2010.04 April

Sat 3rd April Saturday morning ride
7.30am PT, RT, KB-S, FL and GD were the best of a depleted peleton owing to Easter and family commitments. It was decided that a ride towards Arundel would suffice for today and on a dank morning with a strong south westerly wind we left the village and headed towards the barn via Muntham Farm.
Only five minutes into the ride and 49 yards off the A24 we suffered our first mechanical casualty and, it must be said, a much delayed ‘Blast-eet‘ from RT when his chain failed him once more. After a swift repair by said RT and verbal encouragement from the rest were soon back in the saddle. We made our way up to the barn and onwards past the Storrington/Tank car-park and up to the spinney at the top of the South Downs Way. Once here and regrouped we discarded our original plan for fear of impassable terrain and set forth for the ‘Amberley loop’, a wise choice as even the SDW down towards Amberley was a quagmire and claimed most of us, including KB-S, to it’s muddy and watery depths!
We completed the descent into Amberley and it was then a pleasurable trek back to Findon, we enjoyed a now moderate south westerly wind on our backs for most of the way and with brief glimpses of the April sun and KBS, (how is he so fit?), it was a good ride home. We arrived back to Findon just after 10am and parted company at the butchers, PT and GD represented the FGCC for a ‘full Findon’ breakfast and the obligatory ‘gallon of tea’ at the Village House. This establishment is worthy of a very favourable ‘Lama‘ rating.
Anyway 16.4 miles in total and all ready for Easter Monday.

Mon 5th April Easter Monday ride and brek to Nepcroft
GD writes:
8.49am and probably 1/2 hour later than we should really have left, a record 12 members of the FGCC assembled for the ‘RT trek and brek 2010’. Members included, in no particular order, RT, PT aka as RT’s bro. PT aka TM, JR, MA, CB, ZA, FL, AM, KBS, DS and GD. Magnificent turn out for the FGCC.

AM cycled a local route and rejoined members at the brek, the remaining 11 intrepid fellows decided on a four peaks route, up to the barn via Church Hill, Chantonbury and on to Cissbury, (as an aside, and just to put this extraordinary ride into perspective RT volunteered to do a brek for the FGCC on the 3rd April; however, owing to domestic circumstances, RT humbly requested a postponement and suggested todays ride to host his brek. All well and good, generally 6 possibly 7 members are available for weekend rides and with other halves that would be a very manageable 12 or 14 to cater for. You may have read on our previous Blogg entry, only five members were available for the ride on the 3rd April. Not today! Fortuitously we were all on hand and with rug rats and other halves a very unmanageable 24 returned positive replies. An eerie silence filled the RT household when RT broke the good news to C with an e T. More of the amazing efforts of CT and her magnificent helpers later.

So back to the trek, a quick ‘Blast eet’ repair for CB and a few tyre’s kindly re-inflated by PT at the onset and off we went to Church Hill, no problem with Church Hill cried KBS as he flew up, what branches, what mud, what slippery chalk ruts he exclaimed as one by one we finally joined him at the peak.

We then made our way through varying depths of mud and water to the top of Muntham Farm and regrouped only to find three female runners in our wake just passing the JR memorial. KBS not willing to suffer the indignation of being overtaken by any runner let alone a girl, rallied the peleton and off we set again towards the barn. We actually made it to the first gate on the bridleway when a fictitious mechanical problem halted us and we muttered a polite, ‘morning’ to the three runners and watched them hurry rhythmically past. KBS did his best not to let them see his face for fear of future recognition.

Eventually our humiliation subsided and we jumped back onto the saddle and in true traditions of the FGCC we changed our intended route as time was now of the essence and to be late back would mean certain torture for RT. We therefore made haste to to the South Downs Way where it begins it’s descent to the A24, a most satisfying downhill stretch and all but RT enjoyed the moment tremendously. RT having recently suffered one or two ‘mechanical failures’ was victim once more as his rear wheel seized fast. PT and ZA were on hand to rescue RT’s day as ZA selflessly surrendered his bike, that he had borrowed from GD on account of his being ‘off the road’. PT hurried back to Findon and in a flash returned in his LSV to collect ZA with RT’s bike and ferried both to RT & CT’s brek. RT and the remaining peleton all made it’s back to Nepcroft via Windlesham School without further incident and just to set the records straight for the day, ZA was on GD’s spare bike, JR was on PT’s spare bike PT was on RT’s spare bike and DS was on one of KBS’s fleet!

Safely back at Nepcroft MA & GD hosed the bikes wile RT rushed around plying all with essential tea and coffee. We then gorged ourselves onteaandcoffeesausagerollsscrambledeggandsmokdsalmononontoastbaconrollshotcrossedbuns
withhomemadejambucksfizzandevenmoreteaandcoffee, and for this, the members of the FGCC bestow our most gracious thanks to Mrs. CT Mrs. JB, Mr’s KBS, Mrs AM, Mrs L, Mrs RS (and anyone else I may have missed.)

A mere 9 miles in the saddle but certainly a day to remember. Thank you CT”.

Sat 10th April Saturday morning ride
Belated entry for this ride, hence it’s a little vague! PT, RT, MA, FL, KBS, DS & GD attended , DS writes. As for the 10th, I was there and I’m struggling to remember the route too….  Didn’t we do the new alternative to the Lion’s trail?  A route so steep that crampons and ice axes should be deemed mandatory for future descents?  All thanks to Kim of course! J  I think the Peloton then lost each other in Steyning briefly before re-convening at Bramber Castle then along the Adur valley before tracking back up through Coombe farm? Although not before Zach had a blow out of biblical proportions!   Mark left us at Lancing College?  Not sure of the exact route home but believe it was via Cissbury with RT beating me up the last hill with a superb burst of speed.  And of course, George caused his daughter to leap in to the hedge during our ripping blast down from Cissbury!

MA writes: Seeing as he is struggling to remember I suggest a note of commendation should be awarded to David for actually remembering a lot more than he thought.  The vertical decent was indeed noteworthy as was Zach’s deflation; by the church at Botolphs?  The only error in the account was I left the peleton at the top of the climb up from Coombe Farm where it joins the path to the north side of Steep Down; I was kindly allowed to get to the top first and hold the gate for the rest of the peleton!  and then descended via Dankton Lane to Sompting and home via the seafront.

GD wites, Ah yes, I remember it well! You wore blue……………… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sISWPzEqHLQ

Sat 17th April Saturday morning ride
Today was to be the DS ‘trek and brek’ morning but owing to members commitments only a couple could make it and despite having a lorry load of sausages and eggs at home DS was forced to postpone it to a later date.
MA, KBS, FL, DS, NW and GD were available for the ride and as the Icelandic volcano had emptied the skies of air traffic we decided to visit Chantonbury to grab some snaps of a beautiful clear blue sky.
We rode through Gallops Farm and past Wiston Ho! grapevines, through the the meadow and then hit the sharp rise to the SDW and on to Chantonbury. A slight overnight frost caused a thick fog that stretched from the foot of Chantonbury to the North Downs and east to west as far as the eye could see. The view south however was completely the opposite with bright sun and clear views right out to sea, pretty amazing!
Once recovered we descended from Chantonbury, some intrepid fellows cycled the lions trail and others via Lama Lane all meeting up in Mouse lane by the brewery. (DS suffered a fall on one of the jumps when his front under-inflated tyre let him down and off he spilled, only his knee pads saving him from what would have been serious cuts. Pride dented but not crushed they rallied forth to meet FL and GD in Mouse lane.) Two punctures delayed the lion trail peleton and FL muttered a sympathetic, ‘Oh blast eet’ when he learned of their news.
From there we headed south back towards the downs and ‘voom-voom-voomed it’ along bridleways and through fields emerging onto Newham Lane just north of Steyning; an excellent route with some great tracks through the woods.
The peleton then made good use of the tarmac climbing up Newham Lane and Bostal Road to rejoin the SDW. Just before the lions trail on the SDW we turned off left past the woods and back towards Findon. Our descent took us, full circle, past the entrance to Wiston Ho grapevines and just past the little farm there we happened across JR and Mrs JR walking the dogs before their long drive to Somerset. A brief chat with them and we then returned to Findon on Stable Lane. 16.2 miles completed, MA, DS, NW and GD rewarded themselves thoroughly with a ‘full Findon’ breakfast beautifully cooked by Ollie in the Village House, FL and KBS made good their escape.
Roll on France!

Sat 24th April Saturday morning ride
PT, JR, MA, FL KBS NW and GD left Findon this morning bound for Partridge Green and a cafe brek. The majority of the peleton were nursing sore heads following JR’s curry night and a rather late ejection from the Snooty Fox. An excellent evening all round but again far too late and far too much St. George’s Day Harveys, if there is such a thing?
Anyway back to the ride, the route took us towards Chanctonbury via Nepcote Green and then across to Steyning where we joined the SDW. A gentle pace was maintained until the old railway line at which point KBS and NW parted company with the group for an early return. (NW having heroically cycled directly from his night shift.)
The remaining few made it to the cafe in Partridge Green where a full brek was consumed by all. JR and GD felt it merited a 2 Llama rating with half a point extra for good service. The best was yet to come and after bidding a farewell to MA, who returned on the SDW, we joined a bridleway just south of Partridge Green and rode cross country to Wiston. Thankfully, the going was firm and it truly was an enjoyable route with magnificent views of the downs. GD swallowed a fly and was in some difficulty in his attempts to eject said bug from his throat, he was also in immediate danger of losing his brek as well. However, a few kind words of encouragement from PT and a bottle of water did the trick and we were all back in the saddle.
Once across the main road at Wiston we ascended Chanctonbury on the dreaded Llama Lane, hats off to FL who only pushed on two brief occasions. PL successfully completed the descent into Findon from the last post with no pedalling, wind against as well, just goes to show how hard the paths are up there now.
A great morning’s cycling and for the record 23 miles completed.

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