Thursday, July 26, 2007

Burying the Buriton Hatchet

With the Tour de France in crisis yet again over drug-taking allegations the TCA considered a silent protest ahead of their ride but time was pressing: We were behind schedule for the latest stage of our own adventure, this week from Hambledon to Buriton. In light of the weather forecast a contingency plan was in place in the event of 'rain of biblical proportions' but this was dismissed as the afternoon's heavy rain passed. Those who remember the account of our last visit to Buriton will no doubt recall the ensuing farce as the Sloppy Porridge Maker arrived in his 4x4 against the very ethos of the TCA's constitution: The TCA delegation set off to provide a one and only chance for the shamed rider to redeem himself.

Michael Rasmussen says "Stuff 'Le Tour' -
I'm off to join the TCA where I can take what I like"!

Jon exclaimed as we left that he always had a feeling that Rasmussen was cheating on account of him bring "extremely tall, thin and spotty". In any event he had obviously immersed himself in Le Tour as he set off, like the King of the Mountains, at a frantic pass out of Hambledon on the gradual ascent to The Bat and Ball. Al could handle the pace no more as the gradient increased towards the summit at Hyden Hill but Jon waited for Al before our route went off road for a short distance over Tegdown Hill. On towards the mighty Butser Hill and Jon conceded that, with his off-road tires and suspension, he had the more capable bike for the imminent descent to the Queen Elizabeth Country Park. Al, using his rigid bike fitted with road slicks, was keen to wager than he would make up for his lousy climbing ability and beat Jon to the bottom of the hill. He started to regret this decision as wheels, both rear and front, started locking up on the wet grass at the slightest touch on the brakes. He just about hung on to the bike and finally got away from Jon to win his pint of beer as the hill leveled out.

Still a little behind schedule we pressed on up and over the hill through the QE park before the steep descent into Buriton. Rolling into the car park at exactly 19.30, our predetermined rendezvous time, the Sloppy Porridge Maker (or Ian as he may now be known) did not let us down. Regaled in a magnificent fluorescent cycling jacket and hailing us with the immortal greeting "Two pints of bitter?", he instantly absolved any previous disagreement we might have had. In addition Jon and Al had recently failed their TCA dope test - their blood streams were found to have prohibitively low blood alcohol concentrations so the beers were long overdue.

Doped up: Al, Ian and Jon toast absent friends
at the Five Bells, Buriton

With our pints of River Cottage Stinger downed we mounted our bikes again and headed out of Buriton towards East Meon. Although the wind was gusty it was at least dry and occasionally the sun briefly made an appearance as we cycled steadily down the country lanes. Chat mainly revolved around logistics for next years 'boys weekend' scheduled for April in Scotland and other significant news since the fateful evening back in April when we last met.

Jon and Ian form the TCA peloton
on the way to East Meon

Arriving at Ye Olde George Inn at East Meon Jon got the riders a pint of Tanglefoot which was enjoyed on the quiet patio area at the rear of the pub. Ian, bound for a return to Petersfield, split from Jon and Al who headed over the South Downs ridge again for a return to Hambledon, and a traditional dinner of chilli con carne. The controversy-free future of the TCA seems back on track with any outstanding allegations of 'inappropriate vehicular application' lifted... if only it was this easy for all cycling institutions.

Route Map
(click to enlarge):

Elevation Profile:
(Posted by: Al)

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At 7:44 pm, July 27, 2007, Blogger Maalie said...

Sloppy porridge is OK if you put Xtra golden syrup in it. I suppose I would be too old to go on the Boys' Weekend?

At 10:40 pm, July 27, 2007, Anonymous spm said...

Thank god for no rain of biblical proportions as I don't think I could have coped with missing this event. It was a pleasure to participate in a section of this TCA event and I hope that I can make other guest appearances in the future.

The hatchet is buried and whingeing NZ sheepshagger has been erased from my phrase book - well until the next suitable time.

At 10:51 pm, July 27, 2007, Anonymous spm said...

Just looked at the blog report again I hope others don't get the impression that having little or no hair is a pre-requisite for TCA membership! Another thought is the consumption of Real Ale the cause?

At 12:12 am, July 29, 2007, Blogger simon said...

I have seen a old photo of the tour de france..where the riders are all outside a pub having a beer ( true) I think the photo dates back to the 1920 maybe 30's!

So TCA holds up the ORIGINAL doping style :o)

At 9:11 am, July 30, 2007, Blogger TCA said...

Good work SPM, glad to see you are now absolved from previous vehicular cheating events. Very glad to see the Five Bells is not flooded, now that would be a crime. Welcome Michael to the TCA, you may have to get yourself a mtn bike though and loose the lycra.


At 9:26 am, July 30, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great to see you kids playing nicely!


At 11:44 am, July 30, 2007, Blogger TCA said...

Simon, (TRUE indeed!) Thanks for the tip mate... I have found the picture you remember and added it to the post.

Perhaps The Tour and Le TCA have more in common than we first assumed!


At 3:41 pm, July 30, 2007, Blogger lorenzothellama said...

I hope you have now put some blood back in your alchohol stream.

You mustn't call Peter a tool! I can't get a new inner tube because I have tubeless tyres! Nowt wrong with the pump as I proved when I gave up on Peter and pumped the tyre perfectly well myself. I don't know ... what exactly are men for if they can't pump your tyres or get the spiders out!

At 7:45 pm, July 30, 2007, Blogger TCA said...

LtL, tubeless tyres are a mystery to me - I've never used them. Perhaps it needs replacing?

Simon, YOU use tubeless tyres, what's their active life-span?


At 10:23 am, July 31, 2007, Blogger simon said...

Lorenzo you have tubeless tyres and men cannot pump????

Gawd you are hanging around the wrong men...

Tubeless tyres last about 12 months in rocky country before they blister. BUT NO flat tyres EVER.

I note that an Aussie came 2nd in the tour... AND before that he rode a Cannondale in Mtn bike races (and won).

AND he CLEARLY does not use drugs (just listen to his voice!)

At 9:17 pm, July 31, 2007, Blogger lorenzothellama said...

I'm pretty sure the tyre doesn't have a puncture. The problem Peter had was he banged the sticky-out bit in the valve and all the air rushed out, and then he couldn't seem to pump it without air escaping. He uses one of those strange side-to pumps that I can't get the hang of so I tried with my conventional pump and I did it ok, but I can't seem to get them absolutely fully inflated, you know, rock hard, although Jack could.

I'm not sure about these tubeless tyres either. The bike came with them when I bought it. I was told that they get harder with use and not so likely to puncture. They have never blistered. Do you think I should replace them with ordinary tyres?

At 3:21 am, August 01, 2007, Blogger simon said...

no. They are much better than tube tyres.

Take it to a bike shop and get them to add finileak. With this stuff, even if you run over nails the tyre automatically seals the hole! It works! 100%


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