In the absence of Jim (‘I may do a lap of the park later’ – Whaaat? Heavy night? Or did the sky fall in?), Chris, Andy, Robin, Joe and Karen tugged their beards over the destination and swiftly decided that Barhatch was not a good idea. This was Robin’s first Sunday outing of 2017 and nobody rated his chances of making it. Might just turn round after an hour,’ he said lamely.
So it was Newlands Corner for coffee. No-one mentioned Robin’s get-out-at-Ockham clause. The weather brightened so in spring sunshine we passed Clandon and hung a right on the A246, past Hatchlands Park, then left up to Newlands, Robin arriving at the caff with the third round of cappuccinos (or cappuccini, perhaps). A sausage roll for Robin later and it was down the south side of the Downs, Andy flying and the sausage roll not far behind.
Karen and Robin had swung the party in favour of the shorter route up Coombe Lane. Andy and Joe motored up effortlessly. Chris hung back for some vicious taunting, masquerading as motivation: ‘She’s nearly caught you, Robin!’ etc, etc.
Hung a right at Staple Lane and cruised down the hill to East Horsley and Effingham. Chris had a puncture at the Black Swan. This was where Karen realised that it was not her fitness that had left her trailing Robin – trailing Robin (I put that in again because I like the sound of it) – but that her back brake was stuck on. One unsticking, later, all four disappeared up Plough Lane leaving Robin and the sausage roll to their own devices.
A puncture for Andy on the outskirts of Cobham, which unaccountably he fixed on somebody’s front lawn. Then a brisk sprint back to Esher – Robin this time wondering whether he was actually on the same ride, with everyone else over the horizon – and back up the Portsmouth Road to home.