And so, at 09-00 on March 12 around 38 cyclists turned up at the Broadway ( and a few more joined en route ) . It was great to see so many juniors out, as well as a large contingent from the Derby Divas. The numbers were such that we set off in two groups heading towards Kedleston and then Mercaston where the advanced guard stopped to allow everyone to regroup.
The lanes around here are notoriously pot holed and scattered with debris from hedge cutting and so Andy T had already had practice in repairing his own puncture before his skills were called upon once again.
Once all mechanically sound we set off in groups once again heading through Brailsford and on tp Alkmonton where, as it started to climb, Jen kindly took over lead rider duties to give an OAP some protection from the wind.
The Alkmonton Climb, whilst not vicious, is long and you might see from this next image that Duncan G was beginning to feel the pace as he pulled his tag along up the hill.
From Alkmonton the run was on to the coffee stop and one young lady, having been equipped by a whip from the esteemed Touring Secretary, urged her driver to much greater efforts
I had arranged for the coffee stop to be at The Salt Box in Hatton and in celebration of the day, my wife had kindly arranged for a Birthday Cake to be ready
Herbie had kindly offered to forgo the hillier part of the ride so as to reserve half the cafe in advance of our arrival, ably assisted by Mark H.
Cyclists can of course not live by Cake Alone and bacon sandwiches are a neccesity for growing people
It was a true party atmosphere and to a rousing chorus of Happy Birthday we all enjoyed the rest
Eve could not be with us, but she had not forgotten and sent one of her emissaries with a special present
Refueling over we went on the flat route to Willington and Repton before turning towards Milton Ingleby Swarkstone and home. For me around 77km with 575 m of climbing
For me it was a wonderful day out. No-one got dropped, the average pace was around 22kph and the the climbing modest with no lung busters.
Thank you to everyone who came to help me celebrate...you all gave me a day to remember.