As the events' organiser and ride leader, I did not want to be late; I was late.  After the change in temperature and humidity over the weekend, I needed half a can of WD40 to get the bike started.  Oh well I thought, it's the first week in January and chances are, nobody will turn up anyway.  Got to Top of Town car park to find 11 riders waiting; was not expecting that and was really pleased with the turnout.  Perhaps a good omen for the coming year! 

Weather was not as forecast by the BBC, but after a Safety Brief we set off by 10:15 up the A352 Lower Cerne Road.  Pace was slow, clearly everybody was being careful given the amount of mud and gravel around.  After an uneventful ride through Middlemarsh and Sherbourne, we set off north on the B3148 heading toward Marston Magna.  This was perhaps the muddiest part of the day!  Well, more silage than mud; the road was covered in it.  After some minor roads we went past RNAS Yeovilton, and on through Podimore before joining the A372 towards Langport.

As flat as this part of Somerset is, some great roads and flowing corners were on offer on the way towards Bridgewater via Westonzoyland.  These roads are clearly popular with "petrol-heads" as we saw one car upside down in the hedge and experienced a BMW coming towards us at alarming speed.  We negotiated our way through Bridgewater and joined Enmore Road at Durleigh Resevoir.  After about 3 miles we stopped and grouped up for the last 2 miles to the Café set in the middle of the Quantocks.  We came across a young lad who had come off his scooter being cared for by a number of people, so decided to push on.  Turned into Pines Café and parked up; well 6 of us parked up, the other half of the group rode on by.  Once we had regrouped at the café, we never did really find out what had happened.

Pines café was great; very accommodating, they set aside a table for us and we tucked into tea, coffee, cake, breakfast, soup, bacon butties, burgers and gammon.  Warm, dry and friendly, well worth another visit. 

John Henshaw and Helen Beer left to complete another leg of the BMW challenge and the rest of us set off for the second leg home.

Down Buncombe hill and on to Taunton, where we managed to lose 2 riders.  Again, not sure why, but the lesson for me is to provide more drop offs through a busy town centre.  Skirting the Blackdown Hills, we negotiated the somewhat narrow and muddy roads.  Having tried to avoid any "GS Roads" we did find ourselves moving along a road with moss down the middle.  Still, everybody coped and we pressed on past Cricket St Thomas, Winsham, Laymore and Drimpton to Broadwindsor before progressing to the A356 via Beaminster.

The Rampisham/Maiden Newton road was dry!  This meant we progressed well into Maiden Newton before taking the final stint home via A37 Grimstone.  And on to the Top o Town Car Park where we met up with the riders that we lost in Taunton.

All in all, a muddy but enjoyable ride.  Some would say we would have been cleaner had we gone cross-country….Everybody went home to clean their bkes:


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