Sunday 28 May 2017

   In glorious sunshine, a huge crowd of bodies was milling around the entrance at Dikes Supermarket 10 minutes before the opening time of 10am.  Must be the bank holiday that brings them out shopping.  What on earth did we do when all shops were closed on Sundays?

   After the 14 of us waited in the long queue of the café itself, the shop manager – Adam Vincent – provided us with preferential treatment by waiting on our table himself. His loud voice and large presence saved us a long wait. He promised to wear a pinny next time.

   Getting outside at 10.30 and after the SOP – standard official photoshoot – we set off up Barrow Hill, through Stourton and Bishops Caundle, Leigh, Chetnole and Holywell – on the way we managed to rid ourselves of Jill, the 2 Rogers , Ron and Robin in various places for various reasons - Ron obviously had to watch the final stage of the Giro, nail biting stuff for those ex racing men in the club.

   Due to the brisk pace, we arrived at the Fox and Hounds at 12.20 – Richard Page, who had not ridden to a lunch stop since Adam was a lad, elected to munch his way through  packed sandwiches sitting on a church bench while the other 8 of us went into the bar, fighting to order our food in competition with the locals – guess who won!  It took the food  about 45 minutes to find our table – after we had already discussed in great detail the impending club holiday, the attainment of so called celebrity status, the merits or rather demerits of the film La La Land (is this the correct spelling), and Jackie’s  epic 1000 mile plus end to end ride.  WELL DONE Jackie.

    The various ciabatta lunches arrived after 45 minutes -  not quite a club record -  but it was well received and devoured!  When we finally exited the pub, we woke up Richard  and set off in a light drizzle on the hilly route homewards – waterproofs off and on for the next 15 miles. Reaching Cerne Abbas, I (we) decided to avoid the final tough climb and returned via Middlemarsh, Glanvilles Wootton then on to Holwell – here we came across many riders tackling the Wessex 3 day event.  These people had paid over £150 for the privilege of pedalling 325 miles, while it cost us nowt to enjoy ourselves on a friendly and highly entertaining club outing.

   Back in Stalbridge, we tarried awhile outside my driveway, discussing holiday travel arrangements in June. Ten seconds after we bid our farewells, the heavens opened. By that time I was safely inside my garage while the other poor souls must have sprouted water wings on the way to Gillingham and beyond  -  so sorry!
   Thanks to all the riders who made it today – Mary, Jackie, Martin, Paul N, Richard P, Mike A, Steve Way and Major David who volunteered as tail end Charlie.

   I only covered 42 miles but the rest did significantly more as they don’t live in Stalbridge.
   Looking forward to the club holiday after next weeks longer ride to Amesbury, being ably led by Steve Way.
Charlie Porter


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