2010.03 March

Sat 6th March Saturday morning ride.
Decided to do the Amberley loop particularly to test GD’s new steed and to finish off with a brek at the VH.
In a later email DS gave his take on an otherwise uneventful ride as follows:
“As for the Amberley Loop, I can think of an incident that happened to me but sadly, no-one saw it. I ALMOST had a very serious crash on the steep downhill section to Amberley. I was travelling at some pace when a speck of mud hit me in the eye. This caused me to momentarily take my eyes off the track and as a result, my front wheel slotted into a rut. I then lost control, a shoe pinged out of my SPD, my foot hit the floor and then I rebounded up and halfway over the handlebars. This shift in weight took me out of the rut but then I shot sideways and hit the fence (with barbed wire) to my right with some force whilst still travelling at significant speed. Instead of getting snagged on the barbed wire and having a rather nasty crash, the fence acted as a perfect trampoline and bounced me, quite remarkably, back into the middle of the track and more importantly, back into the saddle! It was a noteworthy escape that got the adrenalin flowing and a tragedy that no-one actually saw this unfold!

The only other note for the ride was to say that the Village House goes straight to number 1 in terms of quality of breakfast – absolutely superb”

Total distance 18 miles

Sat 13th March Saturday morning ride.
JR and PT set off from HH station, taking a bridleway to Cuckfield then the Weald Trail and an off/on road route skirting north of Cowfold and finishing the last mile of the A272 to the Orchard, where a peleton from Findon comprising GD FL MA CB DS and RT had arrived via the Lion trail and Downslink. After an excellent and plentiful brek, the Findon peleton returned via the Downslink, while PT and JR headed north on the downslink to branch east at Joles farm and continue to Maplehurst, Crabtree, Warninglid and Cuckfield. JR returned by train, while PT made for Turvey house.

Fri 19th/Sat 20th March Downslink ride.
After KBS had finally decided to arrive (some excuse about thinking we were setting off at 2.30 – this seems to be a continental problem as same happened with FL last year) JR & GD kindly performed LSV duties transporting bags to Mrs Deakes (Jean to John). A “right then” from ZA and he and MA, KBS, DS & RT set off up Stable Lane, round to Langmead, down the Bostal and to the Downslink. M Le Bas and DS had decided that they would go down the Lion trail in spite of the wet slippery conditions – rain had started almost just as we had set off and continued mercilessly over both days, thus destroying the belief that if Team Vicar is present the weather conditions would be good.
As ever the target was to get to Southwater by 4.00pm in order to obtain tea and cakes before they closed, so M Le Bas was instructed to follow from in front and get our order in. However, his extreme difficulty in going in a straight line to Southwater got the better of him and the remainder of the peleton managed to get there first, and thankfully before closing time, in spite of the slow conditions. Excellent and positive service from the young lady there, even though she was closing, and re-fuelled we set off, meeting GD/JR at the start of the track just after Christ’s Hospital.
An uneventful but wet ride to Cranleigh where we met PT and stopped for the traditional round of chips. Amusement of the natives as we queued in the chippy, with one customer commenting on KBS – “he’s from the West Indies, don’t you know”.

Lights on and the seemingly interminable ride in now pouring rain to the digs.
A very great pleasure for all to have AP join us for the evening at the pub.
Sat morning started with the inevitable series of punctures discovered with the now customary “Blast-eet” exclamation. Team mechanic inspected RT’s bike but with a head-shake and a muttered comment, decided that it was beyond attention with tools present. RT applied lube oil to the brake disc to ease the whining noise.
PT and JR drove to then end of the track just before Christ’s Hospital and cycled back to join the rest of the peleton as it rode towards Southwater. Lunch at Southwater, after which PT,AP & JR left in the LSV, the remainder setting off on the Downslink. Between the Orchards and Partridge Green ZA & RT suffered three “blast-eets” between them, slowing the peleton’s progress even further. DS was well past target return time and so JR collected him from Partridge Green in the LSV. The remainder struggled in the continuing pouring rain to Steyning and up the Bostal past Langmead, meeting JR again who had ridden up there in spite of the dismal conditions – a lesser man, having already arrived back home, would most likely have done a Dave Mackerel and remained at home, but JR as PM for the ride kept to his duties to welcome the peleton at the end of the ride.
The miserable conditions took its toll on all of the bikes brakes – excepting AP, who extolled the virtues of caliper brakes instead of all these modern disc brakes – MA having to walk down Stable Lane at the end because his brakes had expired altogether. RT’s bike, as well as requiring foot operation of the rear derailleur and suffering 2 punctures, had one broken spoke, broken toe strap and eradication of disc pads as with others.
An excellent ride, enjoyed by all in spite of the inclement weather, made all the more enjoyable at meeting AP again – don’t leave it so long next time AP!
Total distance – 76 miles.

After the ride an email from GD contained the following:-
No Kim, a mud guard??? I have only just finished adapting Queen’s ‘We will rock you’ song to suit you, it goes like this:

Buddy your a boy, make a big noise
Playin’ in the street
gonna be a big man some day!

You got mud on yo’ face
You big disgrace
Riding your bike all over the place

Singing we will we will mock you,
We will we will mock you.

I then go into my guitar solo!

Sat 27th March Saturday morning ride.
7.30am PT , JR, RT, FL , KB-S, and GD met at the butchers in Findon and after the normal greetings and emergency maintenance we decided to allow ourselves to be ‘Kimmed’. Our intrepid scout set forth and led us to the downs via Stable Lane. The ascent was a little damp in places but once the blood started to flow it was steady climb towards Chantonbury. Our route took us right just before we hit the South Downs Way (SDW) and at this point our scout was well and truly rutted just before we joined the SDW and he ‘bit the dust’. Nobody laughed, I promise.

Once brushed down we followed again and were led into the woods above Stenying and began our first descent, it was a great route through the woods and ultimately into Steyning GD was another one to hit the deck en-route when his foot stuck to the pedal, again nobody laughed, much.

The group joined the SDW for the return trip to Findon and once we reached the top of the downs Mr. B-S decided we should take the old Canadian Road down to the bottom valley, negotiate a wet chalky tack up to Cissbury and back into Findon through Nepcote. We duly obliged and all went swimmingly until 30 metres short of Cissbury carpark when RT snapped his chain. Ten minutes later and with one repaired chain we commenced our descent into Findon and ate a hearty brek at the Village House at 10.10. A full Findon with gallons of tea was the perfect end to a great ride. Thanks to Kim for that route.

13.6 miles and fifteen hundred feet of climb during the ride.

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