Ride to Streat, with apologies to Medwin
Friday 4th May 2.20pm. Group of 6 riders – Paul Topley, Zachary Allen, John Roche, Kim Bang-Sorensen, Francois Leroux and Richard Thomas – set off from Tudor Close in Findon Village. A little late, but not surprising with the plentiful supply of tea on offer from the Roche residence. Wet weather gear (which had been specially acquired for the C2C ride but had proven to not be required) was donned by most in view of the depressing conditions and light rain.
Route took us up Cissbury and straight on over towards the Steyning Road. At the top of the first hill we marvelled at the speed already being achieved following recent rides and our greatly improved levels of fitness. Wet weather gear generally removed following this exertion as it was proving wetter inside than out, only to have bared legs attacked by a bed of nettles that could not be avoided.
Onto the Steyning road and then down the concrete road in the Steyning bowl – an excellent adrenalin rush resulting in maximum speeds of over 40mph. However this indulgence prevented us from attending to the memorial at the bottom that had been the result of an achievement of 48mph and a sudden stop a few years ago.
Next across the river Adur and up Truleigh Hill. For once the whole group cycled all the way up, PT not stopping at all until the very top, though needless to say that the Dane got there in about half the time of the rest. A banana and sweet stop to re-energise and then off again.
The Nick Way memorial was reached at around 4.00pm, and its annual refurbishment was followed by the FGCC ode to the fallen – requiem post disequilibrium – though two passing walkers seemed a little confused by the occasion.
Past Devil’s Dyke and on to Nyetimber, where again a record was achieved with everyone being able to cycle all the way up, albeit a little slower this time. Time to stop and admire the scenery and comment on our luck with the weather during the ride.
On past the golf club at …… at which stage we seemed to encounter riders on an organised SDW ride. RT came across a rather unhappy rider who was walking his steed due to a puncture. FGCC team got into action and fixed the tyre, jokingly commenting that we hoped he could afford the bill that was being produced by Mr Roche, who was in fact sending yet another email on his PDA. A tenner was produced, but swiftly refused – we are the FGCC after all.
Then on to the Beacon where the rain started, with wet weather gear again being donned. A speedy and very wet descent to Streat, where we were granted another warm welcome by our hosts at North Acres, Valerie and John Eastwood, arriving at 6.00pm. Such a fast ride that for once we even arrived in advance of our LSV, Mr Ewart Nightingale.
An excellent B&B, but it has sadly had to close since then due to bureaucracy over fire regulations and competitive interests claiming that it was a hotel.
A great evening at The Winning Post pub in Plumpton Green, followed by a 2 mile stagger back through the unlit bridleway, but with no incidents of any note.
A proper full English Breakfast provided by our hosts accompanied by discussions varying from the state of our nation to the sadness of those who want punch and judy shows to be politically correct, and from culling of grey squirrels to the creation of weblogs – hence the FGCCblog (thank you John). Who wants to stay in a plastic hotel chain when you have such a great combination of entertainment and accomodation.
The return journey was a generally uneventful road ride along the north side of the south downs. One exception was the losing of the two continentals when the testosterone got too much and they insisted on chasing after two ladies on road bikes! Will they ever learn? The other exception was caused by the Dane taking us on yet another route that resulted in major injury to RT. Fortunately his camera survived, resulting in a fine picture of a fence.
Arrived back in Findon at 2.00pm, all agreed that it had been a particularly enjoyable ride. Thanks to Paul Topley for all the organisation.