We should have known when there were several punctures before we even left Woodhatch Park that the flat gods had decided to show us their wrath today. And the wind gods. But thankfully, the fun gods came to our rescue to make it a long but fabulous G2 to Tulleys.
You think I exaggerate about the pre-departure punctures? Well Jo D turned up at 9.30am thinking that was still the timing for Saturday rides (note to all, we're back to 9am now!) and it was still 10mins before we departed.
John Mc was leading and lead us out to Leigh and down to Charlwood before cutting back to Lambs Green to join the time-honoured Tulley's route.
There were some 17 of us along for this one. Great to welcome Michelle out for her first RCC ride - a top prospect for the club Tri section she won the East Grinstead super sprint event last year and was super strong all day. Also, Robert S and Stuart M both riding strongly. At the end I asked Stuart if he was a member and he confessed he was renewing after some time. How long? I asked. "Well", he recalled, "I think I was last a member in 1959-60". That deserves a Nelson's Column-sized exclamation mark on its own.
Marmite Pete lead various assorted fast groups off for jaunts up the road to wait at junctions. And Mark on his MTB stuck with the quick bunches throughout the ride.... a testament to the amount of power RCC MTB'ers are capable of!
After the short kick up after Hammerponds, the puncture gods struck with a vengeance. By the time we got to Slaugham we were on for a new club record - the worst ratio of time elapsed to distance travelled. See the pictures for the moment when the bunch was dropped by a horse.
After the drag up Brantridge Lane, there was another split with Pete leading a charge to Tulley's - Richard and David both enjoying a good thrash along for four or five miles.
At Tulley's, several folk decided to head straight back while others hugged their tea for warmth. The final furlongs were nice and brisk. New slimline Richard Bacon took to the front early on showing a clean pair of heels.
Trusting everyone else got home safely. Despite all the odds, a really great ride with lovely company. Thanks John, thanks Pete, thanks all.