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.