Thursday, July 30, 2009

Glorious Goodwood

With John in foreign climes and Billy-Bob suffering from a cold and a shortage of brownie points it was left to Jon and Al to bear the TCA standard. It had been a sunny day punctuated by heavy showers but the clouds had cleared by the time Al got over to Chichester for the traditional pre-ride tea and cakes.

Two's Company

Leaving at 18:30 the pair headed for the trundle and followed the route of the recent Chichester Challenge up towards the South Downs. Notably Al was 'King of the Trundle' for the first time in many a month; hearing the familar sound of Jon crunching his gears with a few hundred yards to go Al made a victorious break for the line! The good weather, early start and the fact that Al had committed to stay at Jon's for the evening meant that they did not have to watch the clock this week so we reviewed the map once we had got firmly into the countryside.

Jon Checks the Route

Typically our circular routes would bear west along the South Downs way before returning to Chichester but we fancied a change; heading east towards Cocking we made for firm TCA favorite, the Fox Goes Free at Charlton.

On the ascent from Cocking we met with another cyclist, laden with an enormous rucksack, filling his water bottle at one of the municiple taps strewn along the South Downs Way. Our new companion explained that he had travelled from Sheffield that morning and was tackling the route from Winchester to Eastbourne with tow friends. Having done most of his biking in the peak district the cyclist explained that he had underestimated the difficulty of the constantly undulating terrain, and that they were running at least a couple of hours late.

Lush Greenery of an
English Summer Ride

As the one cyclist caught up with his companions the TCA turned south for the long descent to Cocking which felt well deserved after spending most of the evening peddling up hill so far. It was not long before the pair were enjoying pints for Harvey's Sussex Bitter. Cocking was awash with Range Rovers and sozzled race goers - this week marked the opening day of Glorious Goodwood at the race course high on the hill above us.

Toast to Absent Friends,
The Fox Goes Free

Leaving the pub we hit the tortuous climb by road up the northern approach to the Trundle. We were afforded views across the the race course and the usually quiet back road with taxis ferrying racegoers back to Chichester from the various country pubs around the estate. As we approached the descent on the homeward leg of our journey is was time to light up for the first time in weeks.

The Royal Oak was packed full of race-goers in all their finery enjoying a meal after their day-out. Jon and Al looked only a little out of place splattered with mud in their cycling gear - more like jockeys we suppose! In any event the pair found a table outside and enjoyed two pints of Horsham Best from W.J. Kings.

Homeward Bound
in the moonlight

It was properly dark by the time the beers were sunk and it was lights all the way home. Slow-cooked lasagna was dish of the day back at Jon's, accompanied by a bottle of Arundel Sussex Gold. We struggled to find anything of a suitable genre for TCA viewing on the TV but eventually plumped for The Beach on Film Four. On an evening evocative of those 'good old days' the lads had clocked up 19 miles on an outstanding new route, had one more beer than strictly necessary and turned in just a little too late for a school night at 23.30.

Route Map (1): Southern Section
(click to enlarge)
Route Map (2): Northern Section
(click to enlarge)

Elevation Profile
(click to enlarge):

(Posted by: Al)

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At 5:05 am, August 03, 2009, Blogger simon said...

very pleased you are still both out there "doing it!"

At 9:55 am, August 03, 2009, Blogger TCA said...

Actually we have been out most weeks in June and July but we have got a bit tardy with our write-ups. Still, Billy-Bob and Al had a huge catch-up effort over the weekend so if you look throught the archives you will see a few more retrospectives have cropped up!

All the best

At 5:16 am, August 06, 2009, Blogger simon said...

will do!

At 2:30 pm, August 07, 2009, Blogger Maalie said...

There seems to be quite a lot of absent friends that needed toasting during that trip! Greetings from Vienna.


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