This was the cold one, mind you looking at the forecast there will probably be more. Setting off at 9am there was still a hard frost on the ground so I rode very cautiously down the hill from the village and made a direct line for the comparative safety of the salted B roads. Today’s ride was taking me out into the Fens to see my parents. On a crisp and bright winter morning, a Fenland odyssey was looking quite appealing.
I crossed the A14 and took a meandering route through the superb cycling country along the Huntingdonshire/Northamptonshire border. Despite the frost, the roads were mostly OK, although the first true minor road I took, from Clopton to Thurning, sparkled white in the bright morning sunlight. Along there I took the rougher and grippier centre line and listened to the soft crunching rhythm of my tyres over the frost. I was also following the wider tyre marks of another rider, and just before Thurning I caught up with him. We got chatting. His name was Steve and he was out for a pootle on his mountain bike, heading for Oundle. A couple of miles later I had a chance encounter with Leon (this is the sort of thing that happens when you ride). He’s one of my clubs senior members and we were both far from home; obviously we stopped for a chat. He warned me of ice ahead, we wished each other a Happy New Year then went our separate ways. After nearly 300km I had hardly seen a soul, today was positively social!
I was approaching the edge of the Cambridgeshire Fens now. The brickyard chimneys of Whittlesey and the towering lines of wind farms rose over the horizon. The tranquility of the country roads was usurped by the roar of the A1M – heard long before it was seen.
Across the A1 and I was into the black earth fields of the Fens. The flat roads, totally devoid of any sheltering hedgerows, were free of ice and I picked up speed. The Fen villages started to whizz by and I made good progress, but on the approach to Ramsey Mereside I saw flashing lights by the verge. Two police cars, three police officers, two dispirited looking lads and a beat up car, smashed into a ditch on a Roman straight road. It was a reminder, if one was needed, to treat the Fen roads with respect, especially on such a cold winter day.
I finished the ride with a loop of the Circuit of the Fens course then headed to my folks for a welcome post ride roast (beef, not turkey, thankfully). Three more days and only 150km left to complete the Festive 500.