Iain D, our Chairman, led this ride and writes:
By 9.30 a.m. on Sunday, a group of eight cyclists had assembled by Moulton Co-Op. I say “by 9.30” as everyone had turned out early. Whether that was down to the allure of a day’s ride in unseasonably warm temperatures or just due to the strong wind blowing up from town, I don’t know.
We had that wind at our backs as we headed away from Moulton towards Sywell, through Earls Barton and down over the Hardwater crossing of the Nene. The road from Wollaston to Irchester provided a bit of a challenge for the lighter riders as we’d shifted round so that the wind was now coming from the side. In gusts. Straight lines were not the order of the day.
But we survived and Geoff, temporarily taking the lead, guided us through Higham Ferrers and out along the newly-surfaced Greenway over the Nene. We paused to ponder Irthlingborough’s lantern church, so far inland, and that, plus the wind and the marshy nature of the flood plain, did prompt one rider to comment on the “coastal” nature of the ride. We have it all here in Northamptonshire, folks!
The climb away from Irthlingborough was painless, the wind having reverted to being our friend, and we made very good time to Woodford Mill for brunch. The Nene was running a bit high and throwing the odd bit of spray our way but it was still pleasant to be sitting out in the garden in the February sun. And the jacket potatoes were excellent.
Now, with ineluctable logic, s/he who rides with the wind must also ride against it at some point and so we left the lee of Woodford Mill, turned our collective face to the wind and set off back to Moulton, heading first past Cranford and then over the A14 to the sheltering urban landscape of Burton Latimer. From there to Holcot was pretty much unsheltered plain old-fashioned hard work I’m afraid. In fact, by the time we got to Orlingbury we had split into two groups as we took turns trying to hide behind each other. Still, we weren’t riding against the clock: we were on a Sunday Club ride, not a Saturday Brisk, and we had plenty of time in hand after our rapid earlier progress.
I’m pleased to say that we all made it back to Moulton – apart from Geoff who’d turned for home, as planned, at Burton Latimer – and in reasonable time too. Wind aside, the weather had been kind – warm, dry and bright for February.
Thanks to Brian for doing a sterling job as TEC in testing conditions!