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.
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!)