46mi (74km), Climb 787 ft (240 m)
Best weather of the year so far and the biggest spring classics race on the same day meant the group were keen to be out, but also on for a shortish ride. The Windsor loop fit the bill nicely.
Big showing today. We had: Captain Kevin, Big Nick, Mick, Carbon legs Jim, Karen, Joe, Tony, Franck le frog, Andy and two new-comers, Rosemary and French Nic.
An easy steady pace had the group warming up out past Hampton Court and through Sunbury.
The only real climb of the day came at Tite Hill — the ruin of many a ‘went to early’ hopeful. Carbon Jim selected the right gear and proceeded smoothly at the head of the group. When Andy threatened to pass, CJ helpfully advised him on ‘proper’ pacing. All in all everyone took the intense warm up climb in their stride, though Rosemary was no doubt rethinking the wisdom of bringing along a Kryponite lock and chain.
Early matches burnt, we headed into Windsor Great Park for a gentle spin through and the obligatory team photo. A friendly stranger helped out and we got a full team pic for the memories. Rosemary related to Andy her worries about being clipped in which turned out to be prescient.
After the gentle wander through the park the group arrived at the Windsor approach of the A332. The pace increased as the group anticipated a high speed run for cake. Jim, Tony and Andy made their move, Andy took the lead hoping to drop Tony and Jim, but eased up and Jim came through to take over. Getting a second wind Andy pushed over the top, only for Tony to come through at the last and take A332 honours. Meanwhile, Big Nick took the peloton for a Carry-On movie location tour. Important work, as Joe is working on a script.
Cinnamon Bun wasn’t too busy and had installed a handy bike rack. The early arrivals soon commandeered most of the spare tables and chairs and ‘booked’ the team space. Rosemary arrived and duly experienced an unplanned lateral impact injury with a mistimed clip-out. Coffee, flapjack, cinnamon buns and happy banter was had, and grins a plenty when some Japanese tourists mistook us for Team Movistar and made sure they got a few selfies with the big stars.
The run home was punctuated with a passionate debate on the merits of going off-road on the Thames path. The cries of ‘no’ took the day and we proceeded as God intended — on perfectly good paved roads. Andy got a little bit excited and took Tony for a completely unnecessary (but fun) sprint through Shepperton, mistaking it for the Sunbury sprint / Lower Hampton Rd (sorry Tony!). Luckily there was enough time to recover, regroup and go at it again for real. Because Andy is writing this report the record will hereby say Andy destroyed all comers and sprinted to victory in Sunbury.
A nice run through Bushy park to warm down ended a beautiful spring day of riding.
For the record Greg Van Avermaet came through for a well timed sprint victory at Paris Roubaix 2017 and Chris has a large stock of razors.