I wasn’t surprised that we didn’t get the full complement of riders out as it was very cold. The BBC said it would be -1 deg C at 9 o’clock and I’m pretty sure when the four of us left Chelmsford it was still below zero!
As we went onto Woodhill Road we found a fog dense enough for me to put my lights on, which cleared as we climbed up to Danbury. I stopped near the top for us to regroup and Ioan who been following close behind me sat down on the kerb. I thought he was just having a rest but when Martin, who knows him better, caught up he realised Ioan wasn’t well. We think it was a combination of a bug and the cold. Martin escorted him back to Chelmsford.
This left Dave S and me to continue onto Billericay for elevenses. At the Wetherspoons we met Diana and Brian. Brian was in civvies having declared it too cold to ride. Diana was up for a ride so after a good chat we set off on a loop through Shenfield and Doddinghurst. I had been asked to keep the pace down, which was no problem and I lopped off a mile of my original route. Although we had been riding on white frost it wasn’t until Beggar Hill we found our first real ice where water had run across the road. A text from Martin saying he was trying to reserve a table at the pub hastened our progress. John B had also made it to the Viper. As we vacated our table a Southend Forty Plus rider and his friends grabbed it, such was the demand!
On Beggar Hill Diana had picked up a slow puncture so the first thing on getting outside was to fix it. Dave S didn’t shy away from getting his hands dirty!
An afternoon tea stop was never a serious consideration and after a couple of miles we all headed home in various directions.