Once those of us fortunate enough to live close to the sea had gained enough height to emerge from the fog, it turned out to be a lovely sunny day. The forecast was for the sun to stay for the whole day, so that could only mean one thing – Poldhu, hurrah!
At the other place twelve of us congregated in excited anticipation of a nice warm ride on dry roads. But it was not to be. The road down to Gweek resembled a cyclo cross course thanks to Mr Farmer spreading a liberal coating of mud on the road. Together with the inevitable streams that seem to appear from nowhere, run across and down the road, and then disappear into nowhere, nobody’s bike stayed clean for long. As we paused by the bridge in Gweek, there were also grumbles about people riding without mudguards as mud splatter patterns were compared. Don’t they realise that this is a deliberate strategy to deter wheel sucking?
Our hopes were further dashed when we got to the top of Gweek Drive to discover that the temperature had dropped to 2C. Muddy and cold – could it be that summer was over? Obviously not, as several stubborn individuals still persisted with riding in shorts!
After taking the usual route through Trelowarren, we embarked on our usual dash across Goonhilly Downs. Even this created some discontent. At least one of the lines adopted a rather unconventional practice of a rider coming up from the rear, overtaking the line, and then carrying on at an accelerated pace. This resulted in gaps forming and riders being spat out of the back. Whatever happened to the tried and tested method of through and off, as practised by every TTT and team pursuit team? Perhaps we need some coaching at the Newport velodrome over the winter.
We arrived at Poldhu Beach Cafe and battled through the throngs of children getting kitted out at the surf school to place our orders and claim picnic benches in the sun. It being a significant birthday for Simon, he generously bought us all not one but two coffees. This meant a longer than usual stop and more visits to the loos than normal. We were also joined by Mike who had driven out to meet us, having been alerted of our destination on WhatsApp. Mike looked well and was in good spirits after his recent successful surgery. We all wish him well as he embarks on the next stage of his treatment.
We watched a double-decker bus tackle the climb out of the cove, with much whining and gasping. This ennobled us to do likewise, including the sound effects, and we made our way through Cury to Helston, thence the normal route back along Muddy (today, Dusty) Lane to Wendron, then Hidden Lane to Herniss and Halvasso. As we went through Halvasso, we swept past a youth pedalling along on a mountain bike with a truly impressive speed differential (well, you try riding with big knobblies and 800mm bars). He caught up with us a short time later while we were saying goodbye to Fred at the Halvasso turn, but we raced past him again at Traverva. Inevitably, he passed us again as we paused at the Argal crossroads to bid farewell to the Mawnan contingent, but we got him again later on Hillhead Road. As usual, we stopped at Union Corner for the usual goodbyes, and of course along came the mountain bike youth and went past us. Still, we caught him what must surely be the final time on Trescobeas Road, but no – we had to stop at the temporary traffic lights by the hospital (well most of us did apart from the hooligan element that insisted on riding on the pavement). And along came you know who. There is probably a moral for us in this episode. Perhaps if we just kept going a bit more rather than pausing every five minutes and having an extensive chat we might nudge our average speed up a bit. Not that average speed is everything, of course.
73 and a bit km for me.
Photo credit: Phil C (without permission)