The volcanic cloud did nothing to prevent lots of riders making it to North Wales but meanwhile back at Woodhatch Park the sight of blue (but slightly ashen) skies brought out huge numbers.
The Newcomers set off in the direction of Crowhurst and Lingfield. Nippy at first, it started to warm up around Blindley Heath and an excellent little group were joined by Karen, training for triathlons through the summer; Alan looking fit enough to take a step up to the intermedates; Barry - out on his first try-out after a while of solo riding around Leigh; and young Tom Dyson joining Mum and Dad, Howard and Steph, for his first ride out on a road bike and maiden voyage with cleats.
Everyone rode admirably and Barry and Tom on their longest rides to date only started to feel it on the final drags on the way back.
Tea at Occasionally Yours Lingfield presented an opportunity for a photocall with a few statuesque bottoms. We also met a sociable YMCA Ladies group out training for London to Paris.
Mike suffered a rear wheel puncture on Bones Lane but being so close to home waved everyone on. Thanks for your help, Mike.
The weather was positively scorching by the time we headed up New House Lane. Tom looked game for a sprint up the slope but had only anticipated it lasting until the first corner. Dad was made of grittier stuff and joined me for a 19mph sprint to the top.
A really fabulous bunch. The riding, the weather, the teastop and the road manners could not have been better.
30 miles at a comfy 13.2mph average. Hope to see you all again soon.