I’ve already posted a short edited video of Sunday’s ride to Little Hadham (see below).
Due to a fairly steady shower, which started just before 9am and didn’t ease off until about half an hour later, the muster point had shifted to the bus shelter where we found Brian Penny holding up brightly-coloured clothing. Hence the (re)branding of Essex CTC is now over. In this action-packed snapshot, our ride leader for the day scrutinises the winter jacket with Martin arriving in the background.
A case of one man peddling his wares before 7 of us set off pedalling towards Ware. (Ouch, sorry, but couldn’t resist; Sawbridgeworth doesn’t lend itself to puns).
The drizzle was still steady as we rode through the park towards Writtle College and one of our number headed home for an early bath after becoming the p*nc%*re fairy’s victim number 1 soon into the ride. Between Fyfield and Matching Green, the p*nc%*re fairy struck again, this time Diana. A steady stream of riders on the Essex Roads’ Spring Lambs early season 100-mile sportive hurtled past us, most on machines built more for speed than comfort, head down, doggedly and determinedly pushing up the small incline. To be fair, many acknowledged us and the Sunday cycling church needs to be broad, but this is a very different way of ‘enjoying’ a damp, April day on a bike. Once back under way, it was unfortunate to see someone clutching his wrist who had come to grief on a bend a few hundred yards further up the road. That particular narrow lane was quite congested with the amount of cycling traffic, so we were quite glad to leave the racetrack and head for a pit stop at The Shed in Sawbridgeworth. By now, there was just a little more brightness and the drizzle had all but stopped, but it was one of those days when another squall always threatened.
Elevenses was a relaxing, unhurried affair and, having arrived slightly later anyway, lunch plans were amended by mutual consent, but all six of us continued on. Off we went, then, towards The Nags Head in Little Hadham, where service was friendly and obliging. We took ourselves into the Public Bar where the locals’ partisan attention was firmly fixed on the screen showing Everton vs. Arsenal. I made the mistake of momentarily blocking the view of a man who had that air of feeling at home in ‘his’ particular chair; he was clearly a regular. As we ate and drank, Arsenal fell one, then two goals behind. Reasonable food and ale and the ‘family’ atmosphere remained pleasant, but maybe it was just as well we left them to it before the second half (when Arsenal went a third goal behind). It may have turned ugly…but I doubt it.
The vivid yellow of rape seed fields seemed particularly vibrant on what remained an overcast, though mainly dry afternoon. As we headed towards tea at White Roding, Dave R. suggested we check out a memorial to Mathams Wood ALG (Advanced Landing Ground), used during both World Wars:
Martin tried some googling on his phone. I have since found more information on a website called Derelict Places (http://www.derelictplaces.co.uk/main/showthread.php?t=20321#.U0PUbfldUrU) which maybe explains why phone coverage was a bit hit-and-miss.
After tea at White Roding, we headed our separate ways with Diana, Dave R. and Dave S. forming one group, while I joined with John and Martin heading for the Easters and Chignals. Thanks to Diana for leading; after rather an unpromising start weather-wise, this turned out to be a fine and breezy day in every sense.
My route-tracker decided to play up (although some of our route is shown in the video below). Thanks to Martin, then, for his Strava track which logs the ride as 61 miles: