Sunday, July 16, 2006

The Chichester Challenge 2006

Team TCA from left to right: Scott; Jon; Al

An early breakfast was the order of the day as team TCA prepared for their second attempt at the 'Chi Chal.' There are a number of categories for entry: several walks of varying distance; a few runs and two distances of off-road bike-rides - 30km and 55km. The 'off' for the 55km was 08.30 so, having kitted up at Jon's around 07.00, Al and Jon met Scott at the start line around 08.00 to discuss tactics. The temperature was already well into the mid-20s centigrade.

Elite athletes are interviewed before the 'off'

As the horn was sounded by the mayor all the tactics went out of the window as Scott shot off into the distance on his fixed-gear bemoth (crazy fool!) never to be seen again that day... Jon and Al initially also got separated in a bizarre 'novice horse-rider plus dog blocks the path' incident. However, Jon caught up with Al on the first ascent, only for Al to pull away on the following down hill section; and so it continued. After the first long ascent past the familiar charcoal burners we caught our breath and regrouped at the first check point over a cup of water.

The first 1/4 of the route followed our regular route up onto the South Downs way east of Harting Down and, having finally reached the top, Al slowly pulled away from John with his lower centre of gravity finally paying off. I think we perhaps both took stock after passing a less fortunate rider who had had a nasty spill on the very fast but rutted section of the track, just before the Royal Oak at Hooksway. We were perhaps reminded of Jon's rather nasty 'off' when we previously entered this event (severe enough to split his helmet!).

At around half-way Al pulled up for an snack (Above) and was caught up by Jon after a few minutes who cracked open his multi-grain feast (it looked much more appetising than Al’s very chewy Boots toffee & banana flavoured energy bar). Still, it was a relief to stop under the shade of a tree to get out of the boiling sun. We settled back in the saddle and soon hit the official half-way checkpoint above Buriton, got our cards stamped, took on more water and pushed on knowing that there would be time to get our breath back on the long, tarmac descent.

We were able to stay together for most of the remaining 17 miles; Jon edging ahead on the up-hill sections, Al screaming past on the down-hills. Or so it was until Al missed a sign-post on the gradual climb to the hills above Chichester. Having put in about 0.5km in the wrong direction Al noticed Jon in the distance climbing a different track – something of a Whacky Races moment. Turning round in hot pursuit Al got within 50 meters of his quarry on the super-fast descent and caught Jon at the final check-point. The last, slightly tedious, road-ride back into Chicester is a slog we were only too familiar with having done it many times on the ‘long Chicester route'. We eased the pain a little by slip-streaming a group of 5 rather fit-looking cyclists who towed us along nicely.

We crossed the line together, after approximately 4.5 hours and immediately made our way to the bacon butty stall, and then the fabled Women’s Institute stand for a cuppa and a slice of cake. We reflected on our super-human acheivement but were brought back down to earth during a chat with a chap who had just completed the 23 miles x-country run (a TRAINING run for an ultra-distance event in Switzerland). Having taken on essential nutrients and being thoroughly demoralised we had a quick pint before rather painfully remounting and cycling the short distance back across town back to Jon’s for a much-needed shower.

(Posted by: Al)

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16 Comments:

At 12:16 am, July 27, 2006, Blogger simon said...

i note a distinct lack of lycra!

 
At 1:53 pm, July 27, 2006, Blogger TCA 2006 said...

Lycra is banned in the TCA...

 
At 12:28 am, July 28, 2006, Blogger simon said...

i like the look of the Scott. They seem to have all the good gear too and the quality..

I bought my daughter a Giant Iguana hardtail. Not bad, but Scott is better

 
At 11:17 am, July 28, 2006, Blogger TCA 2006 said...

Was that John being interviewed by the race marshall? steriods suspected no doubt. Could not agree more - no Lycra!

 
At 11:52 pm, July 31, 2006, Blogger simon said...

I think the camera man is on a special "down hillers" diet... ( more weight = more speed)....

 
At 11:42 pm, August 01, 2006, Blogger Ju's little sister said...

The reporter is obviously inquiring into the lycra shortage.

 
At 12:05 am, August 04, 2006, Blogger simon said...

ha!

 
At 11:53 am, August 06, 2006, Blogger Ju's Mum said...

Hmmm

 
At 11:55 am, August 06, 2006, Blogger Ju's Mum said...

Anyway ... why is Simon interested in lycra ?

 
At 12:00 am, August 07, 2006, Blogger simon said...

Because I ride in it. I find it has some advantages. eg drys quickly, is warm, flexable, ie i can use different leggings depending on how cold it is...etc.

It also give a degree of protection from gravel and injury (so I have found when falling off)

 
At 1:05 am, August 07, 2006, Blogger Ju's little sister said...

Yeah whatever trevor!

 
At 8:17 am, August 07, 2006, Blogger simon said...

gawd! I feel like.. I need to justify myself! anyway did a total of 250k last week, does that allow me to apply for membership to TCA??

 
At 9:22 am, August 07, 2006, Blogger TCA 2006 said...

There are strict rules of entry in the TCA, mileage and ardent commentary on the comments page of the TCA blog do not qualify I'm afraid... Like the Masons, the mystic qualification criteria are closely guarded by the founding fathers.

:o)

Al

 
At 4:45 am, August 08, 2006, Blogger Ju's little sister said...

What about freakishly large feet?

 
At 10:11 am, August 08, 2006, Blogger TCA 2006 said...

What! who has been talking about the size of my feet? B.B

 
At 2:50 am, August 09, 2006, Blogger simon said...

mmnnnn. will have to think about what is required. membership to the rumble club perhaps?.... secret handshakes.....sadly I am a size 9 in shoes..

 

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