I can't remember the last time I actually started a ride needing to wear a coat? This changed on Saturday. As I drove into the busy pub car park I couldn't see the usual suspects messing about on bikes. For a moment I thought I was going to be the only one that had turned up due to the wet weather but at the last minute the vans and cars rolled in. In the end eight of us set off towards the woods.
Before we got to the woods we could see our usual cheeky route into them was blocked off by shooting party trailers. It's best to avoid conflict (especially when the other party is armed!) so we had to change our route and head a bit further by tarmac to get to a different set of woods.
Almost as soon as we got going proper in the woods Gaz punctured! I think he then set a new record for slowest repair ever? Obviously he didn't have a spare tube! He scrounged one off Doc but that turned out to have a slow puncture. Eventually the original slime tube appeared to have repaired itself and went back in. This all took so long that those of us standing around in the rain got bored of dishing out "words of encouragement" and started doing a little lap up a nearby trail and coming down a bank towards where the repair was being attempted!
After what seemed an age we got underway again with Mick and Baz taking us out bewteen Blidworth and Rainworth. Sure enough Gaz's tyre began going down again so we stopped for him to do some pumping. Just next to the spot we had stopped at Baz spotted a very short concrete skinny across a gulley. It had a bit of a hole emphasising the step onto it. Most folk weren't interested in an attempt but I had a go and it was quite straight forward. Doc was next to clean it and the peer pressure was now aimed at Baz.
He had a couple of refusals and so obviously the peer pressure was upped! I decided more was required and got the camera out. He got over the concrete but fell off the other side to the expected laughter.
Another attempt and he cleaned it.
Next up we did a few steepish rolls which were a bit slippy with the moisture and summer tyres combination before we headed back through Boundary Wood to another pumping stop for Gaz! We had now been out for an hour an 40 minutes and had hardly done any distance. The drizzle was still coming down and no-one objected when Baz suggested heading back over Pudding Back despite the possibility of it being a bit muddy.
The fields weren't too bad and we got back to the pub without further incident. My bike was in need of a proper wash for the first time in months. It might be time to admit the seasons have turned and dig out the mud tyres / portable washer etc etc?
A fairly poor ride by our usual standards but it was still nice to be out there and I felt better for it.