Wednesday, August 06, 2008

West Harting Recce

Billy-Bob's injuries were keeping him off his bike this week, and John was waylaid by work commitments. Jon and Al stuck to the original arrangement and met at the main car park of QE Park with no particular plan in mind. After a quick (Al had forgotten to bring cakes and tea-making facilities) squint at the map they decided to tackle a modified version of the route demonstration by Wrong John last summer: We thought we would spice the ride up with a ride through West Harting Down, a wooded section employed by the course planners to provide further punishment on the recent Chichester Challenge.

The pair progressed at a leisurely pace out of the Park towards Charlton, stopping briefly to allow John to adjust his saddle before turning cross country at the top of the climb out of the village. There was slight confusion when we joined the road before we found the overgrown and obscured footbridge over the railway line at Woodcroft Farm. We then picked up the obvious bridle path towards West Harting Down. Jon's recent mileage was showing itself as he raced to the top of the Down leaving Al to eat his dust. There was only a minor mix-up that was soon rectified by confirming our location on the map using the GPS before getting on our way again.

Al and Jon take a break after
their climb to the top of the downs

Joining the familiar South Downs Way we headed for Buriton, taking a track known as the Milky Way down the hillside towards the village. The Milky Way is certainly not named after the sweet chocolaty treat from our childhoods - it was boggy, muddy, slippery and muggy. It was a relief to get back on the road, and past the tithe barn which surely would have had Billy-Bob wetting himself if he were with us. A quick pint of Badger's Fursty Ferret in the Five Bells (supplemented with chocolate energy bars left over from Jon's weekend in Afan) and we were back out for the village, bound for the western entrance to the QE Park. Again Jon made short work of the deadly climb while Al lagged behind.

John waits for Al at QE's rear entrance

We continued climbing through the Park, joining the Red Route once inside, which took us even higher. We skimmed round the northern fringes of the park before turning downhill. The route we took back to base was different to the one previously used and had much sharper turns than before. The dank conditions and rain earlier in the day made the trail treacherous. We arrived back at our cars in one piece though without major incident.

Route Map (click to enlarge):

Elevation Profile:

(Posted by: Al)

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At 12:37 am, August 12, 2008, Blogger simon said...

Well it seems that there is quite a bit of riding going on guys! good stuff!

At 12:24 pm, August 12, 2008, Blogger lorenzothellama said...

You imply that Milky Way no longer exists. Is this really true? I used to love them!

That Badger's beer sounds good.

At 2:03 pm, August 12, 2008, Blogger TCA said...

No, I imply that our childhoods are no longer.



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