Saturday 27th October 2018

Climate change. Whether you cite flatulent livestock in the Southern Hemisphere, or take a Daily-Mail-esque stance laying the blame squarely at the door of Jeremy Clarkson, it is becoming hard to ignore the fact that something a bit weird seems to be going on. The Beast from the East in March bringing 5 foot deep snowdrifts, followed by a Summer of 30c heat and no rain for months, and now this - not yet time to put the clocks back, and greeted by lying snow on the ground for this morning's ride.
With the Hammer seeking warmer temperatures atop Everest (along with a better 4G phone signal, most likely), Jacuzzi Jim still a week away from fitness, and a frozen moat halting proceedings chez El and Ella Parrot, it would be a smaller, hardcore group out today.
For the second time in as many weeks, it was a female-dominant collective. Debbie had braved the blizzards to travel from Portmahomack, and Lynne had awoken Prima Donna from hibernation. It was left to Elvis and myself to chaperone these three fair maidens for this morning's route.
The group briefly considered Debbie's "Glasgow rules" as an option - this a throwback to her Central Belt days, when the club chain-gang evening involved a half-mile ride along a dual carriageway to the nearest pub, then back after 3 pints via a chip shop. Anyone failing to register a net weight gain had to repeat the lap. Whilst beating today's matchday crowds to the Mallard had some merit as an idea, on days like this there is really only one destination for a hardy RRCC Saturday group - and, as one, we set course for the Jammy Piece.
It was a very social ride into Inverness, much chatting meant that peloton discipline slipped to a level that would have had Captain Jim turning in his hot-tub. Single, double, leave Elvis on the front for 30 minutes, no whistle meant no rules. After a brief stop for Donna to refuel with medication, we arrived at the cafe. One of our number seemed very pleased to have made it that far, as you may be able to spot from the photo.
Once inside, Elvis underwent a sartorial transformation, and began channeling his inner Captain Jack Sparrow - photographic evidence was duly obtained and is attached for your amusement.
The conversation over coffee was the funniest I can recall for a long time. Covering a range of topics including 1980's mullets, spandex trousers, bubble perms and the (surprisingly varied) range of activities which are possible inside a rural phone box - we were literally in tears at some points, and with the other customers starting to stare, we needed to make our way.
Prima Donna and Rapha Lynne escorted us to the Bridge, smug in the knowledge they only had 3 miles home, as the wind began to bite. The remaining three of us headed up to Tore, passing Angus and Lorraine heading the other way. Home for me, and a quick extra lap for Elvis and Debbie to get the total up to the 40 mile mark.
Shorter run today but, as always, a great group and good to be out.
Al
Image may contain: 5 people, including Keith Hinds, people smiling, people standing and outdoor

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