Cestria CC gets soaked and very cold going to Sedgefield (17 Dec. 2017)

The forecast for Sunday, 17 December 2017 was not very promising with heavy rain promised from the early hours up to about 2pm. Having arrived at CLS and receiving a few spots of rain on the way, I accidentally said the “writer’s curse” (commentator’s curse equivalent) and mentioned to pals that this was far better than the BBC forecasters predicted! It was about 1C with a light southerly when our little band of Peter Sturman (routemeister), Ray Haldene, both Stuart Cooks, Kevin Jackson and another lad I don’t know, departed Market place, collecting Graeme Bradford at the A167 roundabout on the Durham Road. At this point it started to rain very heavily and we made a stop to don capes. We headed straight down through Neville’s Cross and abandoned Peter’s original plan to climb towards Hett, due to the likelihood of ice. At Thinford it was still raining heavily but we had managed to keep body temperature up with the climb from Sunderland Bridge, having abandoned Peter’s original suggestion to visit Thorp Thewles cafe and head to Sedgefield instead.

We continued south on the main road, putting up with the pre-Christmas shopping traffic and a handful of wagons, all of which added to our discomfort with spray. Near Newton Ayfliffe we turned east and headed for Great Stainton. There was little traffic on this road but we were thoroughly cold with wet gloves and feet at this stage. Having turned left and headed towards Sedgefield, we then decided not to stop with most of us needing a hot shower to chill out. Fortunately, traffic was very light on this stretch of the road, and we pedalled straight through Sedgefield and Fishburn, before turning left past Garmondsay and on into Coxhoe. Everyone was working nicely, with Stuart Consett Cook stretching his legs and Ray doing steady turns on the front. Peter Sturman had previously dropped back to check on Kevin and his mate, but they had apparently decided to turn onto the A689 and presumably went straight to Sedgefield. After Coxhoe, we took the new(Ish) link road to Sherburn where everyone except myself went through that village.

My hands were really sore at one stage like everyone elses’s, and we were constantly flexing the fingers and trying to get circulation going. Fortunately, nobody (including me, for once) mentioned the “character building” word or would probably have got a thump! I missed the cafe craic but it was a sensible decision not to stop since there’s only one thing worse than getting wet on the bike – having a cafe stop and then getting wet again. Hope the Short and Steady riders this morning managed to escape the worst of those downpours. Great to see Vin Halton and Malcolm Marshall at CLS as well.