Phew what a squelcher! … Day Eight of the Festive 500 can’t dampen the delight….

With the weather forecast for rain at 10am onwards, heavy rain too, there was an hour before the downpour and with only 62km to ride, it was a tough call …. some said no, others turned up expecting half the ride to be wet.

However, the devil plays with the best laid plans and we’d barely left the Western Avenue before Gary Pratchett got a puncture. Now, before we go any further, let’s salute Gary who has been out on our Festive 500 club rides every singe day over the 8 days. Over 600km of outdoor riding in various weather conditions, but manifested in cold, rain and, particularly, strong winds. Despite the odds, he had no punctures during this ordeal but the Puncture Witch seized her last chance with a vengeance.

It was about 50 minutes before we got going again, and three inner tubes later the offending flint was eventually found. Clifford French announced that he was getting cold watching the others faff and with the oncoming rain, it was a good call to bail. Once on the road again, of course the rain started and everyone got their chance to test the maker’s claims with regards to waterproof cycling garments. Dave’s Gore gloves certainly won the gloves category.

There are some compensating features of a wet day, we saw no other riders on Box Hill yesterday (yes, really, not a single other rider) and there was no queue at the Burnham Beeches cafe today. However, with the pouring rain we did do a slightly curtailed route back.

Congratulations to Gary Pratchett, Tony Davis, Steve Mannell and Dave Morrison who did the Festive 500 for Rsearch into Duchenne disease. At the time of writing they have collectively raised £870 for charity but it would be great to bust that £1,000 mark (or more) so please sponsor them if you can.