Thursday, August 20, 2009

Piston Problems

After a customary cups of tea and cake Jon and John left Chichester at 18:45, heading past the hospital and then up through summersdale through past East Lavant to the flinty Chalkpit Lane. Jon took the lead with John behind this week's excuses had something to do with running the day before and still recovering from Al's stag weekend in the Peak District. Jon found himself at the top at Trundle having overtaken some hardy runners, with John slowly but steadily riding up the Lane. At the top some lovers in the car park were looking annoyed at sight of us. Quickly leaving the lovers carpark therefore we traversed the trundle for our first downhill. Jon led on and was pleasently happy with himself using no brakes until the bend at the bottom; John continued to be surprisingly slow behind.

Road biking around the race course at Goodwood we then rode downhill through Chalton Park Forest; this time John overtook Jon on the downhill but not before he had been forced into a bumpy gully on the way down. At the Fox goes Free a well deserved pint of Guiness was enjoyed by John and and Betty Stoggs by Jon. After a lengthy chat of the highlights of the weekend past the pair sped off up Town Lane observing lots of Red-legged Partridges and unusual number of of cars. Cutting across the field by Trundle we biked it down chalkpit Lane to the road. Jon's elation at beating John to the bottom quickly evaporated when John indicated that he had a brake problem: His piston on his front disc breaks was not retracting, forcing the brakes to remain on during the descent. Oh well at least he did not have a puncture!

John Struggles up the Trundle

Despite this we got back before 21:00 for a Parson's chilli using up real chillies from Jon's plant. We watched a programme called Tough Guy or Chicken involving supposedly tough guys learning Chagras skills in rounding up cattle on the uplands of Ecuador. Pretty lightweight fare compared to an evening with the TCA.

(Posted by: Jon)

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Thursday, August 06, 2009

Typical English Summer Ride

With John away at a Harley rally and Billy-Bob suffering from a mystery illness it was left to Jon to join Al under leaden skys with the rain coming down like stair rods. All the plans for an exotic new route were shredded - we decided to keep things simple and do the regular Hambledon route.

For the first time in ages waterproofs were dug out and attention paid to lighting arrangements. It was not long before the pair were slogging up Cams Hill through the torrents of water cascading down the lane. The rain would not ease all evening.

The tracks were muddy and surface water submerged the bridle paths in places. The first muddy descent towards Soberton was trecherous, and problems were compounded by the usual trail beng quite overgrown in places. Jon sustaied an injury to his arm after a close encounter with a branch and both would be stung on the legs repeatedly as the ride continued.

Jon negotiates an obstacle

The TCA have become acustomed to the odd looks and 'witty' comments from punters int he pubs they frequent on such evenings, and this evening was no exception. The handful of punters seemed aghast as Jon and Al trapsed, dripping and covered in mud from head to toe, into the public bar. The landord did not seem phased - he had seen us riding much more adverse conditions. As instructed by Billy-Bob Al ordered a pint of Bowman's elderado while Jon went for the Palmers 200, the old pint of choice.

Toast to Absent Friends
White Lion, Soberton

Beers downed the pair struck out for the railway embankments and attacked it with their usual gusto. The railway gets very, very muddy in places and tonight is was a proper quagmire. But the time the pair got to the embankment challenge they looked as if they had been dragged from the depths of the Black Lagoon. In days of yore Al and Billy-Bob felt that the litmus test for a ride was whether the expereince was 'Better than sitting at home watching Eastenders', this certainly got the thumbs up, so far anyway.

Jon struggles up the embankment

Up and over the Forest of Bere in the rain felt like jungle warfare with the descent being very slippery under tyre. They were however soon back on the road wherepon they invented a new technical element - the Travellers Coasting Challenge. Riders lined up at the top of the hill preceding the descent to the travellers and, without pedalling coasted as far as they were able to the pub. The difference was marginal but it did have the pair hypothesising over the next weeks' tactics.

Summer time fun

A canopy had appeared over the outside bar at the Travellers and they both enjoyed a pint of Bwman's Wallops Wood as the rain cascaded off their temporary shelter. Pints downed it was on with the lights and home for a curry at Al and Tee's place, with Lemon meringue pie for pudding.

(Posted by: Al)

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