There was a good turnout at Brookside on a cold and clammy November morning, with eight riders plus our leader Tom. We made pretty good time to coffee, reaching Waresley around 10:45, where we met several more riders who had come directly. It was a good day for sitting in warm cafés drinking coffee and watching the clouds scud past outside. But time drew on and eventually when we made our move Tom and I found that we were the only riders going on to lunch—the other eleven were planning to head straight back to Cambridge.
We look the beautiful road over Lily Hill, and as we passed the turning to Abbotsley, we started to pass runners, joggers (and some walkers). These were the tail enders in a half marathon organized by the Riverside Runners of St Neots, which had an amazing turnout of 855 runners! As we headed northwest towards St Neots, the runners got more numerous (and faster), with marshals encouraging them along their way.
In St Neots we bid farewell to the runners, crossed the River Great Ouse, and headed up the B645 towards Great Staughton. My map of this area is showing its age: it still labels this road as the “A45”, which hasn’t been the case since 1994. From Great Staughton we took quiet lanes up to the Harbour View Restaurant at West Perry, where we met Adrian and Vic, who had come direct.
We left Grafham Water at about 13:40, and made quick progress, pushed along towards Buckden and Offord Cluny by the north-westerly wind. We found ourselves in Hemingford Abbots at about 14:45, rather early for tea, and it seemed a shame to spend the time waiting in the café when we could be cycling, so we stopped to figure out if there was a short loop we could do. As we peered at the map, a couple of joggers came past. “Just go straight home,” they advised. But we were made of sterner stuff, and took a short loop to Conington and back.
The River Tea Rooms in St Ives serve excellent tea and cake (though fairly pricy: I paid £4.25). We explained to the proprietor that we had been out all day. “Do you really enjoy it?” she asked. “No,” I replied, “It’s a punishment for sins committed in past lives.”
The afternoon ride arrived after 15 minutes, delayed by a p*nct*re, and then we headed back along the guided busway as darkness, and a light rain, descended. A short ride today, just 65 miles.