I would like to thank Phil Miners for chatting up the receptionist in the Falstaff - Leamington Spa enabling us to have Domino's Pizza in the bar area - I can assure you that by 21.00 my stomach was keening at the idea that my throat had been cut at some point without its knowledge.
Food is important, it helps keep you warm, it gives you the energy so that your brain is receptive to stimuli and these are important factors to the biker whether male or female. Arriving in Leamington Spa in the dark was a very long way from my excellent breakfast provided by Karen Partington-Ward at the Chequered Flag at 0900 that morning.
Things I learnt from riding on a super windy day included
"your overall speed will increase if your hood is not creating a parachute brake behind your head"
"choosing the boring route can often be faster" A38 via Dartmoor and A30
"You need chocolate to keep you warm" (Thats not strictly true but chocolate made me feel better)
"Waterproofs are great sails"
"Bonnevilles lean over quite well when you think that you are riding upright"
We had left the Chequered Flag full of high spirits - both Rob and Paul captured our Cornish Flags flying - and subsequently attracted some waves and attention from children who thought we were very festive. The strength of the wind did push Debbies flag to a horizontal position, which might have been why the truck at Exeter services thought she was signalling him to cross into her lane using semaphore. Super strong coffee and multiple wee's helped to settle the aftermath.
Debbie had arranged with her friend Sue Dobson to meet up in Clevedon, Sue Dobson kindly offered to provide lunch, which was a fantastic mezze - again preparing our bodies for the elements. We were joined by Zoe Bowlt and Linda Hay for lunch and our journey to Leamington Spa. At this stage the wind had been joined by the promised precipitation - I would like to know how the met office configures its percentages - in my experience 100% means its guaranteed, so why does the Met Office forecast guarantee rain when precipitation is 40% or 30%?
The conundrum of waterproof wearing was mooted - at 10 degrees it was still relatively warm and likely to make one wet on the inside - the rain was light and might disappear - yes I was very optimistic. The six o'clock coffee stop at KFC confirmed that the rain was here to stay and that the Primani Velvet leggings worn under my jeans didn't make you feel cold or damp. A borrowed blue roll mopped up some of the dampness and cleared a few visors - riding whilst peering through steamed up perspex despite a pinlock made roundabouts at rush hour interesting.
We continued on with the journey feeling like Joe Btfsplk (Charlie Brown character) - into the gloom.
Debbie's sat nav came into good use when the tail lights of several cars interfered with our view of the lead riders - whilst in the lay by - I took advantage of being well hydrated externally to give my goggles a spit wash to keep them clear - it worked for the next couple of hours.
You know when your day is done - you arrive at the location after riding for 12 hours and someone suggests that you might like to move your bike to a new location having just parked up.
That will be a no then.
I was able to loosen my leg muscles up courtesy of the Falstaff as they were unable to provide us with a functioning electronic key - after attempt number three they gave us a different room at the other end of the hotel. The rooms were well heated and we were able to drape items over the radiator box in preparation for the next day. A rather feeble shower followed but was dismissed by the elation that Pizza was on route. Thank god for Phil and the Pizza