After almost a week of the UK being blasted by the Beast from the East and all life as we know it coming to a stop, it was with some trepidation that I approached my first club ride since returning from warmer climes. As I lay under a 12 tog duvet and checked my phone for the temp outside, I must admit to having a crisis of motivation. I flicked through the temps; Mae Chan (where we had been staying) was 33C, it was more like 33F in Strathpeffer. However, despite 5’ snow drifts just up the road in Tain and the Cromarty glacier flowing again, the roads around us were remarkably clear. So after 20 minutes of searching for more and more layers of cycle gear, I set off into a biting easterly wind. Would anyone else turn up?
Of course! The riders of Ross-shire Roads are hardy souls and 8 of us congregated at the roundabout. With the cold biting we set off in the direction of Inverness where, Ken assured us, summer had arrived early. Surprisingly, Iain arrived late with Lianne (a whole 30 seconds according to him) but soon caught us up swelling numbers to 10.
We stuck to the main roads in a tight formation that would have had Capt Rabbit purring. We were doing very well until the boatman shipped his chain on the run into Sneckie, despite requests for a push we left him to refit it and had to regroup outside the Clach. Sneckie driving left a bit to be desired with one complete nutter trying to overtake the group with oncoming vehicles approaching. Why?
Jammy Pieces is a new cafe on me but I can see why it has quickly achieved a top reputation. Portions are huge but this did not stop Iain taking on the double header of a double egg and bacon roll and cake! After last week’s rugby I was hoping for some sympathetic words from the team but was somewhat disappointed not to receive them. Indeed, as penance for being away so long, it was made quite clear that I would be doing the writing up, a task I thought was Al’s exclusive right.
It seemed very cold when we set off again. Over the bridge and along the shore road we became quite strung out but the wind was now on our backs and the going felt surprisingly easy. Roads were dry and devoid of ice. At Redcastle the team split with Iain, Lianne, Ian, Will, Al, Stephen and me heading to Tore and then Knockbain as Lianne was keen to tackle some hills (?). The others chose the more direct route back to base. Al was going well and was telling me about his new acquisition, a Merida Reacto from Mark - perhaps he will be our new segment chaser come the better weather. Numbers slowly dwindled but I was delighted to have company all the way back to Strathpeffer where it was lovely and warm again under that duvet! I have to admit, it was good to be back and out with the boys and girls of RRCC.