Sunday, 12 November 2017

12 Nov: Sunday ride to Saffron Walden, Clavering and Hauxton for the AGM

Ian B writes: In response to Rupert’s recent appeal for leaders for the Nov/Dec rides, I spotted this ride to Saffron Walden and (at the time) Lower Langley. With the finish being at the AGM in Hauxton, I figured that this shorter than usual Sunday ride would be relatively stress free. I planned the route and went out to test it. That was a good idea as RideWithGPS had mapped me through some private property. So after a slight tweak the route was set. That was until a few days before the ride when Rupert found out the chef at the Bull Inn had heard we were coming and suddenly required a holiday. Fortunately Rupert found some spare lunch capacity at the Fox and Hounds in Clavering and after another route change, everything was in place.

The Sunday weather forecast was for the first cold snap of the autumn, with a max. of 6C and gusts of 20mph into our faces expected on the return leg. By 9.30am five of us had mustered at Brookside in full winter kit, Alex, Mark, Rupert, Simon and myself, with Tom H just catching us as we set off. Sheila joined us in Shelford on the usual CTC route to Saffron Walden.


The wind was behind us so we made good time but at the base of Coploe Hill, Alex realised that as it was Remembrance Day, the centre of Saffron Walden would be closed. Rupert redirected us through Littlebury so little time was lost.

At Bicicletta Coffee we met up with several more CTC members who had made their own way there and thankfully were served relatively quickly. Worryingly at one stage a police car arrived outside and an armed officer alighted but thankfully it was just security for the Armistice Ceremony being held at the Cenotaph.

We observed the 2 mins silence in the cafe and, having walked up the hill past the road blocks, set off on the 1 hour leg to lunch, via Widdington and Rickling. Now there were nine of us as Alex went back and Andy, Sarah and Nigel joined us. (Nigel was on his way back from Great Dunmow after receiving his Essex Super Randonneur medal).

Rickling (Photo: Nigel Deakin)

After lunch in Clavering (Photo: Nigel Deakin)

The Fox and Hounds in Clavering was a welcome, warm haven and lunch went down well enough for Rupert to be adding this to our Stops List. However I was conscious that we had 18 miles into a strong headwind back to the AGM in order to get our Runs Secretary re-elected. (I knew I would be drummed out of the CTC if we were late). We needed an average of 12mph to achieve the 3pm deadline, so we set off and in convoyspeak "put the hammer down". Our route home was via Lower Langley, Shaftenhoe End and Fowlmere. At times, unfortunately, the group became fragmented and apologies to Simon who, with his handlebar gauntlets creating some serious drag, lost contact and missed a turn at Barley.

In the end, Rupert sped ahead and was well in time. So all's well that ends well but I'll be more experienced the next time I plan a ride which has to be back by a certain time. The ride totalled 46 miles in all. Ian Bamborough

At the AGM (Photo: Nigel Deakin)

Download GPS track (GPX).

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