Thursday, February 15, 2007

Valentine's Antidote

After the inevitable conversation about their respective and contrasting Valentines nights' exploits Jon and Al set off from the house, leaving Matt behind to his 'studies', Al looking an ill man - worse for wear due to a serious bout of man-'flu. Local guide Jon picked one of the TCA's favourite short routes; up the trundle and around Goodwood to Charlton. The pair set off at a fair rate having not ridden for at least a couple of weeks but it was soon noted that Al was suffering and lagging behind significantly, complaining that it felt as if he had only one lung. The stretch along side the Goodwood motor racing circuit was hard going due to recent rain but finding the least muddy and wet part of the track next to circuit's fencing we made steady progress.

Once back on the road we sped through East Lavant and past the Royal Oak and onto the Trundle. This is one of Jon's favourite and well practiced uphills therefore it was agreed that the riders would meet at the top. Jon duely got to the top with ease and could see Al's flickering lights gradually ascending some way behind, he could also see another set of lights catch up and soon overtake the stricken Al! Is it a bird, is it a plane, had Matt decided to come after all to exorcise the trundle demons?! No, an even more unlikely scenario was unfolding - we had met another mountain biker! This is a rare occurrence for the TCA in the winter and Jon chatted enthusiastically with the lone rider at the top for what felt like half an a hour whilst waiting for Al, who by now was in some respiratory distress.

We eventually went our separate ways (Al and Jon, and the lone biker) and tranversed along the trundle on open, exposed downland towards Goodward horse racing track. There was a bracing head wind but this was nothing compared to the infamous "Winter Olympics" snow-biking night we had with Billy Bob last year. Once across the down there was a satisfying, steep downhill towards the horse racing circuit. We then joined the road past the main grandstand after which Jon decided to ride along the horse rutted grass verge which was hard work; Al preferred to conserve energy but compromise on fun by taking the easier option of riding the road alongside. Soon both riders were off the road heading down Chalk Road track through Charlton Park (although Al almost went wrong momentarily heading off towards East Dean on his own). The descent was muddy, wet and slippery - front wheels seemed to be have a mind of their own!

The time of night for refreshment soon arrived as we approached The Fox Goes Free in Charlton. A pint of Ruddles County re-energised us at the bar and the now traditional posing for photographs (below) seemed to entertain the locals. On the road again, we rode up Knight's Hill; a steep and cold uphill unwelcome after coming straight out of the warm pub, Al's breathing difficulties exacerbated by the smoky conditions in the bar at the Fox. A slight diversion from the usual route at the top of the hill took us via a short cut over Cross Dyke towards the car park by the top of the Trundle. It was demanding following the path through grass but we soon sped down the trundle track, Chalkpit Lane past the site of Matt's spot of bother. [Al easily making up for his lack of pace on the same part of the track earlier in the evening, becoming quite cold and bored as he waited at the bottom for Jon to make his sloth-like progress down the hill, Ed.]. The next port of call was the local gastropub, the Royal Oak for a pint of Badger accompanied by some classy home made vegetable crisps.

Al, full of cold, struggles to get to the bar before the auto-timer.
Jon enjoys his pint alone.

Homeward bound then and Al stopped moaning and went into Duracel mode fueled by deep-fried parsnip, taking to heart Jon's local advice on how to ride the Goodward motor racing circuit section more efficiently. It was Jon's turn to lag on the muddy section but the duo soon arrived home for nosh in the form of a Hungarian Goulash, which it has to be said was not up to the usual high TCA standard - exercising the jaw muscles rather more than the taste buds - but filling a gap nevertheless. We took the taste away with some delicious millionaire's shortbread.

(Posted by: Jon)

Route Maps:

Map 1

Map 2

Map 3

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At 9:02 pm, February 26, 2007, Blogger Maalie said...

Nice one. How do you get the photo to come out in Sepia?

Good luck for the Quantocks weekend.

At 9:32 pm, February 26, 2007, Blogger Ju's little sister said...

Maalie has beat me to it - I was all set to start my comment with
"Sepia - niiiiiice!"

Sounds like it was a tough but rewarding expedition - well done to Al for fighting on. A pity you couldn't make it to the photo!

Glad to hear the TCA is still alive. Will there be a field trip to Devizes in the near future??

At 7:57 am, February 27, 2007, Blogger TCA said...

I think the Sepia effect is a quirk of the low battery and the poor lighting in the bar.

At 8:00 am, February 27, 2007, Blogger TCA said...

I am told a Wiltshire route is in the planning stages but we are still waiting for a formal invitation from our Devizes branch.

At 9:03 am, February 27, 2007, Blogger TCA said...

Sepia...I thought that was Johns normal complexion surely?. It sounds as though he had the lead on sick boy this ride!

I perused the familiar route at work today...imagine the scene when a Councillor asked me what I was reading. I palmed him off by telling him it was an international sustainable cycle report with a heritage assessment on local vernacular buildings and the man in the picture was an expert in carbon footprints -nice.


At 4:21 am, February 28, 2007, Blogger Ju's little sister said...

Very nice, smooth talking too. I'm starting to worry if I really want to be caught mountain biking with you BB. Which reminds me - when are you coming up?

At 5:46 am, February 28, 2007, Blogger TCA said...

What do you mean 'caught' mountain biking! as far as I know it is not a crime...yet. It must be the Kiwi engrained car culture in you talking.

Yes, we should fix a ride up soon, I am still pondering the Coromandel Classic..pondering being the operatative word.


At 9:51 am, February 28, 2007, Blogger Val Badger said...

Have a great time in the Quantocks!

At 4:02 pm, February 28, 2007, Blogger Tortoiseshell said...

Blimey Al looks shocking in the photo!

RUDDLES COUNTY is endorsed by the Tortoiseshell geocaching team.

At 3:17 am, March 02, 2007, Blogger Tortoiseshell said...

After several days lay off, am back to blogging in the company of Janice Long after midnight...

At 9:14 am, March 05, 2007, Blogger Ju's little sister said...

Ha ha, it wasn't the Mountain Biking I was afraid of BillyBob!

Time is growing thin unfortunately, as hockey season is fast approaching. Pondering might be all I'm good for at this rate!


At 10:10 pm, March 06, 2007, Blogger simon said...

I find riding with flu an interesting experience....certainly sepia ( ones skin colour) is not the only thing to worry about....its stopping the nose from running like a tap at speed


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