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