A not quite dozen of us congregated at the other place in the gloom and mizzle. A few regulars had absented themselves, apparently on the grounds that they were preparing themselves for the evening hill climb. I can fully appreciate that a three minute effort later in the day might require a whole day’s rest to really do it justice. Looking around, there was clearly considerable disparity in individuals’ assessment of the weather we were likely to encounter, judging by the attire that had been selected – this ranged from full wet weather kit to normal summer kit and everything in between. As it turned out, the one bit of kit we could have done with later in the ride was radar, as visibility reduced to less than 100 metres down on the coast, but more of that later. Our numbers were swelled by the presence of Ray, Alex and Claudia on holiday from London. Although Alex was concerned that she might slow us down because she didn’t like the “shiny, black slippery stuff” (what’s Teflon got to do with this? – ed), her concerns were totally unfounded as Andrew was quite capable of moderating the pace himself, riding as he was with two enormous panniers filled with towels (??) as training for his trip to France next week. Besides, Claudia managed to show us all a clean pair of heels (metaphorically – it was actually quite muddy) on most of the hills.
Anyway, after a relatively brief period of prevarication, we plumped for Porthleven as a suitable destination, and off we went to Crane to collect Jan, fresh (are you sure? – ed) from her Ironman world champs in Nice at the weekend. A bit battered after being felled by a fellow rider in the bike ride, but still in good spirits. A fairly uneventful ride saw us speed through Porkellis, along the closed road (the signs were actually out of date, so it was OK) then on to Nancegollan. Unusually, the route was largely undisputed, apart from a group wanting to turn right before Carnkie and head north, which would be an odd way of getting to the south coast. On we laboured to Godolphin Cross, up the hill we ground (grinded?), then down to the main road at Ashton. Straight across (well, left then immediately right) to take the fast cliff-top road to Porthleven, always a favourite because (a) it’s fast, and (b) it has lovely views of the sea and the coast. We got the first but not the second as what can only be described as fog brought a chill to those foolish enough not to have donned arm warmers or long sleeved jackets. The upside was that the fast nature of the road meant that it was not long before we descended to the harbour side in Porthleven and the welcome sight of the Harbour View cafe. We took over almost the whole of the back room, where we steamed away happily and enjoyed our breakfasts/cakes/coffee etc, the experience enhanced for those so disposed by the provision of marmite sauce in a squeegy bottle (obviously, not for those who had taken the cake option).
Resisting the tempatation for a second coffee (well, most of us did), we set off round the harbour for home. In a deviation from recently created precedent, we by-passed the ice cream stall en-route to braving the pavé and tackling the climb to shake out our cafe legs. We continued through Penrose with little in the way of the usual encounters with dogs, children or horses – we probably have the weather and the end of the school holidays to thank for that. Resisting (that’s a lot of resisting going on there – ed) another coffee stop at the boating lake cafe, we rode through Helston and down muddy lane to wend our way to Wendron (see what I did there?) and on to the main road for a short team time trial before turning off at the lay by and round the back to Hernis. Having said farewell to Jan on the way, we lost further riders here, the remainder heading down the usual route through Halvasso. At the Halvasso turn there was a moment of confusion before we realised that there was no Fred to say goodbye to, so we all took a left turn and headed for home.
A pleasant enough ride considering the weather, with the added bonus that the humidity meant we were treated to a veritable symphony of brake squeaks. 65km for me.
[Photo courtesy of PhilS]