Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Lone Ranger Rides Again

Fortunately John's 'rear end trouble' has cleared up by this week but he is still unable to make it for a ride with the TCA as he’s in Brecon catching up with some old friends from his days as an air steward. With no one else to consider I make an impromptu decision to make Tuesday TCA night, since the weather was perfect: In contrast to last week it was nearly 20°C, warm, windless and sunny. I leave a little earlier than usual as I had my favorite regular route in mind - The Old Winchester Hill and Beacon Hill Summit Circuit.

In the murk of last week I didn't make the slight diversion to the top of Old Winchester Hill after traversing the ridge. This week though I made the short trip down the track to take in the view from the trig point (above, left). This is one of my favorite places and being alone on the summit brings a smile to my face as I remember good times: Butterfly spotting with my father; the legendary Bowman cook-off; bonfire night with Tee and the many walks I've done with an assortment of people in an assortment of weather that take in this ancient and special site. Still, I can’t hang around this ride generally takes about three hours and I am conscious that I might make it round before dark if I keep pressing on.

The descent into West Meon is an exhilarating ride down a single-track road into a chocolate-box village of thatched roofs with a couple of country pubs. It is however on a nusy road and experience has taught me that the pubs are not as good as they look. Rather than take the busy main road I make a short detour staying on country lanes before starting the gradual ascent of Beacon Hill from Warnford. As I climb the hill past a couple of impressive Aberdeen Angus bulls the sun slips behind the hill, the light fades and the temperature starts to dip.

I put my feet up after the long climb (right), check in with home by ‘phone and eat an energy bar. Although climbing is obviously more tiring it’s important not to be too worn out before a long descent – standing on the pedals and concentrating on the line can be strenuous. The ride from Beacon Hill all the way to Soberton is about 3.5 miles at top-speed and re-fueled I hit the road again and enjoy the chilly drop.

Back to Sheep Pond Lane then, and the familiar return via Soberton. Whistling past the pubs I am tired and hungry after nearly two and a half hours in the saddle. Tee had prepared mock chicken risotto on my return; I wolfed it down even before getting changed. After the routine shower and change I have a satisfying glass of wine, after all TCA night just wouldn't be the same without a tipple.


Route Map (click to enlarge):


Elevation Profile:


Speed Profile:

(Posted by: Al)

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12 Comments:

At 10:43 am, April 01, 2007, Blogger Ju's little sister said...

BEing an Air Force girl (albeit a failry sad and quiet Air Force) I am insanely jealous of you and BB, as I would love to be buzzed by a chinook helicopter. That would be so cool!

I'm glad there's someone out there keeping the TCA alive, but I have been pondering...
If you were alone - who took the photos?

And don't give me any of the electrikery, self-timing namby pamby nonsense! (Poser)

 
At 12:37 am, April 03, 2007, Blogger simon said...

well I am glad there are "serious" riders in the TCA!

Mate, the bike! its a Giant! Where is the Scott? I note its a rigid? did you choose to ride it becasue of the terrain, or is there another reason?

I have an interesting situation:- I am running tubeless tyres.. and the rear tyre is now blistering! about 12 all up and all along the crown. Bizzare!

 
At 5:43 am, April 03, 2007, Anonymous SPM (sloppy porridge maker) said...

No wonder you were knackered carrying that lump of concrete in the shape of a trig point on your back!

 
At 5:46 am, April 03, 2007, Anonymous SPM said...

Postscript - in case the reader thinks I am some sad sod writing on blogs at 4:43 in the morning - it is actually one hour later and the birds are making an awful racket in the garden. The blog site seems to be in British Winter Time.

I thought you would have had this sorted AL

 
At 8:46 am, April 03, 2007, Blogger TCA said...

JUS - you guessed it, self timer.

Simon - read previous posting for full explanation of the Giants/Scott issue.

SPM - I'm on the case.

 
At 10:54 am, April 03, 2007, Blogger TCA said...

Testing time stamp...

 
At 10:55 am, April 03, 2007, Blogger TCA said...

Time stamp accurate. Thanks Sloppy!

 
At 11:00 am, April 03, 2007, Blogger TCA said...

ahh yes the infamous Bowman cook off, pretty windy weather if I recall. Hey mate, I am starting to notice more artistic and slighty moody poses for your Blog reports?!

Good to see Scott in action still.

B.B

Well spotted SPM by the way.

 
At 8:04 am, April 04, 2007, Blogger TCA said...

Artistic & moody? That's me to a tee!

A

 
At 10:39 pm, April 05, 2007, Blogger Maalie said...

It's still the only place I have seen the Chalkhill Blue butterfly...

Oooo! Oooo! Oooo! I've got them chalkhill blues....

 
At 10:45 pm, April 05, 2007, Blogger Maalie said...

What exactly is a mock chicken?

 
At 2:48 pm, April 12, 2007, Blogger TCA said...

It's the risotto that was mock, not the chicken.

 

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