To paraphrase Winnie the Pooh, the wind was blowing blustery and the trees were thrashing “thrustily” and I think it was safe to say….that seven windswept Chelmsford riders set off on a very “gusterly” day. Coggeshall Vineyards was our elevenses stop and we took the extremely exposed Airfield route to make full use of the following sou’wester. The overnight gusts of 40 mph (source, the met office web-site) had stripped the trees of all sorts of loose wood, around which we swerved and over which our tyres ominously crunched. One twig folded up Johns milk-bottle-plastic mud-flap but mercifully there were no punctures. After enjoying some quality tea and toast, just three of us went on to lunch the rest having a weather eye for the challenging headwind among other factors.
We were blown along Chappel – Bures climb so fast that lunch was varied on-the-fly to Bures itself after checking the Thatcher’s for other riders. This enabled us to get a head start on the return run. We were obliged to dine outside of the fully booked-out Eight Bells, but on the plus side (correct me if I’m mistaken) – I can’t remember a milder November day. We ate our keenly priced toasted sandwiches in the sunny, sheltered beer garden in the company of ladybirds, flies and wasps. By the time we left the wind had dropped a little but was still gusting to 30-MPH. We went via the very muddy, potholed and steep road through Daws Cross, Colne Engaine and Langley Mill and managed to fit in a tea-break at Black Notley golf Club, 15 miles later. By then, battered by the relentless wind, we were all tiring out at a fair rate. The final leg of the ride became for me, a grinding effort with lights on and everything clenched that could be; considering that it was a mid-November ride I suppose I mustn’t grumble!