2008.03 Downslink

Fri 14 Downslink ride – JR
PT collected ZA at Southwater, and this pair travelled in convoy to Rudgwick, to leave ZA’s car. 20 minutes later we were back in Findon, sharing tea and cold cross buns with MA, JR and CB. RT in a suit turned up to deposit bag, then went home to lunch, change and collect bike. Departure was at 14:00, only 15 mins behind schedule. The traditional route was followed, up Stable lane to the SDW at Chanctonbury, left at Langmead and down the Bostal. We made the Downslink before 3, and Henfield at 3:15. MA followed Mrs B-S’ suggestion of sprinting ahead (PT’s last sight of him was before Langmead), and texted from Southwater to attest to the quality of the tea at 15:30. Last to reach Southwater was PT at 15:50ish, but the café had already ceased trading for the day.
Refreshed and refuelled, we pushed on, to be entertained by a series of punctures to JR’s otherwise reliable steed. RT’s traditional break at the double bridge. ZA turned back as we reached Bramley, to reach his car by about 19:00. Punctures were repaired even as the remaining five shared chips at Bramley, by streetlight.
Riding on in the dark, a fallen tree was safely negotiated and the peleton turned off the Downslink at Wonersh Station to complete the ride on road to Mrs Deeks’. PT and EN proceeded to the overspill digs, where Chris and John made us very welcome.
Dinner was taken at the Parrot pub, the company arriving in some aromatic style as MA had left the handbrake on all the way there. A fine dinner and eminently drinkable ales, and chauffeur driven back to the digs. Who could ask for better?

Sat 15 Return from Downslink ride
Meeting at Mrs Deeks’, a short presentation was made to award her the five llama certificate of approbation. This was well received. We then took our leave, following her directions to reach the Wey and Arun Canal towpath, and thence the Downslink, all off-road. The canal proved handy for finding JR’s punctures, and cleaning RT’s chain. Passing through a charity ride by schoolboys and their gullible dads, we reached Southwater with only four removals of the Roche tyres, but the delay was sufficient to make an LSV return to Findon necessary for JR on time grounds. CB arranged for his driver to collect him at Southwater, so then there were three. A unicyclist was passed north of Partridge Green, and he overtook us as we supped sodas at the pub by the tracks at Henfield. Pub is converting back from Thai to Pub, so proper food may be available for lunch next year. Crisps only, on this day. Despite fatigue and rain, all made the climb up the bostal to retrace the route to Findon. 74 miles total.