Storm Katie was brewing in the west. This was the eleventh named storm to hit us this winter, bringing misery to some but merely a small challenge to us seasoned cyclists. None of them had stopped us so far and we weren’t going to be beaten by this one.
It was the start of British Summertime. So eager was one of us that she arrived bleary eyed since the clocks in her house had been put forward twice getting her up at 5 am., whereas another regular was missing as the earlier hour was just too much of a challenge for her. We had an easy ride via the Lea Valley to Dobbs Weir with the wind at our backs. It was our first visit to the café there since it was taken over by people who thought it a good idea to rename it “River Palace”. Despite its grandiose title, the fare was more down to earth, good value and served efficiently.
The storm clouds were gathering as we left and we reached the southern edge of Harlow just in time to find a useful underpass, while the hail lashed down outside. Our thoughts were with Richard, who had returned earlier and was probably getting hammered by hailstones.
It being Easter Sunday, we thought the pub could be busy and that was sufficient excuse to find a more direct route and arrive early. Just as well, because we arrived before a group from Bishops Stortford CC and we had the last available table. With four bar staff on duty we were served fast and the sandwiches were really good.
Another brief hailstorm hit us on the way back as we approached Harlow Town Park, but again we were very lucky to find a convenient underpass in which to wait it out.
Knowing that the Rose Café shuts quite early, we headed instead for The Six Templars in Hertford for tea and cake, or beer. The wind was getting worse as we left there and headed for home after a fun ride of 56 miles into Essex.