Saturday 9 March 2019
So what do I know?! Ken and I set off for Child Okeford happy in the assumption that the forecast wind of up to 40mph would have put off most sensible riders. Wrong! 19 people turned up at the Gold Hill café – and for future gatherings, they open at 10am and NOT before. Thanks to Mike A for generously having the puncture 2 miles short of the café which meant there were no more on the rest of the ride! I rang the pub with 15 for lunch which was more than anticipated but they said they would ‘sort us out’.
Roger went home to nurse his ongoing cold leaving myself, Ken, Dave, Lorraine, Mary, Jenny, Charlie, Jill, Ron, Richard, Jackie, Martin, Doc David, Ed, Paul, Ben, Mike A and Mike P.
We went to the Trailway and rode to Stourpaine, except Mike P who kept to the road. This was my first experience of riding the Trailway which offers a safe route to Blandford. We rode up through the grounds of Bryanston School – launching ourselves off their abundance of sleeping policemen. Paul had previously mentioned that it is of course private land, so as I ring bells at the school church, I thought I’d pull a few strings…..well, ropes, obviously(!) and actually got permission. In the event, not a security man to be seen!
We crossed the meadows behind the brewery – I slightly missed the track as my mind was taken up with concern for Ben whom I thought was going to lose his head on the height restriction bar – which he sensibly routed around! Onto Langton Long and then the Tarrant valley where Ron departed for home. Keeping count of a group which exceeds the number of fingers and thumbs is even harder when I forget to include the leader…..Note to self!
Groans then cheers when some realised that we weren’t taking the hill to Witchampton – all except Richard who continued up it to lunch with friends in Gussage All Saints.
At the pub Ken left in the car which we had pre-positioned as he was providing lunch for his son who had been running the Larmer Tree half marathon. The Langton Arms proved to be a good lunch stop and we were accommodated in the bar. Soup and baguettes were the main choices and all agreed the food was good quality although the beef baguettes took a while to come – obviously Tarrant cattle are hard to lasso!
Remember that hill we didn’t take? Well we did after lunch and went via Witchampton and Moor Crichel to the Gussage valley and up to Farnham on some small quiet roads, and a mere splash of a ford. Approaching Farnham the whole peloton was stopped in its tracks…by a shed driving down the single track road. Not something you see every day and disappointingly not Ken arriving with the tea and cakes!
Having been lucky with a tailwind for most of the ride, we finally encountered it en-route to Ashmore. Thanks (again) to Mike A for breaking wind ahead of me….I believe that’s the correct term?
The final drag up from Ashmore was pretty cruel, but when returning from the east there are few choices. Down Fontmell Hill to our house must be one of the roughest roads to ride, nearly warranting a dental appointment!
We all shoe-horned into the kitchen for a tea and cake injection before folk headed for home. Ken ran a Fontmell to Child Okeford taxi service for Lorraine who had left her car at the café, but did really well not to bail out at lunch and Paul who has been nursing a bad ankle. Not satisfied with the cycle ride, Jenny started the day with a Park Run and left to go swimming….Phew!
Thanks to all for coming along and for my ‘Virgin Lead’ certificate.
I’m off for a lie down in a quiet, darkened room……