Sunday, August 06, 2006

Failed Assault on the West Dean Chilli Festival

Present: Al, Tee

With the temperature already in the 20's C when we left at 10.00 we headed off on the tandem for the Annual Chilli Festival at West Dean, north of Chichester. The first part of the route took us up the gradual climb to the Bat & Ball before descending into Clanfield, over the A3 and finally into the country: The farmers were already bailing their straw from the mown wheat fields which had changed the familiar landscape overnight.

The first decent into Chalton saw us hit our highest speed for the day at 42.3 mph but our progress was slowed as we headed east out of the village up the first punishing hill. This seemed to be the reoccuring theme of the day: Although the terrain seems quite benign on a map, the area around the south downs undulates relentlessly. Unfortunately the 'ups' take much longer than the 'downs' and it therefore feels like most of the time is spent slogging up hill!

We followed the network of beautiful country lanes towards Compton as the weather got warmer. Still bearing East we got as far as Bevis's Thumb (SU 787 155) where we reviewed our situation - progress was a little slower than expected and Al had to be back in Hambledon by 3pm to play for a Village XI against a Parent's cricket team to raise money for the local primary school. The time was approaching 11.30 and with regret we turned our Tandem south towards Compton and West Marden in search of a pub lunch.

We finally arrived at Finchdean as the pubs opened for the day and both enjoyed a very reasonable Ham salad at the George (above), washed down with a fine pint of Youngs Best Bitter. On reflection, with temperatures approaching 30C on a very close and sticky day, this was probably a more sensible course of action than spending the afternoon sampling various mouth-scorching delicacies.

Having finished our lunch we took the southern approach back to Chalton (exchanging words of encouragement with another tandem team on their way in the opposite direction), completing a satisfying circular route before returning through Clanfield as before. We got back to base at 14:00 with the odometer reading 26.5 miles, tired and dehydrated but safe in the knowledge that we took the correct decision to abort our chilli mission. Although we failed in our original objective we had another great excursion on the tandem, and the consolation was that at least our tastebuds lived to fight another year!

(Posted by: Al)

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At 9:24 am, August 07, 2006, Blogger Maalie said...

I should have thought the Chilly festival would be ideal on a hot day. Can you really do over 40mph on a tandem?

At 12:00 am, August 08, 2006, Blogger simon said...

40mph is really quick~!

At 4:48 am, August 08, 2006, Blogger Ju's little sister said...

As long as you had a great time and enjoyed at least some form of refreshment... it sounded like an exciting ride, well done. Can't wait to hear the next installment. Congrats Simon on your 250km acheivement, and don't listen to us about the lycra...we're just teasing ;-)

At 10:14 am, August 08, 2006, Blogger TCA 2006 said...

I have been on the mighty tandem and I can vouch it has serious pedal power! Never mind mate there is always the Tomato Festival! B.B

At 2:46 am, August 09, 2006, Blogger simon said...

no offense taken. :-)

At 12:16 am, August 10, 2006, Blogger simon said...

guys what sort of lights do you have for night riding?? What are they like? anything you recommend??

At 2:16 pm, August 10, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Our brands of choice for lights are in teh 'links' section of the site on the right-hand side. Standard equipment are VistaLites, but I prefer those from Lumicycle, a British company making over-volted halogen lamps. They make some pretty meaty new lamps too but haven't tried them.


At 12:58 am, August 11, 2006, Blogger simon said...

thanks I will have a look


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