Listening to the wind and rain beating the windows in the early hours didn’t bode well for Sunday morning but it turned out a lot better than anticipated in terms of the weather: warm enough for some to risk riding in shorts and the rain held off, though the roads were filthy. The 75 is reckoned to have the toughest profile of the reliability trials run the Jubilee but the first 10 miles is benign enough along the Cowgrove, though there was a ‘Westerly’ to remind us that this was January - and the obligatory punctures. Through Blandford, New Road being the first real test of the day before the drop down to the Winterbournes. Turning north through Turnworth and up Okeford Hill maybe the easier direction, but its draggy enough to stop the chatter. Screaming down through Okeford Fitzpaine and across the A357, the roads levelled out and despite the recent rain the roads through Hammoon weren’t flooded as is so often the case. The pace was brisk for the run up to Shaftesbury but as we turned onto Foyle Hill the group of 30 or so broke up on the double digit gradients: the worst is knowing that the left turn onto St Johns Hill only marks the halfway point. A brief stop to regroup in the town before heading west along the Chalke Valley. With the wind at our backs we made good speed to Coombe Bissett lined out in single file as those at the front put the hammer down. But by the same token the pace dropped as we ‘dog-legged’ east for the drag up the A350 into the headwind. The pace remained brisk over to Rockbourne though a clash of wheels on the road to Damerham left the Chairman short of three spokes! A short stop to assess the damage and meet the call of nature and we were on our way again Chairman included. By Cranborne the pace picked up again for the ‘smash up’ along the road to Wimborne. The first finishers back within four hours, testament to the hard riding.
Thanks to Kev, Martyn, Lindsay, Bruce & Maggie for help to organise the event and for providing the Tea & Cake at the end!