Saturday 27th January 2018
This morning's weather forecast was for weather that would be most definitely moist. The ride coordinator had initially planned some meanderings around Samlesbury to include the joys of Abbott Brow, but the predicted dampness was sufficient to suggest that something closer to home would be appreciated. I arrived at the Cobbles, for once more than two minutes before kick-off, secretly hoping that nobody would be there and that I might be able to clear off home and take advantage instead of the drier weather predicted for the afternoon. Sadly, five others had turned up, although not Martin's water bottle. I was instructed to be kind to newcomer Mal. I thought I didn't need any instruction.
I suggested a dash to Roots. There was a persistent mizzle as we head through Nateby so, ignoring my revised plan to head through Eagland Hill, we continued along Skitham Lane. The breeze and moisture cooled my nose significantly. My buff warmed it a little. We turned towards Cartford and felt the full benefit of the breeze as it cooled us even further.
As we rode between St. Michael's and Myerscough, one helpful rider who shall remain anonymous but may be closely related to Keith suggested that he knew a more direct route to Roots. That's nice, I thought. The mizzle remained mild. David Hodgson described it as heavy rain.
At Inskip we turned towards Elswick. Apparently, there are more direct routes to Roots. That's nice, I thought. Roseacre's a lovely place. In Wharles I held my arm out to the right in a manner which ordinarily would suggest a turn to starboard. Confusingly, four-fifths of the B2s veered to port. I established that John was attempting a mutiny, cautioned him about the severe consequences of such an action, including a potential appearance in front of the Club Disciplinary Committee, and then suggested that perhaps we could settle our differences over processed pork products at a Catforth-based café. This appeared to placate the insurgents, although David Threlfall (who still hasn't progressed onto a bike with changeable gears, bless him) announced that he would rather stay warm by moving than by consuming coffee and left us.
A short loop brought us to the coffee stop. John beamed. To our great satisfaction, no other cyclists were causing queues, occupying bike racks or sapping the sausage supplies. Service was swift, coffee was rapidly refilled, barms scoffed. The "heavy rain" (mizzle, really, just mizzle) abated. We cheerily got into our cold kit and set off for the second leg, warming up with a little meander through the lanes west of Catforth but resisting my temptation to take in each of Bay Horse, Miller and Chapel Lanes for fear of being made to walk a plank as soon as John could find a suitable ship.
John soon decided he had had enough fun for one day and headed home to Great Eccleston. I found it somewhat reassuring that B2 attrition rates were beginning to get back to normal. Martin mentioned his pride in holding the record for starting with 11 and finishing with one. I wondered just how many riders I had managed to lose in a previous mutiny at Lancaster University.
The new road surface on Newsham Hall Lane was pronounced to be more than satisfactory and we were delighted to see that Lancashire County Council had left a souvenir of the old road surface just after we crossed the West Coast Main Line.
The air was now actually less wet than our clothes. We could feel our apparel beginning to dry out. Martin chose to celebrate this fact with some cycle-gymnastics— leaping onto the pavement with his head perpendicular to the walls of the nearby houses and then letting gravity do the rest. The judges awarded him a decisive Seven, suggesting that he could have scored higher had he held his arms aloft rather than wandering up and down the pavement in a dazed manner. Martin's bike was pronounced ok although our remaining David accompanied its rider to RPH for an MOT.
This left just me and Mal to complete the ride by looping through Goosnargh then up Langley Lane to Inglewhite where I was relieved to be able to announce, as Mal rocketed up every undulation, that I now only had the bottom four gears so would be a little slow and this had nothing to do with the extra mass I was carrying.
Mal turned off for home in Catterall. A strange glowing orb could be spotted peering through the clouds as I put my bike onto the roof of the car.
Martin is to our relief and satisfaction fine. The sole rider to complete the 64.6 km course averaged 22.3 km / h. For those still on old money that's 110.7 furlongs per hour.