Thursday, August 10, 2006

Ade joins the ranks of the REC club

Route: Hambledon #1
Present: Ade, Al, Jon

There was some debate about which night of the week the TCA would be abroad this week, with Julie now regularly committed to rugby training on a Thursday evening and Al being unavailable on Wednesday. While Julie held the moral high ground due to her exemplary attendance record in recent weeks, Al knew that Ade and Jon were both eager to attempt the infamous Kingsmead Railway Embankment Challenge (also follow this link for a full route details of Hambledon #1 Route). And so it was that 'the boys' set out from Hambledon with a single objective in mind.

The weather conditions were perfect and the sustained dry period had dried out the tracks. The cool, overcast conditions made for comfortable riding for the first time in weeks. Since this was Ade's first experience riding from Hambledon all the traditional privileges of a 'first timer' were bestowed on him: We stopped at Al's local Geocache Walk this Way, and allowed Ade first dibs at the first serious downhill of the evening from Shere Copse. We also resurrected the Driftway Race, a dash across the field with the first rider onto Crookhorn lane declared the winner. Ade, given the traditional head-start, set off at a frantic pace - taking the rather unorthodox route across the stubble of the corn field - while Al and Jon tailed him from the track. Ade seemed to run out of steam with only a few hundred yards to go leaving Al to overtake him at the death.

All this excitement called for a pint at our traditional watering hole, The White Lion at Soberton (the loser of the Driftway Race buying the beers as ancient custom and practice dictates). It was with some trepidation that we entered the pub as this was the first time we had patronized 'The Whitey' since Graham the landlord had left for pastures new. However, our fears were allayed as very little seemed to have changed other than the addition of a large church pew positioned outside. There was also a distinct lack of dogs, even Al (who has a pathological fear of hounds)had to admit that he would miss the crazy antics of Spike and Bonzo (Graham's collies) rounding bikes up as they attempted to leave. Still, our usual favorite pint of 'Palmers 200' is safe and they do not yet seem to have installed a shag-pile carpet which would prohibit dirty cycling shoes. While the new barmaid would pass the (admittedly rather less than stringent) 'Billy-Bob test' she seems to need a bit of practice pulling pints, almost short changing us with enormous frothy heads, before being chastised by the new landlord and topping our drinks up.

Full pints at the White Lion, Soberton

The summer has seen the disused railway line turn from sloppy quagmire to hard-packed dirt track so progress was quick. Jon seemed to have particularly good form but blew all credibility as he quipped "...just waiting for you boys to catch up" as Ade and Al reeled him in, before collapsing in a tangled heap of limbs and push bike having hit a soft patch on the track (that will teach him to be so cocky, Ed.). No lasting damage done Jon picked himself up and dusted himself off in readiness for the Railway Embankment Challenge (REC).

Jon's first couple of attempts saw him falter at the tricky second bend in the track, as did Ade on his first try. However, showing outstanding form, Ade reached the top (albeit with the help of some robust encouragement from Al) on only his second attempt. There were jubilant scenes at the top of the bridge as Ade celebrated his accomplishment, Al likening it to obtaining his first ranking stripes in the TCA. Unfortunately Jon was head in hands after a further three goes (the maximum number of attempts allowed in any one session); using the same military analogy Jon was soon christened with the epithet 'Private Parsons', or 'Pikey' (after the Dad's Army character) which is sadly a name that is sure to stick.

Ade indulges himself in some celebratory abuse of Billy-Bob's bike

We continued through the Forest of Bere to the Traveller's Rest at Newtown for a celebratory drink (the loser of the REC buying the drinks as ancient custom and practice dictates) - Green King Abbot for Jon and Ade, Charles Well's Bombadier for Al. After a brief chat with some fellow cyclists on their way back to Rowlands Castle we took a leisurely amble by road in the opposite direction back to Hambledon where we were joined for dinner of chilli-con-carne by Julie.

Well done Ade; one more rung up the ladder towards full TCA membership!

(Posted by: Al)

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At 12:09 am, August 14, 2006, Blogger simon said...

I see! you have to serve an apprenticeship and proove yourself to become a member!

At 1:07 am, August 14, 2006, Blogger Ju's little sister said...

By the looks of it a person's choice of liquid refreshment and involvement in the after-challenge meal also factor into it, though Ju seems to have managed to slip through with her fizzy lager...

At 6:14 am, August 14, 2006, Blogger simon said...

yep. I noticed that too.. :o)

At 9:12 am, August 14, 2006, Blogger TCA 2006 said...

ahh yes fellow bloggers..there are indeed many an obstacle to overcome on route to full membership. I am not sure I approve of what Ade is doing to my beloved bike! but well done Ade nevertheless! Shame Bonzy and Spike have moved on and that nasty wooden pew detracts from the character of the pub in my view. B.B.

At 10:23 am, August 14, 2006, Blogger TCA 2006 said...


Yes, Tee had much the same comment Re: the church pew at the Whitey. However, bear in mind that it provides a much more stable platform for drinks than the rickety old benches of yore... feel better?


At 12:06 am, August 17, 2006, Blogger simon said...

hey I am very excited that you might consider posting one of the rides here in Aus!! Stay tuned.. :o)


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