Saturday 22 February 2020
As I walked the short distance to the Gold Hill Café through steady rain I wondered whether I would find anybody there. I was greeted by 8 intrepid but soaked cyclists and Ken and Caroline in civilian clothes, who had sensibly come by car. Another bedraggled group arrived from Bruton just as we were preparing to leave. Jackie decided not to risk the weather and Mary had an afternoon pantomime performance so also left for home. Okeford Hill sorted the men from the boys or rather the e-bikes from the rest as Ron and Alan powered their way to the top. The chairman decided to conserve some energy by walking the last section but commendably everyone else rode the distance.
A fast ride down the Winterborne valley brought us to our first floods in Winterborne Whitechurch followed by more serious flooding in Kingston and Anderson. Looping round by Morden we turned north and reached The Red Lion 10 minutes early. The pub had a large round table where the seven of could comfortably sit to enjoy our meal, several of us enjoying the something and chips in a basket option. Fortified we continued back following the Stour before turning up the Tarrant valley. Ron left at this point because he was worried about possible flooding – justified as it turned out. All went well until we reached Stubhampton where we were greeted by a road closed sign and water completely covering the road. Bravely we sent Ed ahead to test the depth and decided to risk it. Cycling up a river is an unusual experience which resulted in several wet feet but we reached dry land as we started the climb up to the top road. The wind picked up again as we descended to Iwerne Minster and the sunshine we had enjoyed disappeared. Martin, Dave and Ed pealed off towards the Orchards leaving Charlie and Alan to accompany me back to Child Okeford. I arrived home before any serious rain and hope the others did too.
44.5 miles with 750 metres of climbing.