A fun fair was being set up in the Market Place when we arrived, which led to a few surreal conversations before we set off. It was just as well that the stalls hadn’t opened or we could easily have been joined by a tiger or teddy bear if Paul B had had his way.
As we started out along Mill Street spots of rain began to fall and there were noticeable gusts of a wind. The raindrops were short lived, but the gusty wind stayed with us throughout the ride.
We had expected Ian to join us at Challow Station as he had been delayed getting to the start due to having to set-up a borrowed bike for the ride leader. However, as he wasn’t waiting for us, we continued on our way expecting that he’d be waiting further along the route.
The gusting south westerly wind put the majority of the twelve strong group of riders off the optional ascent up Dragon Hill, so just two die-hards in the form of Ben and Louis took on the challenge. Whilst the rest of us waited at the bottom of White Horse Hill for the die-hards to re-join the group, Nick performed a good deed for the day by helping a tourist with directions.
We arrived at the Carpenter’s Canteen before the masses and enjoyed their very delicious flapjacks. We were finally joined by Ian who had followed his own variation of the route to catch us and confessed that a second breakfast had been the cause of him losing track of time.
Rain threatened as we were preparing to leave the café, but the spots were again short-lived. We climbed the hill to Badbury Clumps then followed the route past the Faringdon Folly down to the A420. The crossing was awkward here, so we decided, for safety, to cross on foot. Two tightly formed groups, plus a breakaway rider, then made short work of the A417. Andy N and Paul J left us before we rode in to Denchworth, so they missed the Denchworth Dash. We decided to reroute to avoid the fair in the Market Place, so ended the ride at the King Alfred’s Head.