With Velo! Cycling & Coffee back open following a coffee machine service, the ColVelo Collective congregated at 08:00 hours on a wet and mucky Saturday morning. Due to the inclement weather and a scheduled 160 km ride, numbers were less than previous weeks. Last minute, the brave attendees decided that 125 km would be more than enough and the route was very slightly amended to ensure we made it back before Velo! Shut for the afternoon. Fuelled up, we set off on an adventure heading towards the gateway to the Suffolk countryside, Dedham.
The roads were wet with a fine drizzle, but deserted of traffic. The small group got moving at a swift pace, mainly in order to keep the bodies warm. Due to the change in route, our decision for a coffee stop was made during the ride. Although only 50km in, we decided for the second week running, the picturesque village of Lavenham would be a suitable for a refuel and a warm up.
Caffeine levels topped up, we set off once more continuing north travelling through Cockfield. Riding through quiet country lanes, with stunning views on all sides. At one moment, it felt as though we were part of a Country Life set. Fields surrounding the lanes on which we rode, with country gents, gun dogs and pheasants being placed in 4×4’s either side of us. Some fabulous scenery of which we are lucky to have in touching distance.
As we rode into our loop, we took in the rural villages of Brettenham and Ringshall, before eventually arriving in the more familiar market town of Hadleigh. With only a comfort stop to be had, the group was feeling a touch damp and low in energy. It was mutually decided, although never discussed, to put the hammer down and complete the final 40km in sharp time. With only the thoughts of a hot coffee and black pudding sausage roll awaiting at Velo as our motivation. The mind of a cyclist is comforted by the most simple pleasures!
Arriving at Velo, wet faced and freckled with mud, there was a sense of achievement for a small group who rode some solid autumn/winter miles. Another superb route, stunning on the eye and some views that last in the memory. Thanks to all attendees and we look forward to next weekend. We wait with baited breath to see what mother nature will throw at us.
While Saturday was mucky and squally over a good distance, Sunday was flat out biblical, mostly flat out! Lashing wind and rain for all but a few of the 87km ride. Quick from the start, this is how the ride continued and finished. What the district of Tendring lacks in hills it makes up for in open fields upon which the North Sea winds can whistle through. Comparably, this is the reason many believe Holland produces some of the best climbers in world cycling. No steady 8% climbs, just steady force 8 gales in which to grind it out! In summary, Sunday was a Flandrian day ridden by some honorary Flandrians! The ColVelo Collective is working hard on carving a niche as local bad weather specialists. Today was another example of ignoring the weather warning, getting low and turning pedals. Chapeau lads. Pour yourself a well earned Westmalle Dubbel.