2019-03 March

FGCC rides in March 2019

Saturday 2nd March Monarch’s Way ride
Four assembled at Pond Green at 07.40, cycled to Worthing and took the 07.50 train, meeting PT at Havant who had travelled from Horsham. Noting a cycle route to Rowlands Castle we decided to follow it, but spent at least 15 minutes on enforced train spotting at the level crossing, debating whether it would be worthwhile simply walking the bikes over the footbridge.
Good relatively traffic-free route to Rowlands Castle where we indulged in an excellent breakfast at the refurbished Bumblebee cafe scoring at least four stars on the Budd Advisor ratings.
Set off along the road/track rout to Stansted Park, but at the end of the farm road in front of Standsted CB needed to stop to re-arrange his front mudguard, part of which had been lost in the dog saga on the ride to Henfield. Whilst he was re-assembling the remains of the mudguard, PT was searching for materials for another TM creation, which was eventually found and resulted in an excellent solution to the Budd’s mud problem.

Plastic bottle mudguard

Past Stansted and off-road plus road route to Walderton and another off-road to cross the road at Stoughton to then climb the double b*****d hill. Half-way up TK elected to strip off to display his marmite topped “cadbury’s milk tray” figure to some students taking a break in a field alongside. A wait at the top for PT to complete telephonic communications and we set off along the slippery traverse down towards the B2141, reaching massive ruts created by logging equipment and a huge wall of logs changing the local landscape:

Long wall of logs

Navigating the ruts we then took the longer road route to West Dean via Hylter’s Lane instead of “blasteet” alley past Heathbarn Down in order to catch up some time rather than experience the inevitable puncture repair sessions. It was only when we got to the pub at West Dean that we discovered that PT had indulged in mud wading at the log pile having elected to follow the ruts, with his shoes completely covered in thick mud and his bike similarly completely coated. This could be part of the reason why we did not receive a warm welcome at the pub which couldn’t accommodate us for lunch, so it was decided to give our custom to the bike-friendly village shop.

Suitably refreshed and without the effects of a pint or two for a change, the climb to St Roche’s Hill was achieved more easily than usual, with the exception of a flagging RT.

Round the Trundle with RT being heard (thought he was sufficiently downwind and ahead to not be heard) successfully yelling at the cattle to get out of his way. Past Goodwood and the long road ride to the A285.

Into Eartham Wood past Bignor Hill and the fun fast drop towards Whiteways crossroad. Off-road route down to Houghton and then along the road to Amberley in time for cream teas at the Riverside cafe. Parted company with PT for a train to Horsham, and the peloton then followed the North Stoke route back to Findon, with RT having his slowest climb up to Rackham Hill. All back in Findon by 5.30pm, with no need for lights. The earliest return for a long time.

Monarch’s Way ride

2,938 ft from Rowland’s castle to Findon. No climbing from Findon to Worthing, but maybe an extra 100ft from Havant to Rowland’s Castle
Stats for the ride are: peleton PT, TK, JR and Rt; 26.1 miles covered and 3533 feet climbed by PT from Havant to Amberley and an extra 8.7 miles covered and 740 feet climbed by the rest of the peleton to Findon

PT mud bath at the logging pile
RT clearing a path through field of cattle.

Saturday 9th March soda bread & bacons ride
On 9 March the peleton was treated to a bumper brek chez Electric Al, after a logistic shuffle which left PT’s car at Al’s for a rapid return to Horsham to fulfil domestic exigencies. Stats for the ride are: peleton CB, PT, RK, KBS, JR, 7.94 miles covered and 1069 feet climbed by PT, and about double that by KBS, RK and CB who also rode back, but by what route I know not. JR was transported back to Findon in Al’s taxi, the second such trip of the day.
Sträva stats 15.99 miles and 1,359 ft climbed.

Brek at electric Al’s

Friday 15th/Saturday 16th March NW passage/Downslink ride
The peloton set off from world HQ on time at 10.30, heading up Muntham, over to the SDW to Kithurst hill, down to the Amberley road and left then past Rackham , Parham woods and through the brooks woods to the RSPB near Wigginholt at mid-day. An excellent lunch at the RSPB and then off past Wigginholt, along the 283 to Pulborough then the Broomshill road, across the A29 to Wisborough Green, then Newpound and right at the Alpaca Farm into the woods.
The boggy track soon found a victim in AR who had a little lie down, after which he found that the e-bike appeared to be stuck on eco mode when he needed extra power for his heavy bike through the bog. After a while the system started to work again which we put down to the closer presence of Team Chaplain and assistance from a higher authority – well ok AR discovered that the controller had become dislodged by the fall.
Slow progress through the woods and then a short section before we reached Drungewick Lane and then the Wey and Arun canal towpath and along to the Onslow Arms for a pint or two.
Heading off again along the canal towpath the going started to get a bit boggier and this section also caught AR who decided to have a mega lie down and swim in a large mud bath denting his pride a bit further. The flying brit decided to also have a mud swim in sympathy.

AR after his mud bath

A muddy flying Brit after his little lie down

In view of the fast diminishing light it was decided that we should take the road route to Alford, but a halt was called at Alford Crossroad due to RK experiencing a blasteet. Quick replacement and we set off, planning to take the second left to take the road to join the Downslink north of Cranleigh (no chips for JR!). However the tail of the peloton was lost and telephonic communications informed us the RK and ZA had taken the first turning due to another tyre problem – a burst sidewall with the inner bulging out like a huge blister. A meeting point was agreed at the Downslink and the full peloton soon regathered.
RK set off ahead of all to see how far he could get before the inner finally exploded, the plan being that ZA would then ride on and get his car to collect him. However, he set off at such a pace that the peloton only caught up with him at Mrs Deeks.
Evening in the Queen Vic which dropped down the Budd Advisor ratings due to overcooked meat. We had the pleasure of the company of Mr Mead who arrived in his Smart car – how does he fit into it? A few pints seemed to be like soup for Mr Roche who was not able to reach the golden target.
JR enjoying the scintillating company

Total 35.5 miles and 1,735 ft climbed

The return leg started off promptly around 09.30am from Mrs Deeks’s (after her photo session with her i-pad) with ZA (LSV) taking RK to find a new outer tyre. The intention was to all meet at the Milk Churn cheese shop at Rudgewick, including Messrs Kersley and Bang-Sorensen. However, they arrived there before the peloton got to Cranleigh and the latter was then held up by RT slowing and finally coming to a halt at Cranleigh due to a blasteet. Targeting arrival at the Milk Churn at 11.00am the peloton then missed the turning off the Downslink so it was decided to meet up again at Southwater country park for lunch instead, though the three (RK had been taken to the Milk Churn by ZA) caught up before Southwater, having parted company with the Flying Britat Christ’s Hospital with questions as to where he had left his car. Housing construction seemed to be taking place at every village we had passed through so far and Southwater (call it city of Horsham now?) was no exception.
Fully refreshed after lunch we set off again, but RT discovered again that his rear tyre had deflated a bit, so track pump borrowed from the cycle hire shop and we then pressed on. However, it was not long before the tyre completely deflated and a repair was the only solution. Keen eyes of Mr Kruger eventually found the culprit in a tiny flint, and repairs undertaken while at the same time TK returned from having gone a long way ahead (following from in front?). A short stop at Stan’s Bike shack to again borrow a track pump (must make a morning ride there some time) and battling onwards into very strong wind (40mph?) with cross winds almost blowing us off bikes.
It was decided that the concrete road should offer shelter from the wind as well as being a slow steady climb, though there was some deliberation as to whether the Bostal might be better in this respect. As it happened the concrete road route offered no shelter at all and the slow clime became a crawl directly into the wind. RT elected to walk whilst AR soon found that he had no choice as his battery finally ran out of power, and it wasn’t long before AR himself ran out of energy completely. Plans altered with AR free-wheeling down to Steyning for CB to collect him in AR’s car as they were heading in the same direction and CB needed to get back to pack for an early departure to Italy the next morning.
However, the next section of the ride across the Steyning road and then left down the track was extremely challenging having to lean right into the wind to avoid being blown over, but the valley below Cissbury offered welcome shelter. CB sped on to complete his mission, TK and RT arrived at Cissbury car park and waited a long time, with a phone call informing them that JR had also suffered a blasteet with repair being assisted by RK, who insisted that TK/RT press on, so the peloton having set off together arrived very much apart.

TAMITS: AR indulging in mud diving
KBS suffering from “fomo” and also indulging in mud diving
JR treating his beer like soup
KBS no knowing where he had parked his car
AR running out of battery.

Saturday 23rd March 08.00am ride
A fine day for a ride and a Shoreham route selected – Coombe Farm, Downslink, Shoreham old tollbridge and airport, seafront to Worthing, Grand avenue to W Worthing and gallops back to Findon.
Just after crossing the Steyning Road on the way out, AR was able to undertake his first gate duty, demonstrating his recovery from the events of the Downslink ride.

Alex’s first gate duty

A quality breakfast at Shoreham airport sorting out the stupidities of Brexit – if only the politicians would listen to the wisdom of the FGCC -helped to make it another excellent ride.
Total: 20.3 miles and 823ft climbed

Saturday 30th March 08.00am ride
PT reports:
A splendid ride to Arundel in spring sunshine and over dry tracks, back to Findon by 12:20ish.
After much faffing and tube replacing, JR, TK, ZA, PT and RT set off via Muntham, the SDW to Kithurst, then south. ZA “peeled off” to return to domestic duties at mile 7. The remaining peloton continued for a brek at the usual cafe in Arundel, returning via the gallops (miles 13 to 14), Lee Farm and Chantry post.
According to Satmap, 21.4 miles and 2047 feet climbed
A fine morning, in good company.
TAMITS: JR deciding to replace an inner tube at the beginning of the ride because it had a slow puncture only to find that the replacement had a major leak at the base of the valve – not the first time for Mr Roche.
PT getting an email summons to return home to Horsham by 12.00 in order to participate in the latest phase of house purchasing. Fortunately negotiations resulted in delay of the appointment by one week and three hours enabling Mr Topley to participate in a full ride next week.

Arundel via Burpham and return via gallops