I There's a bit of a nip in the air. The year is on the turn. Most events apart from hill climbs have closed down for the year. So high time the G3s took a trip to Tulley's.
Alas, I was hoping on pumpkins. They usually start nice and early but that will have to wait for a return for a few weeks. Instead, we set off as a diverse group. The diversity was thanks to Bruce leading the line for the first 10 miles on his fixie before peeling off after the Ifield Wood turn... but also in the knobbly and magnificent shape of Mark Edwards who was also attracted by the prospect of a Tulley's jaunt.
To clear up the mystery, around this time of year Mark often joins the G3s and effortless pumps out 40+ miles at 16mph average on a mountain bike with hedgehog tyres. It surprises plenty of roadies coming in the opposite direction as well as anyone who has never experienced his speed and endurance on such an incongruous steed. He confessed he too likes the Tulley's jaunt and those who know how to search the RCC website will find plenty of photos of him beating us all up the Tower Road, Brantridge Lane and Hammerpond ramps!
Lovely to also have the company of Kimbers still in smooth and silky form on the bike despite a recent back twinge. Plus David Beggs with legs fortified like me by the Flanders trip. Roger Hopkins whose blood pressure tablets (he confessed) had given him the unexpected benefit of an athletic boost via newly and magically enriched bloodcells: made sure he was as good up the hills as he always is on the flat. And finally, Phil Brown who joined the G3s for the first time and proved to be a sociable road man of great composure, fitness and etiquette on the bike.
We reached Tulleys with 50km already on the clock and sat outside to enjoy Malteser Cake, Cherry and Aardvark Flapjack and bacon rolls with coffee. Then just the shorthop back towards the Shire.
The overall pace was a bit Trades Descriptions-ish for a G3 at somewhere north of 26kph but with a group so well matched and beautifully disciplined on the road this was not a problem.
I had threatened to do another traditional Tulley's trick and lie in the lane on the hill that joins up to T junction with Grouse Road but would have failed to escape such a strong group in time to get my phone out of its sheath in time. We settled instead for a short snap while soaking up the quintessential English-ness of the village Slaugham.
Around 46 miles at an average of 25.6kph. Lovely lovely lovely!