Thursday, April 10, 2008

Spring Saunter

Detained in recent weeks with rounds of travel for work John and Al both needed to stretch their legs. Sadly all others were otherwise engaged and with no pressure the relatively easy decision was taken to tackle the regular route from Hambledon. Em accompanied John on this occasion, not to take advantage of the world-class cycling coaching but rather to catch up on gossip with Tee while the boys hit the trail.

The boys were both rather nervous with respect to their ability – John had been abusing the hospitality afforded to the international traveler while in the Middle East; Al was recovering from a coccyx injury after a fall down the stairs the previous week, compounded by a couple of long-haul flights. However, with recent significant outlay on a new frame (John) and a comprehensive service (Al) they were keen to justify the expense. Both mounted their bikes tentatively, blinking in the sunlight – the first ‘daylight start’ either recalled this year. They headed up Cams hill as usual to start the ride.

John’s indulgences seemed not to hinder him significantly while Al complained of shooting pains in his posterior as they got off-road. The Hampshire bridle paths were in good condition though after several days of dry weather, despite the recent snow. The pair pulled into the White Lion, ordered their beers and made the most of the fading day-light (below). It was the first real chance that Al had had to admire John’s new Kenesis Maxlight frame, the aesthetic of which was clearly augmented by yet another set of new tyres.

The disused railway was dry but a leisurely pace ensued as the pair caught up with recent each other’s news. Before long the pair had reached the fearsome embankment: It took Al a couple of shots to make it all the way to the top but John, failing on his first attempt, uncharacteristically refraining from blaming his new tyres, satisfied himself that in his current form he would not be able to do the challenge justice.

Up and over the hill in the Forest of Bere as usual the pair were soon in the Traveler’s Rest. The ranks of the locals swelled by the early-season campers who had started to fill the field behind the pub. John plumped for his regular pint of Bombardier while Al had his usual, a pint of Abbot. Within a few mouthfuls John had to return his beverage though – it seemed clear that the lines had not been flushed through sufficiently, reminiscent of a previous trip here.

Beers sunk all that remained was the short ride down the country lane back to Hambledon. The temperature had plummeted – and to think that Al had considered wearing shorts! It was only 4ºC when they got back to base. Thankfully Tee and Em had not been so lost in gossip that they forgot to put the dinner on – a wholesome meal of chilli and rice greeted the boys on their return.

Route Map (click to enlarge):

(Posted by: Al)

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At 6:57 am, April 22, 2008, Blogger simon said...

Is there anything worse than not having ridden for a few weeks? well done boys!!

At 12:21 am, April 26, 2008, Blogger simon said...

...mmmnnn seems quiet here!


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