Saturday 9 February 2019
When I awoke on Saturday morning the rain was lashing against the window and I thought I may be in for a Billy-No-Mates ride, but by the time I had finished breakfast the rain had stopped and the wind had dropped. Just as I was about to leave home Richard N was on the phone to say he had just got his bike out and he had a puncture and would join us for lunch.
On mounting my bike for the short ride to Orchard Park I discovered that the previous day’s gym session which was the first for a number of weeks had left me with painful bum, but I was under the illusion that the ride would ease the discomfort. I would pay for this later.
On arrival at the Orchard Park I met Chairman Paul having ridden though a downpour and stating he was only there for the coffee. Apparently the Six Nations Rugby was taking a much higher priority than my ride. We were shortly joined by Lorraine having come by car, Ron, Charlie, Mike and surprisingly Robin and finally Mary who was on her first weekend ride since her bike accident on New Year’s Day.
After the mandatory photo five of us set off on the ride with Robin returning home. The rain held off as we made our way by a very roundabout and lumpy route to Stourhead managing to ensure Mary’s very clean bike would take on, shall we say, its more unkept appearance by lunch. After avoiding the muddy shortcut past Stourhead House we passed Kilmington, down Druley Hill where Ron left us, the call of a cycle race on tele being greater than lunch. We then turning right for Upton Noble whereupon it started to hail and then rain but luckily it had stopped by the time we reached the village. There then followed the long descent to our lunch venue at the “At the Chapel” in Bruton..
We entered to find Richard seated at our reserved table having been there since midday. One look at the menu and the prices indicted why we don’t frequent the establishment that often. I should have known with it being situated in a very small town surrounded by three public schools.
Richard had ordered before us and being the Yorkshire man he is, selected one of the cheapest items on the menu which turned out to be a microscopic goat’s cheese starter. This gave us the incentive to study the menu more closely and we elected for soup or pizza. Richard left us at this point saying he was off home for lunch but we surmised he was really going to raid his stock of out of date Mars Bars in his saddle bag.
During lunch we decided we would not follow my planned route via Blackford but head directly towards Wincanton. Having sat on a hard bench for an hour in the café my bum was now really telling me that it didn’t want to get back on the bike but as leader I really had to grin and bear it. So off we went via Pitcombe and into the wilds of a very lumpy Somerset countryside towards Stoney Stoke. I then took the route via Barrow to Gillingham while the remainder headed off to Wincanton. Having left me I understand that Mary then had a puncture, but at least she had the clubs two top puncture repairers with her so she only had to supervise the repair.
I arrived home to see the first sign of rain on the windows so we had made the right decision in shortening the route.
I covered 63.17km (39.17mile) and 781m in elevation gain.