Cut short

Chores done, I was on the spinning bike when the phone rang and Middle Son informed me that he had forgotten his games kit and would have to go to ‘off-games’ (the walk of shame) unless I took his kit to the fields. So I’m off the bike, sitting in the car waiting for their minibus to arrive, feeling deflated and dehydrated….

Castle train-ing

The twins: French bulldogs at Elm Nursery

Map reference: Windsor to Wimbledon, via Ripley

Caffeine and Carbs: Elm Nursery Farm Shop, 01483 755559, http://www.elmnursery.co.uk

Much excitement today as we all piled on the 9.12 from Putney to Windsor. Especially exciting for me as I had already been (admittedly in the car) to Raynes Park station, two schools in Kingston, done half an hour of car park duty, raced home, bolted to the garage and swung my leg over the pre-prepped bike and off down the hill.

But it really did feel like a school outing. Bealsey (Bespoke-Velo) guided us onto the cycle carriage, roughly in the middle of the train. A couple of women clearly thought we were showing off in our silly Lycra outfits, and who can blame them really. No one wants their carriage invaded by four exciteable women (and one laid back Aussie) on a brief escape from their daily routine.

We alighted at Windsor. Alighting being the exact opposite of what it felt like in cleats, and rummaged in all our weird pockets for our tickets at the gate.

And we were off. Up the high street and then on into Windsor Park. Past a king-on-horse statue whose creator killed himself for forgetting the stirrups (I haven’t checked this nugget from Bealsey) and onto a loop that took in a lovely new cake stop for me, Elm Nursery. We got a very friendly welcome and the cakes were fabulous. Why do I keep forgetting to photograph the cakes? They disappear so fast, maybe. I did photograph two resident French bulldogs, one half blind. Eventually I’ll find my way through the Microsoft filing system and post them here.

Then it was on past Ripley, a flooded Cobham, Esher and on and on (90k today) until we finally popped up, miraculously in Wimbledon again. I shall study the map. I don’t know how we got there, I really don’t.

Note to self: Don’t get angry at technology, it can hear you

Lucky break in the weather

Map reference: Wimbledon to Walton-On-The-Hill

Carbs and Caffeine: The Grey Dove Village Cafe, Walton. thegreydovecafe.webs.com

I am very relieved to have tested my winter wheels, especially as I had had my doubts about my husband’s fitting of them. I was worried that, since he had also changed the cassette, the chain wouldn’t fit. But it seems I was wrong. In making the swap he discovered that I had been riding the wrong cassette for my summer sportives, the Dragon Ride and Etape Cymru. How we laughed. I tell you, I’m going to insist on all the gears possible for the Etape Du Tour. Oh yes, I hope you are reading this, Husband.

Anyway, with our sensible winter-ride heads on, Jacqui and I decided to repeat the route that Bealsey (Bespoke-Velo) showed me the week before. Jacqui downloaded the map I had recovered from my basic Garmin to her more advanced Garmin and we were off. There’s a lot of weaving but it’s a good route through south-west London and I am going to try to commit it to memory. I’d much rather do this than go round and round Richmond Park for fear of traffic. After about an hour we were out in our familiar Headley and Box Hill area. There was flood litter all over the roads. My winter tyre has a large gash on the back wheel which I worry about. The occasional flat is inevitable, but you always think, please not this week. And today, my prayer was answered. We had a lovely ride, round the back of Box Hill, up the zigzag and past our normal tea stop at the top. We had a few mouthfuls of soggy jam bagel as we went, but were desperate for our cup of tea as we carried on. After another 15 minutes or so we finally got to Walton-On-The-Hill, a really lovely village. Several good looking pubs, some interesting shops and a beautiful church. And the Grey Dove. My second visit, I can recommend it. Good coffee (I can drink any tea, but coffee has to be good). The homemade cakes were delicious too. Bakewell tart this time for me. The place was full, as it was last time, it’s obviously a badly kept local secret.

Note to self: Must see if I can follow a route using my Garmin 500. It is supposed to be possible….