A bit of an epic yesterday. Again, we had another big crowd of over twenty at the town hall and picked up some more at High Beach half an hour later, where we split into those who were riding up to Cambridge and those who were trace the same route for about 25 miles northwards and then head back to London.
There were about ten of us in the Cambridge group - some of us were desperately hoping we could get there early enough for the 1:20pm train and some were intending to ride all the way back home again the same day and wanted to do this in daylight - this meant we had to just keep going. There was practically no stopping once we'd left High Beach: maybe a couple of minutes just after Theydon Bois when Matt's chain somehow got completely stuck and another two or three minutes when Aidan got a puncture near Matching Green - he actually had his Dad as a support car so we didn't even need to wait while he fixed it - Sean, if you're reading this we'd be very happy for you to drive behind us every week ;-) Apart from that it was relentless for three hours. Aidan was able to rejoin us maybe five miles up the road and we stayed as one group the whole way up.
Those on the shorter ride had a more fragmented time of it. A series of punctures (which you don't really want* on a such a cold and foggy day) seems to have left the group splitting up into four separate sections all making their way home separately, and that's without counting David 'the machine' Veitch, who clipped off the front and bridged across to the Cambridge group for a few miles of company before heading back on his own, presumably at 30mph.
Personally, I was suffering horrendously due to a lack of food and with over 30 miles still to go to Cambridge I was already thinking "maybe I could just go and lie down in a ditch somewhere and it will all be over." Roland fed me an energy bar and Tim did his best to tow me along whenever I looked like disappearing off the back. Finally, we made it to Cambridge. Me, Huw, Tom and Matt had about 15 minutes to buy our tickets, try to get some food / drink and then find the platform. We eventually got onto the train with about one second to spare, trying to balance bikes / pint-sized coffees / assorted pastry-based items while clambering in to the already crowded space and then having to sit on the floor.**
Meanwhile Alex, Tim, Roland, Charlie and Patrick went to a café before setting off on the long journey back home again. I feel sick just thinking about it. Once I'd ridden home from Kings Cross I'd done 74 miles and I could barely get off my sofa for several hours. These guys all did at least 120 miles with Alex doing a mind-boggling 134.
*OK, you never actually want a puncture, but you know what I mean
** Well, I say 'having to', but nobody else did, just me. I think I would have collapsed otherwise.
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