I got to Measham and the rainfall was much worse - heavy and soaking, riding through it was difficult, the big droplets stinging my eyes. I decided to stop and shelter at the bus stop. Gary called just at that moment and I told him I'd be at his house in about 15 minutes - I set off again in the rain - this time with the waterproof on. By the time I got to Gary's and he invited me in I was thoroughly drenched and dripping profusely all over his kitchen floor. As we gazed out of the kitchen window, wondering whether to continue, the rain stopped and the sun reappeared - onwards then.
I went from soaked through to totally dry within 5 miles. Gary set a fast pace into Burton on Trent, we were running slightly late and needed to make up time. In Burton there was a new rider - Mick, we hadn't met him before although he said he had been out with the Burton branch some years ago. Mick works as a cycle mechanic at Halfords. Soon Barry and Pete had arrived and we duly set off - heading for Dalbury Lees somewhere north of Derby towards Ashbourne. There was no evidence of any rain haven fallen in Burton, the sun was shining and it was pleasantly warm.
|Pete, Gary and Barry|
After a toilet break in the bushes across the road we were off again - a straightforward route back to Burton on Trent now and riders slipped away at various junctions and roundabouts as we approached town - I couldn't help thinking they would be tucked up in bed soon - whereas I'd still got over 25 miles to ride.
As we passed through Burton and headed towards Gary's house he upped the pace. Fuelled by dark beer and chinese chips he seemed powered up, hyperactive and full of strength. He shot off into the darkness and I followed. It was a Herculian ride up to Rosliston - don't think we've ever been faster - Gary (on his old bike) was pushing....pushing....pushing. In the end the heavier bike and maybe a few twinges from his knee slowed him down, thankfully - but we were at Netherseal in record time. Gary was done - but I still had 13 miles to get back - and the efforts from Burton were telling. I took it easy for the rest of the way. Got home at about 1.00am - almost 70 miles done.