Saturday 2nd October 7.30am ride
We clocked up 14.5 miles today as FL, KBS, MR and GD made up the FGCC’ peleton. It was a dank and chilly Autumn morning and, limited on time because of pool duty for KBS and GD, we decided to go first to Chanctonbury and plan further from there. We cycled via Nepcote, the Monarchs way and then the north bound track to the summit. There we circled to admire the hanging mist to our north and noticed KBS plotting our route. He needed no more than a mere suggestion from MR about cycling down the acute north side of Chanctonbury and we were off in his wake.
We cycled through the woods at the bottom of Chanctonbury and climbed up again to rejoin the SDW. From there we cycled down through Washington and under the A24 emerging into the woods to the north-west side of the road. This route was busy with dog walkers who hampered our progress at times but we soldiered on emerging in West Chiltington. It was then down to the A283 and across onto Barns Farm Road.
We missed our bridleway and arrived, as trespassers into Barns Farm. There we met the Ma’am of the farm, who was grooming her horse in the stable block. She asked if we were lost and where we were bound. GD, in mitigation, pleaded that they were merely following a Dane and a Frenchman and what chance did they stand? KBS, pointed to the top of the downs and said, Were going up there. With politeness, eloquence and absolute authority the lady replied, No youre not, its private land, you are going back to the bridleway and heading off to Washington, from there you may cycle to the top. Good day!
Finding the bridleway again, tails between our legs, we went east towards Washington and then cycled back towards the barn at the SDW. This grueling climb is the most testing in the area and MR and KBS were off chasing each other to the top. FL, a creditable third and GD followed up in fourth place. The final 200 yards of this climb is enough to test any cyclist and its hidden from view until the last moment. We all made it to the top and then had the pleasure of the downhill ride back to Tolmere Farm and our farewell to KBS. The remaining trio returned to Findon via the Church Hill descent and parted company. A great ride with great comedy thrown in. Probably 1600 feet of climb.
Saturday 9th October 2010. 7.30am ride
KBS, MR and GD rode this morning, it was overcast with a heavy sea mist in as far as the downs. We cycled on tarmac to Cissbury and followed the eastbound path, MR bit the dust as his wheel stuck in a rut in the difficult chalky part of the bridleway just past Cissbury. Shaken but not stirred he picked up his machine and carried on.
We cycled towards Lancing College and half way down that track turned left towards Botolphs, eventually emerging at Coombe Farm buildings. GD and MR took a spill on a dodgy section of a footpath. GD drawing blood from a leg wound, KBS was on hand with spray on plaster to stem the flow. (In actual fact I have either severely bruised or suffered a hairline fracture to a lower ‘cuneiform bone’ in my right foot!)
This is an area where MR grew up and he waxed lyrical about his time, as a boy, spent lambing and searching for wild oats in the corn and barley fields; great memories.
We then followed a route found by PT some months ago that led us through Botolphs and onto a bridleway to the South Downs Way just west of Annington Road. We then cycled up towards Chanctonbury and back into Findon. It was about 10 miles today, short because of member commitments.
Saturday 16th October 2010
PT RT and FL set off up to Canctonbury via the A24, and carried on on the SDW to Langmead. West to the bottom of No Mans Land, and south to Cissbury car park, pausing twice for RT to have two blasteets. Observing RT struggling to pump up the tyre during the first blasteet, FL very kindly offered to “replace” RT (as if anyone could!).
We were blown along the west side of Cissbury, and then west to check MAs memorial which was found overgrown with ivy but in pristine condition. Brek was taken at the Lingalonga, to check standards after recent adverse reports. Standards were no less than one could expect. 10.5 miles, and 1000 feet climbed.
Saturday 23rd October – The Ride To Kevin House
RT, DS, GD, CB, MR, JR, KBS, Sam, RT Jr. all met for the ride to Turvey House. Lovely weather as we set off up Stable Lane in fine spirits. 40 minutes later, we had covered 2.3 miles and suffered a series of unfortunate blast eets, hence the slow progress! ZA called in to say that he had also suffered in the same way and as such, would be re-routing so unfortunately missed out on meeting the peleton. Note that JR assured us that a) ZA’s punctures were outside his garage and b) the weather would now close in as ZA was not en-route!
Progress sped up as we passed through Steyning and on up to the Orchard via the Downslink at a good pace. An excellent round of victuals and much tea was served up by a pretty waitress and before long, we were revitalised and back on our way up to Turvey House, having met with PT at Betley Bridge shortly before the brek.
The routemeister took the FGCC on a superb route through wood and dale after leaving the Downslink. Great views were available as we crossed the High Weald. It was a fantastic stage of the ride and we made excellent progress towards our destination. As we neared Haywards Heath, DS asked PT if he thought we would arrive at chez PT before the rain arrived?? The question was swiftly answered with a flash of lightning and peals of thunder that preceeded a deluge of rain.
Consequently, we arrived at Turvey House looking like drowned rats that had been jet washed with mud. Fortunately, Lynn had anticipated this and a ready supply of towels and hot showers got the Peleton cleaned up and ship shape.
A lovely chicken casserole and a superb selection of wines followed. All tucked in with relish before finishing off with apple pie and custard. Delightful! The pudding wines duly made their appearance and were well received, the highlight coming when GD had a petrified spider in his glass that had obviously made a home of the bottle in 1998 before being drowned in fine wine!
A great ride, terrific hospitality and good company. Somewhere around the 37 mile mark and no idea how much climbing but not a great deal…..
Embelishments and pictures to follow perhaps?????
Saturday 30th October 2010. 7.30am ride.
PT, CB, KBS, FL, MR and GD were out this morning, it was the day before the clocks went back and we were on the road before sunrise. With patchy cloud and southerly winds it was a ride of two halves really, half was down hill and the other, severely uphill with no apparent flat bits!
PT, KBS and GD plotted a route that took us west towards Clapham village via Church Hill and the bridleway that runs parallel above Long Furlong. The torrential rain last night on the slippery chalk and wet protruding roots made the going very hazardous. On reaching Clapham Woods we descended, at some speed, onto the A27 and then, covered in spray and mud, we headed east towards Worthing before going uphill again towards High Salvington on Cote Street.
We reached that summit and after regaining our breath set off again down the other side on the bridleway emerging half way down Bost Hill. Crossing the Findon Road in Findon Valley we cycled up (again) towards Cissbury, there we parted company with CB and went south to begin a circular route of the ring. We followed a zig-zag track through the woods east of Findon Valley finishing above Coombe Rise. From there it was a gruelling climb back towards the summit of Cissbury and a well earned rest some 500 yards from the top, PT crying out like Bubba in Forest Gump, ‘I wanna go home now.’
Here we took in the views and for some reason began discussing VAT and the fact that biscuits do not generate VAT for the government but sadly jaffa cakes do, PT was an absolute authority on the subject. KBS listened intently while MR fired our emotions even further by revealing a recent newspaper article that alleged Chancellor, George Osborne, failed to collect 6BN in taxes from a well known phone company and then went on to second several of its top employees into prominent advisory roles in government! With that thought rumbling around inside our heads we had plenty of frustration to burn off on our final quarter mile climb to the to the top.
After admiring the magnificent views once more we departed Cissbury and as we arrived at the National Trust boundary, on a short but very steep slope, KBS snapped his front brake cable. It was followed immediately by a cry of panic from the man, (Oh) Then, rapidly gathering momentum, he careered head on into a wire fence. It was great riding skills from KBS that prevented him from flying straight over the fence like an arrow as his bike came to an immediate stop. Thankfully, there was no injury to man or machine and we were able to laugh about it on the way back into Findon.
Only 9.8 miles today but at least 6 of that was up hill, some 1639 feet of climb.