Ride Report – Dengie Peninsula – 9th January 2016
A solid group of ColVelion’s arrived at the meet point for the first sizeable club ride following the Christmas break. For those that completed the the festive 500, an opportunity to continue winter gains, and for those that didn’t, it was the time to reignite rested legs.
The Dengie Peninsula has become a mythical talking point amongst the ColVelo Collective. A sadistic bunch rode the Peninsula in October. Such was the grandeur of terrain, natural beauty and testing conditions, the need to go back once more and ride the barren costal farms lands was a must.
The Dengie is as tough as it gets in these parts, a little spike of land bordered by River Crouch, The Blackwater Estuary and the North Sea. A fully embracing 60km section with no break from the elements. If the generic weather forecast gives you an average wind reading, multiply it by four as you hit these parts.The Peninsula was the focal point, but to get there was 35km of riding, leaving Colchester and heading south towards Maldon, Essex. Knowing what was coming, a coffee stop in Maldon was essential.
All fuelled up, we set off in good spirits. The sun broke and the pace was high, we had 10 km to ride before the most exposed sections of the Dengie. There are no sign posts to say beware of wind, you are just hit by a sledgehammer of coastal echelons that drive in from the North Sea. The odd wind turbine is the give away. No Infrastructure or head rows for protection, sprawling lands with no let up. The general chatter amongst the collective ceases, one by one we all drop from the top of the bars to the drops, mouths open and head slightly of centre. The riding is hard, harder than remembered and we ploughed on through knowing that the next 25km is without a meter of free wheeling.
Without exception we are all fatigued from our efforts, energy reserves have taken a hammering and the legs full of lactate. We head off the peninsula and and the cycling gods turn the sky black, as if to say, “we gave you sun for the hard bit, I cannot hold the rain any longer”. In heavy rain we head once more to Maldon for a second and final coffee stop, this one vital not in preparation for what’s comings, but in order to give us enough just to get home.
Energy depleted, wet, cold and generally low in spirit, ColVelo comes into its own in tough circumstance. Dark humour and asking the most basic of questions, “why” keep you going. Churlish laughter and knowing you are all in it together get you through those final kilometres. As we all roll back into Colchester and go our separate ways, a 125km route is complete. With the majority of us having covered in excess of 140km including riding to and from meet points, a tough day in the saddle is done.
When reflected upon after a warm shower and a comforting cup of tea, I wish to be riding this route again. Hard riding and stunning terrain does that to you. A wonderful day, spend with a likeminded bunch of dark humoured cycling buddies.