What a relief it was a Guildford start. De-icing the chickens’ drinker and getting all those extra layers on meant that even an 8:30 depart to get to the start was a bit of a challenge. And you might not have noticed it but there was a huge amount of tectonic activity during the night. The distance between West Horsley and Guildford had grown by, well, miles and seemingly more than when than when the wind is a howling south westerly to be battled against. Though I can report that by the time of the return leg at the end of the day the tectonic plates had returned to their normal position.
However I did make it to Guildford Station on the dot of nine and was the first to arrive. And it was freezing. Even the guys manning the barriers took pity on me. Eventually Peter arrived and disappeared inside – no doubt to keep warm; Chris and finally Clive made it. “Was there ice on the way in?” “Yes.” “OK we will go a different route.” Whatever, the only thing on my mind was the piping hot soup I was going to have when we made the lunch stop – well the stop after coffee which is long after most people have lunch – at Hector’s Boathouse. So no Leith Hill or alternative climb to warm me up. Instead a gently rolling route via Cranleigh, Ewhurst and Rowhook.
As it does my mind started wandering. Now I had read and re-checked the rides list a couple of times and it had sort of registered that we were going to Horsham, but I started thinking about which cake I was going to have at Tanners Farm, Newdigate and suddenly realised that we weren’t going there. This was quite a shock – the cakes are better at Tanners Farm. And Clive wants routes for the next quarter. Easy…Cake to Cake please Clive, with the 2nd stop – I just can’t call it the lunch stop when Peter is leading it so perhaps let’s call the early tea stop instead – within striking distance of Guildford or Godalming; 50 miles to home is just too far when it gets dark at the time of the early tea stop.
And where were the bright blue skies and winter sunshine? They appeared briefly just as we were coming into Horsham but it was only a brief appearance. We arrived early at Horsham – just a few moments after Don. With my chair strategically placed over the warm air vent and a hot cup of tea the bits which needed thawing thawed out. Only to refreeze the instant we stepped outside.
Leaving Horsham early we looped South and North and East and West and possibly a few other directions as well. Somewhere we passed lots of cars and cyclists coming from, going to, warming up on rollers for an event – can’t remember where it was – relevant bits of the brain had shut down. At the turning just before Dunsfold we were given the choice, left or right. I chose left as we had done the Dunsfold route a gazillion times this year – sorry Chris – I needed a change, so we did Vann Lane backwards (Enal Nnav?). Alright South to North. I don’t think I have ever done it that way and it always surprises me how different a road is depending on which way you go along it.
We made Hector’s at 2pm – early tea time? Twoses? (Always had elevenses with my Grandma). And he was in a good mood and the soup was piping hot and brilliant – Thank you. I unfroze.
Godalming to Guildford was taken at great pace. “You didn’t hang around did you?” said Peter. “No, but I have warmed up,” was my reply. We parted company and with a full panoply of surveying tools I checked the precise location of the tectonic plates.
For the record, no punctures, a temperature range of -0.5 to 5 degrees Celsius and a new name – FADERS – Frozen All Day Endurance Riders