Monday, 20 January 2014

Fast one to Tatsfield Bus Stop...and back (14.8 miles)

From left: Phil, Matt and Andy, B269, Sunday 19th January 2014.
It was a mildly confusing start to the day. I'd had an enjoyable night's sleep and it was one of those moments, at 0600hrs, when the alarm went off and I hesitated in bed, teetering on the brink of sleep, but conscious that I needed to be awake. I started to hope for rain, but was too sleepy to get out of bed and see what was going on outside. When I did get up and peer out of the window I was elated to discover mirror-like driveways and yes, it was raining.

With sleep in my eyes I noisily typed out abort messages to Andy and Phil, making a bold statement that it was raining, and then jumped back into the warmth of the bed. But something was bugging me. Was it raining or was it me? The phone made a noise: it was Phil. "I think the rain is due to stop and it's supposed to be a nice morning. Shall we confirm what we're going to do at 7.15 - or would you prefer to stick to the abort?"

Well, I was now awake, which was good, and feeling that I might have made a snap judgement about the rain. I texted back. "Just what I was thinking. Let's reinstate unless it starts again. Will send another text before it's time to leave," I said, and later received a determined text from Phil. "Hi, Matt. I'm going. Cheers. Phil."

Now fully awake and looking forward to a ride having looked outside and found dry driveways and roads and no sign of rain, I texted back: "Me too, see you outside."

Andy was going too and soon Phil and I were riding up Church Way towards the Green. We passed through Sanderstead Gruffy, past the lake where, last week, I'd seen an enormous rat scuttle into the water. I refered to the rat as a water rat, but when I relayed the story to Phil he said it was a rat and that a rat was a rat. He had a point. And there was me getting all Wind & the Willows.

We've got into a bad habit: that of late starts. We're meeting at 0800hrs and not 0730hrs and this could only mean one thing: shorter rides. Late starts mean shorter rides as everybody has things to do at the weekend and the idea behind our morning rides is simple: get out there early, get a ride in and be home in time for breakfast. Well, not so far in 2014. We've got into bad ways, thanks to the festive season, and now we're quite content to meet on the Green at 8am. It's not a big problem, but we ought to consider earlier starts again, although, if I'm honest, I rather like the later start as it gives me more time to get up and acclimatise myself to an early morning ride. For the time being, it's fine, certainly while the bad weather's in town. And who knows how much of that there's going to be; whatever happened to the promised consignment of snow from America?

We headed out along the B269 towards Botley Hill and then down Clarks Lane to the Tatsfield Bus Stop. Phil had made sausage sandwiches, but I declined as I am trying to lose weight. I made do with one of Andy's cereal bars, which was fine.

While at the bus stop, along came 'Dawes Galaxy', as we call him. He wasn't riding his Galaxy – that's his summer bike. He was on his Dawes Vantage, a sensible bike with mudguards and block brakes. Nothing like my totally impractical Kona Scrap with its faulty bottom bracket and its faulty front brake.

The ride was fairly subdued. We sipped tea. Phil and Andy tucked in to their sausage sandwiches. I munched on my cereal bar and then along came Dawes Galaxy. He rode back with us to where we part company with Andy. The usual team photo hadn't been taken so we took one before saying goodbye to Andy.

Phil and I rode on, past Sainsbury's, through Warlingham Green, through Hamsey and on to the Sanderstead Gruffy before riding down Church Way, left into Morley Road, right on to Elmfield Way, right into Ellenbridge, right into Barnfield and home.

The weather was surprisingly mild for this time of year and while it had been raining through the night and there were a few puddles, it had stopped as we headed out and it was a clear day for entire ride.

I remarked to Phil that I was glad we didn't go through with the abort. He was glad too and I'm sure Andy was too. Andy, incidentally, deserves praise from the Respect is Due Committee. On Saturday, after my announcement that I couldn't make it (see previous post) he went out and rode up White Lane – a major achievement as it's probably the worse hill in the area, but he made it.

We're all game on for next week.

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