Before anyone starts calling the Minimum Ride Length police, I should add that at the end of the ride there were 'a few' who wanted to get back early while others showed some interest in an extra loop out to Lingfield. As it came to it, I shouted out boldly... "those who need to be back quick left down Broadbridge Lane... those wanting longer follow me..." A few yards on, I looked back and found just my brave backmarket Jon C with me. We then thought "s*d this" and chased the shorters to catch up in time for a shoart sprint down Hathersham Lane.
But I get ahead of myself. At the outset we have a few new faces, Martin and Steve both perfectly matched with a group that included some usual MTB riders - Lynne and Geoff P - out on their road tyres. Dave T who was putting in a morning ride in advance of starting the Nightrider Sportive in London at Midnight! Then Kimbers, Alan H plus Stuart and Robert.
The short route to Tulley's was back to Woodhatch Park, Leigh, round the back of Newdigate, Rusper, Faygate and then up Tower Road. The mountain bikers plus Martin and Steve zoomed up no problem and after taking off a few layers as it was warming up nicely we started the first of four long quick stretches to Pease Pottage. Then down t'wards Handcross and left past High Beeches. A quick look right down to the Brantridge Lane climb that we'd missed and on quickly up past Worth School.
In the run up to Turners Hill we were all squeezed by a long traffic jam before turning left for the fast descent for tea, sausage rolls and bottle refills.
The average was high for a G2 by tea (around 15.8mph) but this was testament to a very capable bunch who rode together in a perfect pack with different riders taking turns at the front and all arriving at each checkpoint within seconds of each other.
The Old Hollow route home kept the average up and I got back to the aerodrome with 1800ft of climbing and 15.9mph average on the clock. Partly that was thanks to people pulling out the stops for an average closer to 20mph along the Hathersham section.
Thanks to everyone and particularly to Cooperman for some great backmarking.