If it’s a Sunday in early May, and it’s cloudy, and there’s a strong blustery wind, then chances are it’s the Tour de Tendring. And yes, this year’s TdT once again challenged riders of all shapes and sizes to do the 25 or 60 mile routes with a headwind, this year a 20mph westerly! In addition to riders of all shapes and sizes there were a variety of bicycles including a number of tandems, and two penny farthing including this 19th century one :
The good news was that the rain mostly held off, with only a few isolated spots of rain here and there. But Mr. Whippy was looking a bit forlorn at the start of the day.
The ride started at 10:30am, later than normal, as we waited for the final stage of the Women’s Tour to depart Dovercourt. Standing by the road as they started out, I have to admit it was an eye-opener to see just how fast the women were going, in what was the traditional first non-racing 5k when they take it easy!
Unlike the 2012 ride, I didn’t have my cycling companion with me, as the Broad Oak Bullet was doing the Helen Rollason ride further south in the county, with the Broad Oak Bullette. This meant that my ride was without the usual grunting, groaning and mutterings, he provides, especially on the climbs.
There are some steep climbs out towards Manningtree, and the climb out of Manningtree was quite a test! The refreshments at Great Bentley Village Hall after about 30miles didn’t come a mile too soon – hat’s off to the person who cooked the peanut cookies!
In previous years there was a staggered start, from 8:30 onwards, which meant you have a variety of people of different abilities starting over a period of a couple of hours. But with the mass 10:30 start today, I reckon the majority of the 25m and 60m riders went out within 15 minutes of each other. This had the effect of the faster riders distancing themselves from the others quickly, and myself (moderate speed) leaving the even slower riders behind me, rather than people being mixed together.
As a result, after the refreshments at Great Bentley, I had a l-o-n-g stretch when I only saw a half dozen riders – all the way down Highbirch Road (henceforth The Lane of Loneliness) and along the B1027, all the way down Jaywick Lane, all the way along Clacton Seafront to Holland-on-Sea, and most of the way up to Beaumont-cum-Moze. If I hadn’t cycled the ride before, I’d have thought I’d missed a turning and wasn’t on the route any more!
Beaumont Village Hall provided a chance for a refreshment stop with only eight miles to go, enabling a tea and KitKattm-powered push to the end of the ride.
The rain stayed away, which was great, but that bloody headwind! I was a little stiff today, the morning after, but the rider packs for the Colne Valley Cycle Ride in a couple of weeks have arrived in the post today, when both parts of the Essex Days Out team will be represented. Check out details of that ride, and others in Essex, on our Cycling in Essex page, which has a list of almost two dozen rides to come in 2014.