A beautiful sunny and warm day with light wind. A cyclists’ paradise, but where were all the Chelmsford CTC members? Only four at the start and two more at Andrewsfield – we better that on most cold overcast days in winter! Maybe the Little Haven charity ride was a rival attraction?
Anyway we had a great ride led by Diana with elevenses at Andrewsfield and supposedly lunch at Cornish Hall End. However the pub had a beer festival in full swing and could not supply food unless we paid £3 each to go in to the field behind. When I asked why we should pay three pounds to go in simply to get a burger I was told there was a lot more entertainment in there such as the (naff) music which we could unfortunately hear anyway.
We gave it up as a bad job and headed for the Red Lion in Finchingfield where we enjoyed excellent baguettes for only a little more than the entry fee at Cornish Hall End.
We headed via Shalford to Rayne station for tea and were pleased to see how much resurfacing has been done in preparation for Le Tour. We arrived back in Chelmsford having covered 57 miles and the sun was still shining.
My Strava record: http://www.strava.com/activities/156771653
Just a quick note to provide a link to my Strava record this ride which was led by Adrian.
Four Counties Audax 8 June 2014
Herts Wheelers organise this annual event, which this year was headquartered at Ware. Dave Southin and I entered the 160 Km “Four Counties” option, (theres also 2 counties, 3 and 5 to chose from, depending on your desired distance). We enjoyed superb weather all day. The ride goes by the highest points in Bedfordshire (Dunstable Downs), Cambridgeshire (GT Chishill) and Essex (Duddenhoe End) giving the riders a succession of stunning views across the English Countryside. Hilly, but worth it!
Nine riders set off from the Town Hall under clear blue skies on a warm summer Sunday morning. Keeping up a steady pace we took the usual route to Marks Tey via Wickham Bishops, Tiptree and Messing, arriving at the Bungalow Diner for elevenses spot on 11am.
Relaxing at the Bungalow Diner, Marks Tey
For a variety of reasons only three riders continued to lunch at Kersey. The north Essex and South Suffolk countryside looked stunning in the clear light with fluffy patches of Cumulus cloud decorating the sky. Kersey is simply a classic picturesque English village and in the Bell Inn we were provided with excellent sandwiches and trimmings along with well-kept ale.
Kersey website: http://kersey.onesuffolk.net/
We stopped for tea and cake in the garden of the Greenstead Green farm shop before heading back towards Chelmsford. I recorded 81 miles, a bit more than our normal ration these days.
Here is a link to my Strava record: http://www.strava.com/activities/151046984
With a month to go, this is an interesting, if rather queasy, way to preview the tour’s opening two stages in Yorkshire.
John was impromptu ride leader for the day, gallantly accepting the challenge of getting us to Maldon via Tiptree at short notice.
Five of us headed out through the park and town, then towards Sandford Mill and Hammonds Road. The weather was set fair with occasional cloud cover and a welcome breeze as we continued via Little Baddow, Hatfield Peverel and Wickham Bishops at a good steady pace. We arrived at the ever-popular Perrywoods Garden Centre bang-on 11am, just as the Essex Roads club were leaving. Here we met Beryl who continued with us.
This is where two equally-sized groups formed. John’s group took a route out towards the Layers which included a not-altogether-planned short tour of Layer Marney Tower which looked resplendent in the sunshine. We crossed the western side of Abberton reservoir before heading back towards Maldon via Tolleshunt D’Arcy and Heybridge. Our cool companions were already relaxing with a drink in the busy area outside The Queen’s Head. The beautiful weather had brought the world and his wife (and their rather noisy motorbikes) out. While this made for a pleasant atmosphere, it also made the likelihood of food arriving within a reasonable time frame unlikely so we settled for a liquid lunch and pressed on. Or at least the inexperienced and uninitiated did. Those with experience, forethought and common sense (such as Dave and Beryl, for example) had brought their own.
Liquid lunch – Maldon
John and Dave put arrangements in place to take different routes once more, but to meet up again at BHN garden centre near Rettendon Common. The pattern from earlier in the day had been set and we took a loop via Mundon, arriving quite hot and much in need of sustenance, while Dave and Beryl welcomed us with cool serenity, having arrived some time earlier. Shades of a certain fable by Aesop. Once reasonably generous quantities of assorted fare had been devoured, we felt more ready to tackle the steady drag up to South Hanningfield to ride beside our second reservoir of the day. I believe there is a two day Reservoir Tour in the professional road racing calendar, but our unplanned one-day tour of two reservoirs was very much enjoyed. Thanks again to John for doing the ride leading honours.
Link to all today’s vital statistics:
Incidentally, today marks the first anniversary of the blog. During the year we have amassed 68 posts, including some sort of ride report for the majority of our Sunday rides. Thanks to all who contribute or read these self-indulgent musings on all things cycling and a reminder that new members are always welcome (we have an ‘About’ page which clarifies who we are and what we do – link at the top of the page – if other posts seem somewhat baffling in this respect!)