BDOVELO - Ride of the falling leaves
The final (non virtual that is!) ride of the BDOVELO season saw those who were prepared to brave or disregard the weather forecast and with a penchant for sub aqua, enjoy a 30 mile jaunt around the Surrey Hills on Thursday 21 October. Starting at the Royal Horticultural Society Wisley on what turned out to be a bright, breezy and fresh afternoon, prompting a good degree of debate on appropriate 'layering', we were blessed with the sun warming the bones and the hedges protecting us from the prevailing Northerly winds.
For those who had not previously seen it, the chocolate box village of Shere was a treat acting as something of a reward following the first climb of the day, Staples Lane. There then followed some great riding through some of the picturesque and quintessential villages of the Surrey Hills, although serious concentration was required to navigate the detritus that had been washed onto the roads overnight. Somehow the roads of Surrey were even more of an assault course than usual.
Somewhat counter-intuitively, we were greeted by the first 'temporary duckpond' on the summit of the North Downs ridge; the result of the previous night's downpour flooding the road and prompting some two wheeled wading to get through; feet and shins wet from there on! Some impromptu gravel bike friendly lanes and more temporary duckponds followed, all skilfully negotiated, before being greeted by the sight of a taxi floating in one of them dictated a small section of cyclocross up and over the adjoining field; discretion over valour and the right decision made on the day at least by us, if not the taxi driver!
A well-deserved cruise back into RHS Wisley followed, with the wind at our backs. The cake and a warming coffee was favoured over the pub pie and pint option, despite the temptations of The Anchor pub no more than a mile from the finish. In the end, a great ride in the opinion of all present and with unexpected thrills thrown up by mother nature, a fitting way to close a challenging season!
And so we look forward to the end of season finale on 24 November at the Pinarello store on Regents Street. A fantastic opportunity for the BDOVELO community to mingle, share some quality time together in a fantastic location and be regaled by Ned Boulting, sports journalist and TV presenter - see you there!