A bitterly cold morning welcomed 12 riders for this ride to the Footprints Café in Ashford. As always a huge thanks to my back marker Jo Ellsemere great job. Also, to Chris Daly and Tim Fox for their roles when the groups split. Team effort, thank you.
Despite the cold; the chat and banter from the off was a great distraction as we headed along Kings Road out through Forge and Oak lanes to get onto Smarden lane. Bedlam lane took us up to Forstal Road, flat all the way to Egerton Forstal then up to Egerton via Rock Hill, a lovely hill, not too steep or long in length to make it a classic but a test all the same.
New road took us along to Pluckley, where we joined Station Road, for the long fantastic downhill and flat into Bethersden. We continued along to the A28. This was where our backmarker Jo, came off, a bit of a bang from hitting a pothole. Damage to the elbow but gladly nothing too serious. Did she complain, no, she got on with it!
We had a stop at the Footprints Café (TN23 5LW). I called ahead and booked a table as this place can get busy. We were served quickly with good quality café food.
We headed back through Singleton to join the cycle path to underpass The Great Chart bypass, up onto Ninn lane then right up to Waterfall Road into Hothfield. We had a nice steady climb from Hothfield through Little Chart back up to Pluckley. Down the hill and right onto Smarden Bell Road to Bell road. We then headed for the Airfield and back into Headcorn.
Overall, I think this route lacked the challenge needed on group rides, ie some elevation and more interesting scenery and not a 10 mile flat run in. The group were ‘class’ company and the road discipline was fantastic.
The route was 30.1 miles at regulation speed for D Group at 12.8 mph with approx. 360m climbing.