Yesterday saw 15+ hardy souls gather in the wintery morning at Orchard Park ready to set out and explore the extremities of all 3 GDW time-trial course in one go. Obviously those who had come from a little further afield than Gillingham itself were somewhat cooled by the below zero temperatures and didn’t want to hang around too long before beginning.  So not much time was lost and on the stroke of 10 we set out.

A few riders stayed at Orchard Park for a while just in case any latecomers were to appear but it seems as if the appeal of a lovely warm Sunday morning in bed was just too great (can’t say as I blamed them).  Maria, however, was picked up cycling towards the start having forgotten something initially and she and John rode the course together.  I hope you finished and enjoyed it as I had to leave at 2PM so didn’t see you back into the warmth of the cafe at the finish!
Charlie was also there at the start but unfortunately the cold played havoc with his cycling style and he quite rightly decided discretion was the better part of valour and turned back at Stourhead.  Maybe we’ll try another ride in the warmer summer months.
By Stourhead the groups were quite evenly spaced with the majority of the riders all within sight of each other, no more than 500yards between them, however it seemed at this point that Charles’ idea of a Sunday morning race must have caught on in the leading group of ‘racing snakes’ as when they turned for Kilmington their pace increased and we only ever saw them again at the finish.  Did you make a good time gents or just a hard paced ride??
A few more riders ‘bailed’ on the back of the course, 1 passing the Upper Noble turn and Don Tanner at Buckhorn Weston; however Don’s requirement to keep family peace and return for a birthday celebration shows both determination for coming out in the cold and great mediation skills by ensuring he was back home just after lunch.  Don can also attest that trikes can get airborne as he followed my, literally, flying descent of Druly Hill!!
Not much was seen from the back of the ride except being picked up by those who had stayed at Orchard Park for latecomers, thank you Steve for pacing me along.  The ride through Stour Row got much quieter as we all anticipated the tea & cakes to come and despite numerous signs directing us towards Gillingham, we stuck to the planned route.  “Just round the next corner” & “nearly there” being often called, just like driving youngsters in a car really!?
Tea and pastries were gratefully accepted at the finish and it seemed that despite the cold weather the ride had been a great success given the smiling faces, or maybe that was because they were just frozen that way!
Anyway hope you all enjoyed it……..100 miler next anyone?