Sunday 19th Octobers Velocity Ride

Sunday 19th October.
October sunny days are usually quite hard to come by. So when appears you ought to grab it and make the most of it. So what better way to make the most of it? On your bike and surround yourself by a good group and take a relaxed cruise.A text message arrives from Jack, telling me that he slept late, but will be there…Freshly pumped tires lightly hiss on slightly damp roads as I trundle off to the roundabout. My legs don’t feel particularly strong but I stay in my little ring and spin any stiffness away. Graham is already waiting looking relaxed by the sign, Johns grins as I swoop to a halt. “Well look who it is? “ it’s been a while.. Since the spring.. same damp roads, same skudding clouds and clear air. Michelle says hi and introduces herself Pat , looking euro-pro, rolls up and introduces Mark.I have already sized up who’s wheels I will be following if it starts raining. ( those with mudguards) More introductions while I try to buy time for Jack, who I imagine has either rolled over and gone back to sleep, or is currently taking all manner of risks trying to make it on time.A green figure approaches down the hill, is that Jack? Far too small for him..Josh arrives, more introductions.
“I can’t buy any more time Jack, we have to start rolling,”

I make a brief introduction, and point out that I am not a member of the club. No other volunteers step up to lead the ride so I tell every one the way I would be riding and they are welcome to follow me.We circle the roundabout and quickly slip into two abreast.A very pleasant gentle man in a beaten up white BMW blares his horn as he hurtles past us , only to turn left at the cricket club house on the Heath,What a nice chap, I think he appreciates a Sunday morning ride the same as us, and was just showing his appreciation.A gentle pace, as I am conscious that Jack is chasing hard, though the corners have damp leaves on and deserve respect.Left onto Forest road, and as we freewheel towards the roundabout a volley of curses, emanate from the back of the group.So Jack has joined us..He works his way through the group passing hellos as he goes.. On reaching the front we pick up conversation, pretty much where we left off a few weeks ago.Newton passes as the first little rise opens a few gaps, but are soon closed up before that gravel strewn bend and the short drop to Soberton.In the 6th century a Jute tribe called the Meons invaded from Denmark. They gave their name to the river and called their settlement Sud (South) bere (grange) tun (farm).1400 years later we bimble on through.We regroup just after the White Lion pub (17thC) and as we pick up speed we narrowly avoid the stinking remains of a squidged pheasant. (Feathery Frisbee)A call reaches the front , Josh has a puncture.Poor guy, the group surround him all offering support [img][/img]
No pressure then. All these old hands checking that you are doing it right. Mark assists pumping, while I help reseat the wheel, Josh does a final check that all is ok and the group starts moving again.The drag from the A32 towards Dundridge starts the groups soon splits as the racing whippets nip off the front. Pete, Josh and Pat chasing KOM points. I drop back to stay with Michelle with everybody in between.We catch up just after the golf course and we start the long drag up towards Beacon hill as a group.Jack finds some burdocks and freely distributes them; they are surprisingly sticky even to smooth lycra.Just as we regroup at the top we meet Eamon out on his Sunday loop, he stays with us for a while (probably retracing his steps).Josh proves that despite his slight build he can descend with the chunkies and is off like a homesick demon chasing a tractor that had just passed us.A brief pause for the crossroads at the top of Wheely down and they are off again chasing Massey Ferguson down, I nearly come a cropper when I try to take a photo and hit a patch of gravel.Just as soon as the fun starts than Jack experiences what must have been a pretty high speed puncture.The group pauses, then press on, promising to come back up.With a bit of teamwork, Jack and I fix the snakebite quickly. And as he spins his wheel to check, the others re-appear a fair bit slower than we last saw them.Speed builds again. and as the group splits slightly I prefer a more cautious speed.I am informed that Jack robbed Mark of the sign in a Euro Pro move.Eamon and Pete turn off and in a smooth slick line the group carves through sleep Cheriton. .A few people are milling around, feeding the ducks. We weave through Tichbourne.Despite its size this little hamlet punches well above its weight:It is famous for a notorious court case in the 19th century. When the heir to the Tichbourne fortune was ‘lost’ at sea, an impostor managed to wriggle his way into the family. The case took over 100 days, made national headlines cost about £10 million in today’s money. Even a film was made about it in 1998…
And yet how cheesy is this …the 1995 album “ The GREEN bicycle case” by the Australian band the Luck smiths. Has a track on it called ..the Tichbourne case… So all you Velocities in green jerseys should know the story.( )
There is also a Simpson Episode based on it ( series 9 episode 2 “the Principal and the Pauper”)For some bizarre reason posh accents come up, during which we discuss cockneys with Noel Coward accents, not starting the war without everyone ready and bringing back a Nazi with real hair for the Children. ( Eddie Izzard)We admire Wing Commander Hyde imaginary handlebar moustache..( as well as his MC Hammer sleeves.)We turn right towards ArlesfordPeople pause, and I put in a hard turn with the intention of leading out the sprint for this usually hotly contested landmark sign. Jack threatens to tell my wife that I have been sprinting for signs, but I smugly know that it wasn’t a sprint I just rode faster that’s all, my promise is intact ( btw I told Ana anyway)We pass through the town, and turn right into the Swan Hotel.Over tea we chinwag about bikes, races past, guns(?) avoid talking about Lombardy (Pat) . I must remember to bring change next time as our poor waitress is presented a fiver off each rider and we ride away jingling with all her change.( cheers for the tea Pat I owe you)That unpleasant sensation as a damp cold helmet clamps your forehead. Cold gloves are pulled on, a tell tale burdock appears on my shoulder and we are ready for the second leg.John and Michelle turn for home and no sooner as they disappear, Graham announces that he has a puncture. Of course we being the supportive non sarcastic group that we are, we admire his handiwork as Graham is keen to demonstrate his puncture repair prowess and the new inner tube valve remains where it should. A steady stream of Sunday morning shoppers pass as we either chat or idly looks at house prices in the nearby estate agent.As Graham pumps the last guffs of air in we are rolling again.I take the front and tow through Bishops Sutton towards Ropley.The A31 is quiet as we gather pace.. every one sits on, but I am happy on the front at the moment. Thatched cottages and twee gardens pass either side and as they thin out the road gently starts to steepen.As Pat and Josh go away I drop back to accompany Graham.Who got the Monkwood sign?Jack and Josh leap away hammering through the woods and down the hill towards the A32. Trying to outdo each other for some imaginary sign.The drag towards the back of Steep takes its toll,Graham, forever the professional, forms the autobus and I drop back a bit and keep him company for a while.Posh cars line the verge as we pass the jolly posh lot shooting , range-rovers and mercs, farmers and brokers all rubbing shoulders enjoying the morning, the smell of cordite is strong despite the wind.I dart forward to warn the others about Steep and wait for a tiring Graham before we drop down Steep together. A great descent, made all the more atmospheric by the swirling patterns of leaves, rippling and showering from the overhanging trees.We pass through Petersfield ., and as I enter the one way system I yell every man for himself and carve through fast, smooth corners.I find myself on the front again as we are held up momentarily by a gimboid in a merc swings into our path.I weave onto the cobbled rumble strips, just for fun.. I wish there was more of them. Now that would be a worth while ride.A brisk headwind slows us, and I move to the centre to try starting an echelon. I point out where second wheel should be sitting, slightly grumpy that they are all letting me stew out here on the front,.
A left toward Buriton followed by a short rise , I have a little dig near the top, but Pat effortlessly follows it and opens 5 meters in as many pedal strokes.He gets the sign…only fair I suppose.
Straight over the cross roads and up Kiln Lane. Josh has a hard dig just before the railway bridge.I warn him to keep his powder dry as this hill has a sting in its tail.“ Have you been up here before?”Yes comes the reply.“ Oh” I say a bit taken aback..” you’d better get on with it then.”Josh digs again, but by now Pat is putting the pedal downDiesel powers from us and is already clear.I get a gap on Graham. As Josh pays for his early dig.The hill steepens and as it finally eases so does the dense canopy, as you gasp for breath the road opens into bright daylight. It only gains 57m in it 0.4 of a mile but on the right day it is a stinker.Fallen leaves mark the roll off and as we roller-coaster through the woodlands, the autumnal hues of reds oranges yellows and browns are remarkable.I take a picture, attempting to capture the autumn feel.
The pace quickens as the work is shared, Jack nips off the front and is soon joined by Pat Josh struggles to hold the pace, so I drop back to pace him back up, we pick up Mark and Graham on the way through, as our small train closes in on the other two, who are now suiting up chin-wagging. ( who got Finchdean?)At dean lane end Jack doubles back to take a look at something that he had spotted ( ?) I go to the front to pick up the pace, anticipating a dash for the Roland’s Castle sign. ( don’t think that they would be caught napping two weeks.) I am not sure what happens behind, but I keep the pressure on and no ne comes round me,Not technically a sprint, more of a ‘hard dig’We ride into Rolands Castle , where the unanimous decision is to forgo another tea stop and keep going.I stop briefly to chat with Richard and Nikki at the café, before heading home.Chapeau guys,
KOM. Undisputedly Pat
Green jerseyHard one.Pat beat Jack on a few and was too strong on anything at the top of a hillJack picked up a fair few points, including one canny one from Pete near cheriton.
However..I got the Arlesford sign, And the Rolands castle.
Fines.Jack for being Late AND for having see through shortsJoshua: Having a chain ring tattoo Craig & Mark: for non standard apparel.John Hyde : for having MC Hammer arm sleeves.Anyone riding Bontrager tyres .


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