Saturday 4th November: blue legs on the Black Isle

A good turnout of 10 riders congregated at the roundabout; well 9 actually, Ken was running a little late but eventually joined us (some story about no car keys). Attendees were: Cap’n Jim, Irish John, Maestro John, Stephen (The Inspector), Al ‘No’ Fear, Mary, Donna, Innes, Ken and myself. As any boy scout will tell you – be prepared. A good number of us had diligently watched Cap’n Jim’s latest viral video and our bikes were sparklingly clean. However, some (three to be exact) had failed to spot the mercury falling like a stone and had foolishly turned up in shorts with legs rapidly turning a kind of blue. Mudguards were also in short supply.
With Cromarty the chosen target we set off in tight formation. The good Cap’n was keen to try out his new investment – his very own Acme Thunderer, although on several occasions his blasts were poorly timed, coming just before the punchline of another of the Maestro’s amusing anecdotes. The Cap’n also informed me of an obscure RRCC By-law requiring me to do the write-up as it was my final Saturday ride before heading to Thailand for a well-earned winter break.
The road to Cromarty, as Alec will tell you, follows the darkside. Sunshine is only seen here once or twice a year and the shorts brigade (that would be the Maestro, No Fear and The Inspector) were soon chipping the ice off their bare skin. A sprint was needed to warm us up and the Maestro duly went for a long one. The Cap’n summoned the lead out train and tried to use the Thunderer to impose some discipline. Unfortunately, team work was sadly lacking and nobody wanted the Maestro to be anywhere but out front. In the end, I did the honourable thing and went to the front where I steadily racked up the pace until it was at (for me) eye-popping level. Foolishly I thought the others would take their turn but we had already passed the 300m sign before I was duly sprayed with mud as they came streaming past. I have no idea who won because I was hyperventilating at the time. There was a rumour is was The Inspector…
A good time was had in Couper’s Creek where we were pleased to see Keith who had ridden over independently. There seemed to be a marked reluctance (interestingly from three people in particular) to leave the warmth of the café but eventually we split the bill and were on our way again.
A breakaway party headed back on the lower road whilst our group went via the Killen straight. As the roads became muddier, so did we. The good Cap’n was trying to educate us in some nautical whistling techniques – I think three loud blasts means ‘man overboard’ or something like that. When we said goodbye to Donna we all looked like we had been hosed down with slurry and it didn’t get any better on the final stretch. I told everyone how much I would miss these conditions but I’m not sure anyone believed me. See you in March!

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