I arrived at the Drome to find only two cyclists waiting for me, Charl Jordaan and Graham Haysom. I do not know the reason for the lack of numbers. The number of RCC riders scattered across Europe can't have been the reason. A group had probably gone out for an early morning ride. Another group had decided to join the hordes en route to Brighton. It wasn't hot enough to spoil and easy ride in the countryside. So wherer was everyone else? The lack of numbers may have been the result of advertising it as a leisurely ride. The club seems to have been taken over by the concept that the only worthwhile ride is "eyeballs out" for 4 hours and to arrive home so exhausted that your partner has to lift you off the bike. The pleasures of an easy, sociable ride through country lanes, enjoying the wonderful English countryside is being lost.
We set off to Horley where we collected two guest riders, Stella from Kent Velo Ladies and Adrian from Crawley Wheelers. Near Warnham, Graham went into a trance and hurtled past the turn to the station; Charl had to give chase to fetch him in. After climbing Basham Hill, Graham, suffering from a bad back, decided to head for home via Billingshurst; Adrian followed him. The remaining three carried on through the lanes to the Riverside Tea Rooms at Amberley. After ordering omelettes and chips, we discovered that there was a 30 minute delay in the kitchen. At least, we had a good excuse for an extended stay by the river.
We remounted our bikes and headed home via a nice long climb of Fittleworth Hill, Wisborough Green, Cooks Hill and Weare Street.
After 80 miles and over 3000 ft of climbing, I for one was ready for the cold beer waiting for me at home.