The group was packed with strong riders today, and the weather looked impeccable. The previous days' "rain at 3pm" forecast had slipped out to "rain at 7pm". A few discussions about the best clothing combinations were had, and then we were off.
The first leg to Beaulieu was dispatched with ease and fine conversation. The New Forest at this time of year is ideal - lots of cyclists, few cars, and plenty of wildlife roaming the roads. Our coffee stop proved to be warm enough to enjoy outside, which was a bonus.
Between coffee and lunch, the riding is varied to say the least - a couple of decent hills, some moorland, ornamental drives through the forest and a nice downhill with which to end (early) for lunch. Lunch was an unhurried affair, but most convivial and tasty.
Eventually we tore ourselves away from our nook in the pub and tackled the afternoon - a short sharp hill immediately after the zero-speed ford, the long drag up Roger Penny Way, and then the final dash through the woods looking for pigs, which proved elusive on this trip. Jez tried very hard to take a young donkey home with him though.
As we reached the finish, Nick commented that he could do with an extra 20km. This signalled the immediate onset of rain (spot on 3pm!) and Nick was therefore put in his placed by a higher power, and we settled on another coffee instead.
A fantastic day of very mellow riding with a solid bunch of Corallians - loved it!