The hills are alive…

Sunday ride 30th August 2020        

The Sunday Long Ride group on WhatsApp had already agreed to Ian’s suggestion of Wheal Coates via a zigzag route – “the right roads but not necessarily in the right order”. I’m not sure exactly what happened, but all twelve of us that congregated at HQ just followed the Pied Piper of Penryn when he set off, including us slouches as well as the fast brigade. We probably did so just out of habit, but luckily Ian responded charitably by adjusting his speed to suit. Nevertheless, we did get strung out a few times on the hills, leading to a suggestion that it might work better if someone near the front stopped at junctions to ensure any stragglers knew which way to go. This worked well when people remembered they had to do it, and to my knowledge nobody got lost.

Did I mention hills? There were plenty of those (I managed over 5,000 feet of ascent), but I hesitate to suggest that Ian planned this deliberately. The fact that he was out on his bike with gears did make one a little suspicious though. As we danced on the pedals up the many hills, we were treated to a marvellous musical accompaniment. My saddle responded to any bumps in the road by emitting a pretty good imitation of a duck (although others made more unsavoury suggestions), whilst any reduction in speed signalled Phil(1)’s brakes to emit a sound not unlike one would imagine a cat might make were it to be plunged into scalding water. Phil was adamant that he had cleaned his brakes carefully the day before, but we still thought he should provide his fellow clubmates with complimentary ear plugs next time.

As we meandered towards St Agnes, some concern was expressed when we kept arriving at junctions and apparently turned away from our destination. In fact, we lost count of the number of times we passed signposts that pointed to St Agnes 3 miles. Despite this, we did eventually reach our destination, a little later than the normal time of 11am (although this is only an OGIL rule, we were reminded, and this was a Sunday club ride). The Wheal Coates cafe provided us with the required beverages and food, somewhere to sit outside and a working toilet, so we were quite happy.

The return ride home continued the theme of why go direct when there is an interesting loop we can follow (including another hill)? But like lemmings we followed the leader without question (sorry about the mixed metaphors here), although a few did assert their independence and carried straight on when everyone else turned off on yet another detour. In fact, we gradually lost riders as they decided to take a shorter route or perhaps simply discovered they had to be somewhere else. The last big split occurred at Hangman’s Hill, where the ‘fast boys’ carried straight on for some liquid refreshment at the Lockdown Inn, which left just three of us to carry on to Penryn. I should mention that the proprietor of said Lockdown Inn had joined us briefly at the Star Inn just outside St Day, but soon deserted on the grounds that he was having an energy crisis that needed a cream tea to alleviate. Fair enough.

The three musketeers carried on to Falmouth, fetching up at the Prince of Wales pier hoping to see the Great Tour, as advised by Clive, arrive or depart. There being no sign of anything happening, we were advised by the traffic marshals that the riders were at Pendennis Point and would shortly be coming the wrong way along Arwenack Street and Church Street. They couldn’t say how long this would take as neither of their walkie talkies was working. We decided we couldn’t wait and headed up Killigrew Street. Phil carried on home whilst Danny and I made our way to Pendennis Point. No sign of them there either, so we concluded that they must have taken a different route, and decided to pull stumps (well done Eoin!) and make our way home.

A good ride in lovely weather – who knew St Agnes Beacon was so far away? No casualties apart from a suspected insect sting for Sylvia.  89 km for me (including Pendennis Point)

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