Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Attack of the Jo(h)ns

A return to Hambledon this week and by the time we were assembled all were champing at the bit to get under way. Al and Jon (without an 'h') were joined by John (with an 'h') - communication with the rest of the group would at least be simple for Al. For John (with an 'h'), who has previously had a brush with the TCA on a day-time excursion, this would be the first taste of an evening ride. We settled for the usual route via Soberton and Newtown to introduce our latest recruit to a ‘regular’ ride. It was the first evening of the summer season officially deemed ‘shorts weather’ (although 'baggies' rather than the unsightly lycra variety is the TCA apparel of choice).

The Jo(h)ns

We’d enjoyed a sustained period of dry sunny weather for a week or more which had really dried the tracks out so progress was fast and descents were sure. We got to the White Lion without incident and as usual Jon (without an 'h') and Al ordered pints of ‘Palmers 200’. John (with an 'h') had a ½ pint of fizzy lager – he has much to learn. It made a pleasant change drinking outside in the evening sun rather than huddling inside by the fire defrosting! After asking for help with the customary photo (below) we made our way round the corner to the disused railway line.

A toast to absent friends, The White Lion

Al hung onto Jon (without an 'h')'s wheel and got a tow from the slipstream as he used his long levers to propel himself to top speed on the hard-packed surface. John (with an 'h') however was new to this trick and got somewhat left in the wake. Jon (without an 'h') and Al got to the infamous climb up the embankment in what felt like record time and John (with a 'h') caught up in a couple of minutes. The rules of the TCA’s Railway Embankment Challenge (as described before here) were explained to John (with an 'h') before Al took what was to be a successful attempt on the first pass. Jon (without an 'h') went next but was caught out on the tricky first bend.

Jon's familiar walk of shame

John (with an 'h') followed but, having never seen the course before, took a wrong turn into the undergrowth. Jon (without an 'h') took advantage of the three attempts allowed on any one night but could not break his duck. Better luck for John (with an 'h') though who made it all the way to the top on only his second attempt. Jon (without an 'h') looked as sick as a parrot as John (with an 'h') celebrated wildly.

John makes mincemeat of the
Railway Embankment

Up through the Forest of Bere then, the tricky but familiar (freshly sanded) descent before calling in at the Traveler’s. We were surprised to see the outside rear bar open for the first time (below) – a sure sign that summer’s on it’s way.

Al, Jon (without an 'h) and John (with an 'h')
'in' the Traveler's Rest outside bar

Green King Abbott and more fizzy stuff was ordered and the ride dissected before the meandering ride home via the country lanes. A late treat was the sight of little owl flying across in front of the riders before a dinner of chilli con carne in front of Hotel Babylon on the telly.

Route Map (click to enlarge):

Elevation Profile:

Speed Profile:


(Posted by: Al)

Labels: , , , , ,


At 10:03 am, April 16, 2007, Blogger Ju's little sister said...

There's nothing wrong with fizzy lager! I think we've been over this before!

At 10:48 am, April 16, 2007, Blogger TCA said...

Fizzy lager is fine for cleaning bike chains but that is about it. Good to see the new recruit out and putting Jon without an 'h' to shame on the embankment challenge. The rear serving latch open at the Travellers?? so soon, it must be warm!

At 12:27 pm, April 16, 2007, Blogger TCA said...

JLS, "There's nothing wrong with fizzy lager!"... Poor deluded fool.

BB, Yes! The weather is unseasonal as I type (12:26, 16/04/07) it is 25 degrees outside.

"Fizzy lager is fine for..." Entries on a postcard please! I find the effervescence makes short work of a blocked toilet.


At 10:36 pm, April 16, 2007, Anonymous spm said...

3 suggested uses for fizzy lager:

1. Cleaning dog crap off the bottom of your shoes.

2. Drowning slugs

3. Buying pints for New Zealanders to shut them up!

At 1:08 am, April 17, 2007, Blogger Ju's little sister said...

Oh come on! You don't really think No3 would actually work do you?

At 1:19 am, April 17, 2007, Blogger TCA said...

Don't buy THIS New Zealander a pint of fizz; needless to say it wouldn't shut me up as I would demand, in the strongest possible terms, that it be replaced with a drink that tasted of something!


At 1:28 am, April 17, 2007, Blogger TCA said...

JLS - What's wrong lager-girl,scared you'll taste something?

(Slogan from Wynchwood brewery's Hobgoblin ad. campaign).


At 6:37 am, April 17, 2007, Anonymous Mrs BB said...

Now now children!!!! There are two things wrong with fizzy lager...
1) It's fizzy
2) It's lager
nuff said!

At 10:53 am, April 20, 2007, Blogger TCA said...

That's my girl.



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