One Hell of a ride

OGIL ride, Wednesday 9th September 2020

By the time we got to the Other Place we were fourteen strong, which must be close to a record for an OGIL ride. Not only were we graced with the presence of Fred, possibly for the first time since lockdown started, but we also had John. John claimed to be an old school friend of Ian (I thought Ian didn’t have any friends), and was out with us for a second time in a week, making the most of his visit from Sussex.

We needed to decide on a destination with a cafe that could cope with such a large crowd descending on it. The Bluebell Nursery was firmly rejected (something to do with the quality of the coffee??), but the suggestion of the HELLs Mouth Kitchen was seized upon with uncharacteristic enthusiasm. Little did we know what we were letting ourselves in for.

Having organised ourselves into COVID-permitted groups, we set off in a generally north-westerly direction. As is usually the case, the groups dissolved and reformed on a frequent basis in a fairly random manner, depending on the terrain and who was chatting to whom at any particular time. Fred had been nominated as our leader for the day, and he carefully set out the route using the tried and tested method of playing Cornish Mornington Crescent. This worked fine whilst we were all within sight of each other, but the mizzle had thickened into a definite fog by the time we got to Nine Maidens. Lights were switched on and eyes narrowed as we peered into the gloom. Kath turned back as apparently she had more bodies to bury under her patio, and Sylvia also disappeared (let’s hope there’s an innocent explanation for that). We had to rely on memory to keep to the route, but even this failed for certain individuals who were not in earshot when the route was being declaimed. So it was that Jan and I followed Dean into Troon, whereupon it became apparent that nobody else was riding that way. We pushed on to Praze, where Dean established using his phone that the others were already ahead of us at CarnHELL Green. We decided to ride after them in hot pursuit, and rode HELL for leather although realistically we knew that we wouldn’t actually catch up with them until we reached the cafe.

When we got to the HELLs Mouth Kitchen there was plenty of outside seating for the whole group (or rather, all of the groups), as nobody else was daft enough to sit out in the mist and wind. We were all getting a little chilled (literally) by the time the food eventually arrived, and we were in no mood for a second coffee after that so saddled up to leave. Somebody wisely decided that the ride along the North Cliffs might be ‘a bit exposed’, so we thought ‘to HELL with that’ and headed inland to Coombe and then Pool. Along the cycle path skirting Carn Brea, down to Four Lanes and then to Penhalvean. It was here that Fred made the shocking suggestion of turning left rather than taking our customary route through Stithians or past the lake, but this turned out to be a pleasant enough ride (apart from that horrible hill with the nice trees), and we fetched up at Longdowns in good spirits. The usual route back through Halvasso brought us home, albeit in a number of straggly groups.

A jaunty 75 km for me.

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