A record turnout for the Draycote ride brought seven riders to the start of this ‘end of the decade’ outing. Eight actually rode it but we lost JohnW, a regular of this ride at Brington due to illness but soon picked up BrianT at Whilton for the rest of the ride.
The dip in the gated road at Norton was my only concern due to the build-up of gravel and mud during the recent wet weather but it took no casualties and we made our way to the second part of the gated road and the fast descent towards Welton.
Nearing Welton the group seemed to split, almost like a brisk/moderate on a Saturday morning and BrianT agreed that we should continue in two groups until we reached Draycote. RobH was riding well as was JamesC. Both in fine form despite the Christmas festivities.
James led us along the National Cycle Route cycle paths into Dunchurch and all that remained was the fast run in to Draycote Water on the Southam road.
A bustling venue greeted us, but we bagged a table without problems. Despite championing the excellent jam and cream scones beforehand, several of my group chose not to opt for them instead going for flapjacks or even sandwiches. To be fair Rob did have a scone after that too, so he’s excused!Several lattes later we were on our way again. The ride home is longer and harder from Draycote due to the extra mileage and hills, so a chilly wind didn’t help. The hint of sunshine didn’t raise the temperature either. Turning into the flatlands of Grandborough the group stayed together at a steady pace. Willoughby passed before a climb to the church at Braunston. Another climb at Bragborough Hall soon followed as did the one back up the gated road towards Norton.
Across the second part Rob encountered a puncture and at least four of us were involved in getting Rob roadworthy again. The tyre proving almost impossible to reseat. Rob resorted to using tyre levers to get it on and surprisingly suffered no further pinch punctures.
The sun was making things more pleasant at this point as it would do all the way back home. With enough hands to spare, BrianT made his way back to Whilton accompanied by PhilL leaving five to follow the original route home.
Towards Flore Rob encountered another mechanical. Nothing serious. Onwards!
At the back of Flore the last real climb up to the canal and weary legs starting to flag.
Further on a regroup at Bugbrooke caused ChrisD to topple over at the junction as he lost concentration. A bent mudguard the result. Much to Chris’s frustration. Both our bikes now making irritating noises.
With all the remaining riders being Hunsbury based we headed back there rather than the Sixfields start point. The undulating Rothersthorpe road proving to be the final test for our fatigued group.
Thanks to everyone who came out today.