|"Red sky in the morning: shepherd's..."|
How does that rhyme go again?
In my experience, group rides often start with a comparison of kit choice ("I see, so you decided on the extra base layer and the wooly hat. Interesting.") followed by a lambasting of the BBC Weather forecasting service who are then placed solely responsible for any cold fingers, toes etc. Rich and I were deeply engrossed in such a conversation as we headed along Albany Road, north of Burgess Park, not more than 5 minutes into our ride, when we noticed an Audi A3 coming towards us at something approaching 60mph. Now Albany Road isn't particularly wide, and a parked car on the right hand side meant that the Audi had moved into our lane while moving at this rate of knots. Something wasn't right, and the driver had clearly seen us at the last minute after pulling out so he proceeded to slam on the brakes while turning back in - probably due to his speed and the icy conditions, this didn't have the desired affect, and all four wheels of the car locked up as he drifted diagonally across the road in something that closely resembled that Aston-Martin-wrecking scene in Casino Royale. Fortunately, fate had dictated that Sunday was not to be our end-day, and we were far enough up the road that the car passed just behind us hitting a lamp-post that we had been next to only seconds before. All I remember thinking at the time is "S--t, that car's going to hit us" - hardly the most inspiring thought I have ever had, and I hope that come the day, I can do better than that! Looking back, the car was a total write-off, with bits of the engine strewn across the road and not-good-sounding noises coming from it. Strangely enough, when we turned round to help the stricken driver, we found him leaning back into the car through the window, removing the car stereo and rooting around for anything else he could find - either he wasn't very bothered about his car, or it wasn't his. Either way, he seemed fine and we were keen not to be involved any further, so we went our separate ways...
|One of many...|
|Rich gets to the top while having an |
invisible snowball fight
|Spot the Rapha - yep that's Paul|
|Up and up and up|
|The wetsuit look is in this season|
On to Box Hill, we joined the pilgrimage of weekend warriors making their way up the gentle hairpins of Zig Zag Road - making us ponder why the road builders didn't just go straight up the steep slopes of the hill, as they seem to do in pretty much every other lump in the country. I got an early jump on Rich for the summit, but he managed to claw back to my wheel and pip me on the line. A few quick coffees (thanks Paul) later (plus a bit of bike-porn-gazing) and we were on our way back towards the Smoke to battle through the traffic. Despite the huge number of people who had chosen this lovely brisk winters day to spend sat in the confines of their cars, we made reasonable progress on the way back, with Paul taking time out of his busy schedule to re-educate a taxi driver as to the error of his ways. A lot of what was said is un-printable, but one particularly choice exchange did result in Paul shouting at the top of his voice "Do you want to F--k me?" - probably one of the best rhetorical questions to throw back in the face of someone showing you aggression, nice one Mr B! Overall, a lovely Surrey ride with a few lumps thrown in for good measure
More technological issues recording this ride, as the Garmin decided to split out the ride to Esher, and the progress on the 'course' so producing two files. I'm also pretty sure my HRM slipped down to my stomach during the ride (I didn't fancy standing by the roadside adjusting my 'bra strap' so left it where it was):