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Sunday, 29 December 2013

Mud,Sweat n' Gears (and ice) Monthly Reliability Trial!

Twenty Six riders signed on and set out from the shop. A nice easy group start pace in glorious sunshine, if a tad chilly. Out of Dorchester to Crossways via West Stafford there was a bit of frost on the road but nothing to deter an optimistic rider. At the level crossing a few riders wheels spinned as they put the power down and then behind the ominous sound of a pedal scraping across icy tarmac. Rider down. The extent of the damage was torn Lycra and dented pride - we were quickly back on our way again. But riding very tentatively. A car lying upside down in the hedge left even the most optimistic riders wondering what they were letting themselves in for today. A gritter headed in the opposite direction blasting all of us with gravel and salt. A few hours too late perhaps...
Gingerly we continued on through Dick o' the Banks, Redbridge, Moreton to East Burton where there was no let up with the icy conditions even where the sun was shining on the road. At the Seven Stars we turned towards the Winfrith Roundabout. The 'official' route was to the Lulworth Road via New Buildings. A few riders opted to avoid the ice on this road and take a longer detour via Wool. At least the long drag up to Lulworth Camp gave us a break from the ice. But the unsaid thought was 'how icy will Whiteways Hill be?'. Fortunately the climb up Whiteways and the descent down Grange were wet but not at all affected by ice. The views towards Kimmeridge and Swyre as we headed along the ridge above Tyneham were glorious. At the bottom of Grange we headed to Furzebrook via the Duck Pond and then sped down to Furzebrook Roundabout, where another slippery moment reminded us to be careful.
Heading into the slight Westerly breeze at Wareham the miles started to pass by more quickly along Puddletown Road as we worked together. More ice on the back roads from Hythe to Bere Regis, Briantspuddle, Tolpuddle, Puddletown and Waterston. Here the ice remained only where the sun hadn't reached the road. A final very icy reminder on the junction of Waterston and Slyers Lane what this day was all about before heading up the last hill and back to the shop.

24 riders completed the ride and got back to the shop to enjoy a large brew and slice of cake included in the £2 entry fee. A well organised Reliability Ride with a cracking route added 50 to the Winter miles base. Thanks to Andy and the MS&G team - perhaps they can guarantee better road conditions for next month?
Thanks to Mark Freeman for braving the conditions then writing about it!

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