OGILs go cyclocross

Wednesday 29th January 2020

A break in the weather, sun, temperatures above freezing – what wasn’t there to look forward to on our little OGIL jaunt to Porthleven? Eight of us at the other place, and sweeping up Jan at the quarry, we dutifully followed Ian as he led us down unknown and unexpected lanes along what should have been a tried and tested route. The roads were still wet from the previous days’ downpours, and the lanes got narrower and dirtier. After turning left at Porkellis we took another left instead of carrying straight on to the Poldark Mine, and found ourselves (or rather Ian found us) on a lane which was part tarmac, part gravel but mostly mud – lots of it. Mr Farmer had obviously been hard at work to migrate the contents of his fields onto the byways. Add in the odd stretch of what felt like 15% inclines and we were scrabbling for our lowest gears whilst remaining firmly in the saddle to gain traction. Of course, Ian simply powered up the hill on his single speed – he must have knees of steel.

Well spattered and with bikes caked in the brown stuff (mud, not …), we eventually gained more agreeable roads and arrived at Wendron, then Coverack Bridges and on to Nancegollan where we regained our ‘normal’ route to Porthleven, taking the left fork shortly afterwards to adopt the shorter option B via Breage, avoiding the drag up to Balwest. The swoop along the coast road into Porthleven was only briefly interrupted by vehicular traffic, but we didn’t mind – the sun was shining and it was warming up nicely.

We arrived at the Harbour View Cafe just as Paul was parking his bike, having been alerted to our destination by the magic that is WhatsApp. As is our wont, we all got stuck into our refreshments of choice in this most excellent of cafes. But all good things have to come to an end, and we set off to return home via the usual route – Penrose, Helston High Street, muddy lane, etc. Apart from encountering some pedestrians in Penrose who were adamant that cyclists did not have the right of way (who claimed they did?), and getting split up in Helston by some inexplicable traffic lights on the one-way section, we meandered home incident-free. We were obviously not going fast enough for some, though, who announced that they had to get back (who doesn’t?) and zoomed off ahead at Hernis, leaving just four of us to return through Halvasso. With two turning off home en route, it was just Dean the Elder and myself that returned to Union Corner.

A pleasant enough ride, even with the mud. About 69km for me.

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