Why are rides completed in horrendous weather always more epic?
It wasn't too bad really. We started and finished in dry weather. Just the hours in between were a bit wet. It had also stopped raining as we left the halfway spot at the cabin, so that lifted the spirits. But I must quote something posted by mistral on CycleChat: "I had to drive a relative home last night, the rain was heavy the roads awash and visibility difficult, it was only then that I realised just how insane we had been on Friday". That is exactly how I felt when Sarah and I drove back to London on Saturday evening. When we came across a horrible accident on the M25, it wasn't funny anymore.
What an impressive group of riders, though. Simon gave a bail out option at some point (it was a night of many firsts!), explaining that Gatwick was only a couple of miles away for a train back to London ... nobody answered. How brilliant! And the group was quite diverse, from experienced long distance riders to people who've never cycled more than 40 miles (the forum quotes 7 miles - is that really true?).
Hats of to "The Cabin Cafe" establishment in Faygate. It has a reputation as a good truckers' stop and voted by The Times as "the purveyors of one of the best bacon butties in England". Its quite true. How often do you need a steak knife to cut a bacon buttie. That is not because its tough, but because its so big. At first I didn't understand why chef kept shouting and pointing to one of the tables: "Knifes are in the middle". And what a mess we made! The floor resembled that of the showers after a rugby game.
The other thing that was a first was Simon getting a puncture! What an impressive puncture with the sound of a fire cracker being set off, I could see a cartoon animation going on in front of my eyes. I failed to find an image to illustrate what I mean, but found this little gem: Clicky (then click on the i to view in large screen).
The route was new too. And I enjoyed it very much. The highlight was Tunnel Road in Reigate.
We were able to shelter from the rain for a bit, and it was a good spot for keeks to repair his puncture. There is a whole load of history behind these vaults, wouldn't mind visiting one day: Clicky.
And all of the Faccombe Five were there! And Hummers. That made for excellent closure to the cycling season. Shame for them, that it was one of the worst FNRttC, weather wise. Still, think of BCM 2009 and everything is relative.
I'm getting a bit of hassle from Sarah right now ("We have nothing of a Friday evening because you're messing with your bike, you're out cycling all night, sleep all Saturday (oh not true!) and blog all Sunday (oh, not true either!) ... it's stopped raining now, you should be out doing things"). Cycling maybe? Ouch! So better tell her I've finished, and then I'll sneak some more words in later on. Cheerio for now.
... I'm back.
On Saturday, I was very tired and felt like I had done a 300km audax. Maybe that's the bike. I used my racer again, first time since March. It is a lovely bike to ride, but I always feel like I've played a game of rugby with aching muscles and my shoulders and neck very stiff.
I did not envy urban_biker, LEE and Chillmoister cycling home against the wind. I only had to cycle to Seven Dials (seeing Hummers on the way) and was glad to be able to enter a warm house, had a shower, a coffee and a snooze. As I woke up, a lovely lunch was laid on. I was thinking of the guys cycling home, hoping they would see sense (which they did), and was also thinking how otherwise I would be sitting on the train with soaking wet feet.
Thanks to Simon, who is the generator of the FNRttC magic. Thanks to the TECs and all the riders for contributing to the magic.
Some other thoughts:
- the Christmas lights on Sloane Square, very impressive, almost an art installation
- me not getting a puncture on a FNRttC!!!
- the mince pies, hip flask, cakes, hot chocolate etc being shared
- looking forward to seeing photos taken by the others:
by LEE: Clicky
by Mista Preston: Clicky