And so, 20 riders departed Claygate soon after 10.30. With limited escape routes out of the village, we headed for the Milbourne Lane option, and after an unavoidable dash along Copsem Lane, under the A3 and up the A244, we turned into the relative quiet of Sandy Lane. Then Knipp Hill, Water Lane and the path across The Tilt brought us out into more familiar roads through Ockham and Ripley and on to Old Woking via Tannery Lane.
Skirting around the south side of Woking itself via Kingfield and Wych Hill, we headed through Hook Heath and down Gorse Hill, then looped round via Fox Corner into Pirbright, Brookwood and arriving at our lunch stop at The Garibaldi in Knaphill at around 12.40pm.
Whilst out doing a couple of recon rides, I was unpleasantly surprised by how hard it had been to find a lunch venue at this time of year that didn't want to serve a full Xmas lunch, didn't want a deposit up front, and didn't want food orders several days (or in one case, a week in advance, even for sandwiches!!).
So, The Garibaldi ended up as a bit of an unknown and risky option, but I shouldn't have worried, and we were warmly welcomed, all food options were served in good time and we were ready to depart by 1.45. Apart from a very brief shower early on around the back of Cobham, the only rain of the day that we saw very conveniently arrived whilst we were having lunch, and we set off again on roads that were wet but at least it was not actually raining.
A quicker shorter route back, this time avoiding Woking town centre by the northern route took us from Knaphill via Horsell and Philpot Lane and then back onto much more commonly ridden roads past Fairoaks and on to Addlestone, Weybridge and arriving for tea in Walton pretty much bang on 3pm.
The earlier start time seems to work very well from my perspective, and allowed us to stop for tea and still giving all a chance of being home before dark, ready to contemplate how to deploy their vote.
24 miles from 11's to lunch, and then 13 miles from lunch to tea, with about 1100 feet of climbing in total....and managing to avoid virtually all of the forecast rain.
The usual thanks to all who came along, and all those who contributed by marking corners, and to Janice for back-marking.