A rather misty start, but soon the sun was breaking through and five of us set off in good spirits from City Hall heading for our elevenses at Marks Tey. We do it so often that I’m getting a bit tired of the obvious route through Boreham, Wickham Bishops and Tiptree, so I took a route via Channels, Terling and Witham where we tried out the impressive new pedestrian/cycle bridge over the mainline railway at the North end of Witham. The extended ramps are very cyclable and this is an excellent new facility.
We then tried an off-road link at Coleman’s Farm Little Braxted to reach the road from Rivenhall towards Tiptree. Unfortunately there is a short section which is quite rutted and a bit slippery so you could say my ‘name was mud’ but the others were very kind to me, withholding what I suspect were their true feelings on the matter!
The rest of the ride via Kelvedon, Messing and Copford was fairly uneventful although the unremitting NE wind made it quite hard work and we didn’t arrive at Marks Tey until 11.30am.
The car park at the Diner was full of classic american cars which provided some interest for those who like that sort of thing.
We were pleased to find Dave R there, only a few days after his ‘op’. He seems to be recovering well and was in good spirits. Eric and Heather had cycled there on their own, maybe having had a premonition that I might be going off-road!
Seven of us then went on towards our lunch destination at the excellent Swan pub in Little Totham, although three peeled off to return home before we got there. I’m getting a bit slower on hills these days and the others went ahead a few miles before we reached Little Totham. They did not know my route however so we ended up getting separated. Our caring group secretary was waiting for me on the ‘unplanned route’ but I was already at the pub! Thank goodness for mobile phones.
John B met us at the Swan and we all cycled back to Chelmsford via a tea stop at Bunsey Downs having covered about 56 miles.
Here is a link to my Strava record: https://www.strava.com/activities/516114554
Posted from Mel Martin’s report –
I lined up for the 08:30 start and would you believe it we had a rain shower! An Echo photographer was snapping away as we departed the café.
Immediately a fast group disappeared into the distance and made me wonder why they selected the 7 hour start.
The rain was only a short shower so at the first checkpoint manned by Ron and Lynda off came my waterproof jacket. After Writtle there was just me and the Chelmsford boys, Adrian and John. We checked in with Brian and Veronica at 09:52 near Smallshoes Hill.
By this time the wind was noticeable mainly because the ride to Great Waltham was directly into it. This third stage up to Great Bardfield was quite a long one (19 miles) and always had some head wind component. I tucked in behind Adrian!
We arrived at Gt Bardfield Town Hall at 11:08 and the refreshments supplied by Chris Spicer, Ken Winters and John Smith was welcome. I think it was Dennis Frost who was doing the time keeping. After 20 minutes we got underway again. Mike C had just arrived followed shortly by Jon C who looked like he had struggled in the wind. He also had a Garmin malfunction. What’s wrong with some scribbled notes on an old envelope?
We had the wind behind us for the 4 miles down the B1057 and holding a steady 20 mph was no problem. At the memorial in Stebbing we found Daryl stopped having dropped out of the fast group with leg cramp. He joined our little group.
In North End we caught up with the fast group who were having trouble working out which way to go! They followed us but soon got fed up with our pace and went past.
At Pleshey Jim and Claude were marshalling. Claude was generously handing out chocolate and Adrian accepted a coffee hoping it would revive his fading legs.
The last checkpoint at Cooks Mill Green was manned by Stefan and Ian. After getting my card signed I got away smartly. The others were slower to follow and I noticed my lead was increasing so with my legs in reasonable condition I kept up what I thought was comfortable pace. I arrived back at the café at 14:00 i.e. a 5.5 hour ride. Adrian and John arrived about 4 to 5 minutes later without Daryl who I heard had suffered a puncture. (And had no pump)! (A)
A pleasant ride in ideal conditions if you ignore the wind going out.