Then Christmas ride season began - first up with the biggest group of Combe Raiders I've ever seen:
This on the strangely misty Quantocks - & quite damp under wheel as well. Dave got stuck on a stick:
Much to my surprise, I won the hill climb (by getting the furtherest up a rather steep & technical ascent) - I was well pleased with my giant certificate (that's a large & very good paperback on the left).
After not really earning it from a less than twenty kilometre ride, it was off to a nearby pub for the award ceremony & an awful lot of food. Great time had by all - although I had to go for a harder ride the following day to get the most out of my two hundred mile round-trip.
This weekend past I managed two more Christmas rides - and associated meals of course. The Vindaloo group of the local MTB club (which I ride with if I'm around every second Sunday - so hardly ever over the past two years) had their Christmas ride & curry planned very local to me on Friday night. The bikes decorated with Christmas lights and wrapping paper and the costumes made the whole thing seem a lot more festive than the Combe Raiders event. It was only a short local ride, but it was a nice warm, dry evening & there was plenty of good food.
For some reason I thought it a good idea to ride my single speed twenty-odd kilometres to the Christmas ride & dinner for the whole club - this after seeing a rather dismal looking weather forecast. Anyway, it rained pretty much all day - but it wasn't cold. Annoyingly, my front brakes failed about thirty kilometres in - so I rode most of the day with rear brakes of dubious usefulness (just as well the Forest is almost entirely flat). Somewhere out near Burley & Picket Post our fearless leaders started to get a little vague in our route - just as we got out of the trees onto the heathland in the driving rain. Oh well - we made it back to the pub eventually for another huge meal. It probably was just as well I had to ride all the way home - wasn't really intending to do close on eighty singlespeed kilometres for the day, but I survived & really quite enjoyed it.