Thursday 3rd

This was already quite a damp one as the little hand hit 7 and the big one approached 12. However, there they were, huddled inside the Midaircrisis Trolley Park; Justin (who seems to lurv the wet ones), Dan (hardened now he’s a CX regular), Grant (just hard), the long-absent Adam H (just missing us) and little old me (soft as…). After waiting around until close on 7:10 pm in case Fiona was running late as normal we decided she wasn’t coming after all and headed straight for the relative comfort of the trees in the Rising Sun.

We’d done little more than reach the high point a few minutes later when we noticed Dan’s absence from the tail of the group. I scuttled back down to the main drag and re-circled the maze but there was no sign. However, as I got within earshot of the others again it seemed Fiona had indeed been running a little later than normal and had somehow caught Dan but then suffered a puncture! Lots of speculation ensued about whether she’d punctured at home and dragged the thing out to be mended by a fawning male member. Better make that colleague.

At least that gave me a chance to dispose of one of those heavy CO2 cartridges and sample the very tricky tree roots the hill had to offer. It also caused me to predict I would suffer a fall tonight, and so it panned.

We set about a few zig-zags to stay out of the wind which worked a treat, and we even managed to hit a few new dead ends in the woods I should know well enough by now but don’t. After covering a decent few kilometres it was time to brave the breeze and seek pastures new. We swapped the greenery for the sleepy streets of Battle Hill and cruised down to the waggonway before heading over to Silverlink and up the hill behind Currys. The grassy slope was quite firm at the top but the lower reaches warned of things to come as we dropped back down the little offshoot before heading straight through the Trading Estate to Howdon.

Still no “real” rain to speak of as we dived onto the skinny ribbon of what had now become glorious mud and some deep joined-up puddles alongside the old railway line making it harder work than usual so we decided to rest under the bridge before continuing along the dual carriageway above it into Royal Quays.

Amongst other less savoury discussions going on during our bait stop (and thanks for the treats Dan, very tasty) we were wondering what the amber warnings on the news were all about. However, just as we left the haven of our gorgeously-graffiti'd shelter the heavens opened and let us know. The rain continued but still not heavily enough to force the restoration of my waterproof jacket, as once again I’d left home wearing far too many layers, this being another surprisingly mild evening in spite of the carnage caused by wind and flood all over the UK.

A relatively quick tour of the Quays, all on tarmac, saw us head out through the Parks recreation ground and into Howdon via Meadowell where we turned towards Norham Road and got onto the waggonway at the bus depot. It was about here that the raindrops left their childhood behind to become rather large teenagers, and Dan turned for home by road. As we motored up towards Silverlink once more they did indeed reach adulthood, forcing the jacket to be donned again as we met the tree line. Adam turned for home on Silver Fox Way.

That made the final mile a very wet one as we stayed on firm ground through West Allotment and back to the start. Grant was the only one to do full circle as he’d parked his car at ASDA. Fiona sped homeward at the Wheatsheaf while I insisted on taking Justin home in the van, so wet was the night. Early finish though!

Qouth the Village idiot "It never rains on Thursday nights".

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Next Sunday Ride (plus other odd days) - See our Facebook page.

Next Night Ride: Thursday as usual.

Thursday nighters are 10-25 milers, 7:00pm start at ASDA East car park, Benton, 3-3.5 hours and generally OK for fit new riders but you need decent lights you can see with, NOT CANDLES. You MUST wear a cycle helmet.

Sundays are generally much longer, 8:00am to 10:00am starts from ride venue ending around teatime, and much harder rides.

Other ad-hoc rides are always being organised, see our Facebook page. Gloves, waterproof coat, snack and drink recommended. Carry basic tools.

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The bigger the group, the louder the laughs!

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