Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Fantastic Five!

A record number of TCA riders (Below, left to right: Jon; Jerry; Al; Ade; Julie) set out from the Haslemere recreation ground car park this week to tackle another legendary TCA route...

As we sped up Scotland Lane, past the Billy-Bob pad, to rendezvous at the recreational ground for the famous Haslemere ride it was clear that the Billy-Bob pad (our starting point of old) had seen better days: The havoc created by builders could clearly be seen - materials, equipment and vans strewn around, vegetation dug up and ripped out; a sad site indeed. [If we had some photos, we would send them on, Ed.]

On a brighter note, we started the ride with FIVE members, the TCA is growing fast! In fact it should have been six but Scott never arrived before the alloted departure time. Having done our pre-ride checks our brakes at least were soon tested cycling down the boulder strewn track, off the road adjacent to the car park, and onto the route proper. This was safely negotiated by all, including our newest recruit, Jerry.

We then rode back up the steep hill in good spirits, though the field towards Stedlands Farm and National Trust land (Map 1). In the past some of us (mentioning no names) would have chosen the alternative easier route, around the perimeter of this field, but not today - we all took the steeper direct approach, all having to resort to pushing before the summit. Onto Black Down and Jon did the usual stripping of excessive clothing routine, a little pessimistically preempting the early onset of winter in his choice of attire.

Once at Temple of the Winds (right), we stopped to admire the fantastic view of the North Downs; apparently at the highest point in Sussex. The route off the 'Temple' to the south takes in the awsome 'Black Death Alley', a fearsome descent which has to be respected (Map 2). Having reached the bottom without incident we joined the steep, winding road though Quellwood Common, scene of one of the most notorious crashes of modern TCA history, and on towards the Noah's Ark at Lurgashall. The peleton then dramatically split as Jerry (who was leading) decided to show off his local knowledge, taking the road rather than the track off to the left beside the carvan park. The race for the pub was on! Al, Jon and Ju took the more familar Windfallwood Common off-road route, Jerry and Ade the (marginally longer) road route. Waiting for Julie took its toll on Al and Jon's frantic initial pace and the road boys earned a narrow victory. More time-trial training is obviously required for Julie before the routes are reversed on the next Haslemere outing.

The postmortem over pints of Green King 'Abbot Ale' at the Noah's Ark dissipated any hard feeling (left). Everyone commented on what a fine pint it was until Al realised that his pint was particularly flavoursome due to its added ingredients; an encrusted layer of dead flies at the bottom of the glass which had survived the dishwasher. With the landlady suitably chastised we then reviewed the map so that Jon and Al could try and remember the rest of the route. There was also a brief debate amongst the novice riders about the length of the ride and whether the lights would hold out. Queue much incredulity from Al and Jon for the second week in a row - just wait until the winter sets in and we START the ride in the dark! We rode off but quickly came to a halt as we realised Julie had a flat tyre. Adrian manfully came to the rescue and proudly announced that he would repair it in double-quick time. The repair was completed in a reasonable time and, had he not put the wheel back on the wrong way round, such that the disc and brake calipers were on opposite sides of the forks, would have made a fine fist of things... such a fine line between hero and dawk!

Ten minutes later we were on the road up past Shotters farm and Highstead Lane towards our next port of call (Map 3). We negotiated a muddy, and increasingly dark, Verdley Wood where Al, Jon and Julie did their best to lose Adrian and Jerry for a laugh, pulling the classic TCA 'double back behind a hedge manouver'. Had Ade and Jerry shown any consideration for their missing companions this would have worked a treat, but they carried on regardless. Regrouping at the pub (the one with the trout... editor?) [that'll be the Cumberland Arms (below) famed for it Sunday lunches, Ed.], we sampled some Everards (Correct me if I am wrong editor) [Too right - Everards 'Beacon' to be precise! The best thing to come out of Leicestershire since Gary Lineker! Ed.] which Jerry kindly brought us. As usual Adrain and Julie had 'forgotten' to bring any money.

This week's caption competition;

submit your entry in the ‘comments’!

The final stretch of the ride was a mixture of Al and Jon's vague recollections along the lines of "Are you SURE it's this way"; "Errr.. I think so"; "I have never been here before in my life... Oh, yes I have - THIS WAY EVERYONE!". Through Fernhurst (Map 4) and Leazers Wood, the famous incident of the wrong turning was told at Crab/ Kingsley Copse where in bygone days the TCA managed to go round in circles three times. By now it was dark and we were closing in on Haslemere (Map 1). We said our goodbyes to Jerry, as he peeled off towards home, hoping he had not been put off by our collective lack of pace, irresponsible consumption of alcohol, disregard for the effectiveness of our lights, amateur attempts at basic bike maintenance, juvenile practical jokes, shaggy-dog style anecdotes of past rides, or the sight of Ade in his underpants in the car park. Wondering what happened to Scott (who has perhaps already learnt these lessons) we drove back to our respective homesteads past the Billy-Bob house, which looked better in the dark.

Route Maps

Map 1

Map 2

Map 3

Map 4

(Posted by: Jon)

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At 12:44 am, September 02, 2006, Blogger Ju's little sister said...

ABOVE: An aritist's impression of the transition of the Earth Goddess through the seasons, from left to right she morphs:- The Maiden(spring)-The Mother(summer)-The Crone(autumn). Note Death(winter) obverves from the right.

At 12:56 am, September 02, 2006, Blogger Ju's little sister said...

Jerry's reaction to the alcohol had Jon more than a little worried, meanwhile Al was concerned that Ade hadn't zoomed in on him enough and Julie hadn't been given her pint yet.

At 1:02 am, September 02, 2006, Blogger Ju's little sister said...

(Last one... for now)

Pictured:Three of the cyclists only minutes before they were tragically slaughtered by their companion Miss Prouting. The fourth victim took the picture. Witnesses said she continued to scream "Who's holding you up now?" as she repeatededly smashed their heads in with a bicycle wheel.

At 5:00 am, September 02, 2006, Blogger simon said...

Caption:- "barman there's a fly in my ale!"

seriously! i have not laughed as hard for ages until I read about the "flavoursome" ale.

great work!

At 9:23 pm, September 02, 2006, Anonymous Billy Bob said...

Excellent Blog - hillarious. I think we are onto something here! Ju's little sis -splendid entries I like the third entry thus far if a little bit violent.

I'm a little bit concerned about the write up on my house!:O( hope the buiders have started on the right one... off to consider a capiton quote now... B.B

At 9:45 pm, September 02, 2006, Anonymous Mrs BB said...

The groups reaction to the sight of Ade taking a picture of them dressed only in his skimpy tarzan thong. (Al used his last two remaining crisps to cover his eyes).

At 5:24 am, September 03, 2006, Blogger Ju's little sister said...

Oh I like Mrs BB's the best!

At 1:38 pm, September 06, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh Mrs BB so you've seem my thong too, sorry about that!


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