"The West Surrey Cyclist" - January - March 1994
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|PRESIDENT||George Alesbury||0932 843285|
|SECRETARY||Harry Statham||0483 763289|
|TREASURER||Keith Parfitt||0483 60776|
|RUNS SECRETARY||Roger Philo||0483 233381|
|OTHER MEMBERS||Jeremy Dowling
|HARDRIDERS||Roger Philo||0483 233381|
|INTERMEDIATES||Bob Crosby||0483 722337|
|Southern WAYFARERS||Keith Parfitt||0483 60776|
|Woking WAYFARERS||David Nightingale||0483 725674|
|Mid-Week WAYFARERS||Marguerite Statham||0483 763289|
|FARNHAM||Anne Neale||0252 716818|
|JUNIOR CYCLISTS||Clare||0483 765578|
|MAGAZINE||David Nightingale||0483 725674|
Best wishes Ed.
Before I retired from Aerospace a colleague was heard to say "When you work on flying-boats a spanner is only dropped once". He was recalling the time when he was employed by Coastal Command and mended a Sunderland aircraft.
I was reminded of his words recently when riding with the Bristol DA along the towpath of the Gloucester and Sharpness canal, a route which is also well known to certain members of the Far-West Surrey DA as a means of avoiding the hurtling tinware on the A38.
A Deflationary Measure had been implemented by the Minister for Air and a victim was wrestling with slippery tyre and tools which were coated with mud and bovine excrement. A sudden musical twang announced the departure of his tyre-levers which soared over the heads of the amazed throng and plopped into the canal.
This stretch of water is about twenty feet deep. I was told this by the captain of a pleasure boat on the canal last summer. He was an expatriate Cockney and his vessel was powered by an engine transplanted from a London taxi, he also informed his captive audience that the residents of Alveston and Thornbury obtain their drinking water from the canal and pointed out the pumping station en route. Not even my neighbours were aware of this!
Many cyclists with whom I am acquainted, especially the hard-riding variety, are not renowned for their altruism, "If you can't keep up don't come out", was the motto of one Section I can remember, so it never ceases to astound me how quickly Bicycle Repair Man appears in times of mechanical crisis on a club run. From the ranks of this apparently disinterested bunch of introverts he springs, eager to soil his hands on an unfamiliar machine, striving to get the Peleton on its way again.
The puncture by the canal proved no exception, BRM appeared, and several more incidents during the day provided an opportunity to witness him practising his art. At one point I realised NHS issue rubber gloves were being worn, (was the wearer perhaps an itinerant surgeon?). An old film container yielded a drop of hand cleanser, a tiny towel appeared after the operation. Sheer magic!
Well they reckon that it takes a cyclist about six years to become familiar with all the lanes within a thirty mile radius of a new base, this I can confirm, so it looks as if Gillian and I should be thinking of moving again!
I should like to use your columns to expand on what I said at the AGM in the debate on the motion proposed by David Pinkess and Marguerite Statham about restricting points in our Sunday Attendance Competition to rides organised by West Surrey DA.
I have now been riding with the DA for about 9 years and I know many of roads in the area covered by our Sunday rides quite well so I like to go for rides outside our area on some Sundays. I know we have members who have been riding here for much longer than I have and I imagine I am not alone in wishing to expand the area of our rides. Putting rides organised by other clubs and DAs on our programme of rides is an easy way to do this. If I wished to organise a Sunday ride from say, Newbury, myself I would need to find out about coffee, lunch and tea places in suitable locations and work out a ride of a suitable length over country I do not know. If the ride did not appeal to other riders in the DA I might find myself on my own. Putting Stephen Oxley's Newbury Downs ride on 13/2/94 on our programme avoids all these problems. I know there will refreshments, toilets and parking space at the start, other people to ride with, almost certainly refreshments on the way round, and a route sheet to follow.
As long as a ride is on our programme of rides why should it matter who planned and organised it? If the Woking Wayfarers had, last month, put a train assisted ride to Haslemere on the runs list, they might have taken a train to Haslemere, ridden 25-30 miles and come back by train. On the motion put forward by David and Marguerite at the AGM they would have scored points in our Sunday Attendance competition for this. Unless, that is, the ride they did from Haslemere was the Rother Valley CC's 40km ride organised by Doreen Lindsey, in which case they would not. I cannot see the sense of that.
I think this argument started because nearly all the "away" rides I had been putting down on the runs list were District Associations' Tourist Competition (DATC) events. This led to the question "Why were points in our attendance competition given for riding Bristol DA's tourist trial but not for riding the Wessex DA tourist trial of the week before?" and to the suggestion at the DA Committee that our riders on DATC events were representing the DA and should be given points in the attendance competition for all DATC events they rode.
To take the second point first, I do not agree with the "representing the DA, points for all DATC events" line of argument. To take one DATC event, the London - Edinburgh - London randonee, as an example, I entered this because it looked an interesting challenge and I wanted to see if I could ride 1300km in 96 hours (I couldn't). Representing West Surrey DA was the last thing I was thinking about on this ride. If points had been given for all DATC events I think my score would have been between 180 and 190 and I might have won the attendance competition. I am sure the DA's regular riders would then have been asking how someone they had seen on Sundays less than half a dozen times since March could have won the attendance competition.
Most of the "away" rides I had been putting on the runs list were DATC rides for three reasons. I thought they were the sort of rides that would interest our riders, that the fact they were DATC events would be an added attraction for some, and because the DATC and Audax calendars make it easy to find out about events 4 to 5 months in advance, which is when our Runs list is compiled. And why did I list the Bristol Cycle Tourist Competition rather than the Wessex DA event this May? Because the Bristol event was also the national event, the British Cycle Tourist Competition. With the benefit of hindsight I wish I had listed the Wessex event instead, it was a more interesting competition even if a lot wetter one.
I expect that, should the DA Committee adopt the "one away ride a month, to be decided by discussion by group leaders after consulting their groups" proposal, there will be a greater variety of rides listed this year. CTC's Century rides and charity rides such as East End - Southend might be included in our programme.
Not all those who heard Chris Avery's "falling off the edge of the world" comment at the AGM may be aware than in 1993 both David and Marguerite have ridden a considerably larger distance out of our area than Chris has. David and Helen were kind enough to give me a lift to one of the most distant DATC events I entered this year (at Falmouth) and Marguerite has ridden a 1500km End to End. So this is not an argument about whether or not we should make trips to ride in other areas, it is just a question of whether rides organised by other clubs should appear on our programme and, if so, whether points in our attendance competition should be given for all Sunday rides on our programme or only for rides actually organised by our DA.
Finally, as Runs Secretary for this year, I am willing to try and provide, to anyone interested, details and entry forms, railway timetable information, and car sharing possibilities, for the away events on our runs list.
With reference to Roger Philo's letter. I feel that he, to some extent is missing the point put by myself in the motion to the AGM.
I am not suggesting for one moment that anyone should be discouraged from taking part in any event or ride in any part of the country, whether it be DATC, Audax, Charity, or purely for fun. By taking part in rides outside our immediate area broadens the outlook and enables you to really appreciate just what we have achieved in West Surrey.
During this year Helen and myself have completed round about 16 DATC and Audax events each, and collecting medals for most, so the West Surrey Attendance Cup does not come very high on our list. I do firmly believe (and this is the crux of the matter) that the Attendance Cup is the only award that is non-competitive and is issued for dedication to West Surrey. External rides carry their own rewards and should be regarded as completely seperate from our own.
Let's make life simple for ourselves. Award and reward riders who come out and support our Sunday rides - that's how to keep and encourage our members.
How about this for an idea borrowed from Hull & East Riding DA - award an extra attendance point to the leader of the ride on the day.............
Dear Editor, In reply to Roger Philos' letter, I would like to put forward one or two reasons for David Pinkess' and my proposal that "points be awarded for internal rides and events only". Roger says that a Woking Wayfarers train assisted day out is the same as his group going off to ride a DATC event. Not so. Woking Wayfarers would have the whole group going away for the day. Roger would have an additional DA run for the Hardriders on the same day as his away event thus splitting his small group in two and leaving, possibly, only one or two riders on the DA ride instead of possibly eight--there being six in a DA team. The two at "home" deserve their points far more than the six who have deserted the DA for the day. If Roger took the whole group away for an ordinary ride on any one particular Sunday that would be acceptable. He can't do that when it's to ride an event because not everyone wants to ride around trying to "beat the clock". I agree that most of us are looking for "greener grass" to ride but not in a competion. I, also, agree that someone who rides away from the DA shouldn't receive the cup. It should go to someone, like Roy Richardson, (winner 1992/3) who ALWAYS rides with the DA thus helping to "hold together" the group he's riding with. There is no reason why extra rides can't be included on the runs list to give our members more choice, but if they are "as well as" a particular groups' ride they should not be eligible for attendance points. The arguments could go on for a long time. All I'm interested in is that our Committee makes a decision VERY SOON so that we can once again enjoy our rides and not have to worry about a dispute, however friendly.
We were joined by Carol and Ken at Brookwood. Carol led us to a small cafe near Mytchett for elevenses. The cycling up to now was easy, just a few obstructions with fishermen and dog walkers.
Then came gates across the towpath to stop motor cycles; next concrete tank traps left from the war. The path narrowed to one foot wide, with stinging nettles; painful for those wearing shorts. The next obstruction was large heaps of stones and rubble to repair the path. We had to walk for nearly a mile, then round the bend came Marguerite and Roy who had come to look for us. They had ridden to Greywell by road.
We reached the "Fox and Goose", Greywell at 2 pm to be told "no food, not even sandwiches, the kitchen is closed." After a few pints and crisps Harry and I rode to Hook Station and trained back to Woking. The rest of our party went to Redfields Garden Centre for tea and cakes.
It was a peaceful ride, no traffic to worry about and plenty of wildlife. Maurice enjoyed it, after all it was his idea. Ken took several photos - no, he didn't fall in the canal this time! Despite the disappointment at lunch time, we all had a good day out. If you follow our wheel tracks, take my advice and ride a fat tyred bike for comfort - it's rough in places, and take your own food!
||I am pleased to say that we haven't visited any recently.|
Please let me know if you have any Pubs that you would like listed.
Marguerite 2nd Dec. '93
So you see all you new members I'm not somebody who has cycle-toured for yonks.
I very much appreciate 'the company' on our rides and the very nature of touring and I hope I can learn enough quickly enough to be of service to you all.
Please don't hesitate to make my aquaintance. I'm the one blowing hard, usually towards the rear.
|17 April||50 mile reliability ride followed by DA Birthday Tea|
|1 May||150km Audax Brevet Populaire "South Downs Sesquicentury"|
|12 June||200km Audax Brevet de Randonneur "Stonehenge 200"|
|24 July||60km Audax Brevet Populaire "Downslink Roughstuff"|
|14 August||105km Audax Brevet Populaire "Tour of the Hills"|
|4 September||100 mile and 75 mile reliability rides|
|9 October||Tricyclathon Hillclimb, Freewheeling and Pacejudging|
"I'm afraid there's no demand for single sprockets these days, Madam", said her local friendly bike dealer. "What everyone's using these days is one of these Shimanolo ten-speed cassette hubs with titaminum sprockets. They're on special offer at £123.45. What sort of hub have you got? Goodness, I haven't seen one of those for years. You'll need a new pair of wheels - why not change to the latest 705D size. And you'll need a hyper-narrow chain and chainset ..."
If your bike is not the latest fashion, it pays you to patronise an unfashionable bike shop. In the next village, Minnie was able to buy the four sprockets and chainwheel she needed, for £23.45. In total, how many teeth did she buy?
I'll buy a drink for the first person to tell me the right answer. Solution next issue.
Marguerite, Harry, Carol, Geoff, Sue, Helen Juden, Maurice, Isobel and I had all arrived at Portsmouth Harbour the evening before and caught the ferry in good time for the night crossing. Ken and Roy Richardson were already in France and were to meet us on Saturday evening at our pre-booked B & B. After a nightcap and a look at Morris dancers, would you believe, performing on deck at midnight, we retired to our cabins in the hope of catching some sleep.
Saturday morning we were awakened by the ferry radio alarm which came on automatically at 5 O'clock french time which is an hour ahead of ours.
During breakfast at the port cafe in Ouistreham it was put to me and decided that we would all ride together on my planned Intermediate route for the day. I should explain that it had been agreed beforehand that there would be both a Wayfarers ride and an Intermediates ride. Anyway off we all set and cycled along the excellent Caen canal path as far as Pegasus Bridge.
Pegasus Bridge, a steel cantilever type, was the first structure to be captured in the battle to liberate France from Nazi occupation during World War II. British glider borne troops of the 5th paratroop brigade landed on the banks of the canal just before midnight on 5-6 June 1944 and after fierce fighting liberated the Ranville-Benouville Bridge as it was then called. They then liberated the nearby house of the Gondree family. The bridge was re-named Pegasus Bridge in honour of the Red Berets involved and the Gondree home was converted by the forever grateful family into a British Army Airborne museum. We pedalled across the bridge and continued to Ranville around which was the main 6th Airborne Division drop zone on D-Day 6 June.
We cycled on using quiet lanes through flat and pleasant countryside which had no roadside hedgerows to spoil the views. This is Jurassic rock terrain (but no dinosaurs here today !) and scattered among these cultivated areas are busy stone quarries which have been in use for hundreds of years. It is interesting to note that Westminster Abbey is built of Caen stone.
Stopping at the village of Argences for coffee we pottered on to Falaise via St Sylvain and Sassy often using single track lanes and passing many farms on the way.
Falaise is the birthplace of William the Conqueror. Here we restored the tissues with an irresistable two hour lunch , the food was much too good to be hurried. It was during lunch that I related to our group the true story of the beautiful Arlette ....
One evening in the year 1027, Robert, younger son of King Richard II, was returning to the chateau at Falaise from a hunt when he was struck by the beauty of a girl as she worked with her friends washing clothes at a stream. He was 17 years old. He desired her and Arlette's father, a wealthy tanner, allowed Arlette to decide for herself how she would liaise. She, with no discretion, entered the chateau on horseback in her finest clothes. When nature had taken its course Arlette bore a son who was named William. He was to become William the Conqueror as we know him or William the Bastard as he is more commonly known in France.
Dragging ourselves away from the restaurant we cycled on to see the magnificient statue of William the Conqueror which is situated in the centre ville. Then on we went to view the old chateau in which William the Conqueror was born. ( For those of us who are interested in camping there is a very good campsite situated behind the chateau grounds. Isabel and I can personally recommend it ! )
Time was pressing so we travelled on a more direct but nevertheless attractive route now, taking the D6 to Thury - Harcourt an interesting little town, where we stopped for yet more sustenance. We then continued on the D6 as far as Auny where we took the D54 to our English owned farmhouse B & B at Cahagnes. Here we were greeted by Ken and Roy Richardson who had arrived an hour or so earlier. Like all good cyclists we were more than ready for our evening meal. Yes, Harry the Wayfarer had made it and we all agreed that he was now indeed a qualified Intermediate!
The following morning we did split up into two groups this time. Carol, Geoff and Harry took a more direct route back to Ouistreham via Caen whilst the remainder of us set off firstly for Bayeaux. After a chilly early morning start the sun started shining and it was to continue like this for most of the day. The route to Bayeaux was probably the best of the weekend. We cycled through delightful country lanes passing new-born foals, calves and lambs on the way. Near Onchy we passed a french cycling club's feeding station. A table was laid out by the roadside with segments of fruit and cold drinks. In true tradition I shouted out 'bonjour' to the marshall who then shouted 'bonjour' to each of us in turn as we cycled past!
In Bayeaux we stopped at a cafe opposite the musee of the Bayeaux Tapestry. Having refreshed ourselves there I asked the cafe owner if he would be good enough to watch out for our bikes whilst we viewed the sights. To my surprise he took us to an adjacent garage in which we were able to lock all our bikes. After our sightseeing and yet another meal at the same cafe we retrieved our bikes from the garage and set off for Arromanches. The sun was now shining as on a summer's day.
Arromanches is a seaside resort owing it's fame to the fantastic Mulberry operation used in the Allied landing in June 1944. The harbour was converted into an artificial port by laying concrete breakwaters and attaching steel pontoons to them. We saw the remains of Mulberry harbour which was still sufficiently intact for us to imagine it's former glory. Leaving Arromanches we cycled on to Fontaine-Henry via Tierceville and Reviers, saying goodbye for now to Roy as he was returning to the B & B for one more night.
The chateau at Fontaine-Henry is a classic example of Renaissance architecture and was worth seeing. Ken could not resist taking several photos. We had further refreshments sitting outside a typical french cafe under a parasol to shield us from the sun - this was the life !
Off now to Caen stopping here to view the old chateau in the town centre. The chateau was originally built by William the Conqueror in 1060 and then extended in later years up to the 15th century. Much damage was done to the chateau during World War II but it has since been restored and a public garden now exists within the chateau walls.
We proceeded to the Caen canal path which runs from the town centre near the chateau straight to Oustreham, a distance of almost 12 km. Since the canal was first constructed in the mid 19th century work has never ceased on deepening and widening it to meet ever more requirements of the expanding steel industry here. Caen is the natural outlet for the iron ore mines of Lower Normandy which have the second largest output in France. The canal is also used for leisure activities as is evident by the number of sailing boats and other pleasure craft to be seen either on the move or moored at the Caen end. The canal path is an official cycle way and runs along the entire length of the west side of the canal. We cycled gently along the path taking in the sights and chatting happily, not wanting the day's ride to end too quickly. Eventually we passed Pegasus Bridge on our right hand side and soon after entered Ouistreham.
It was now time for our evening meal so I followed my instincts and we rode to a restaurant where I thought Carol, Geoff and Harry might be. As we pulled closer I could see familiar bikes parked outside. Glancing through the restaurant window now I saw all three of them standing with glasses raised and grinning. Cheers! they said. Needless to say a good meal with plenty of wine was had by all before leaving to catch the ferry for our return to Portsmouth Harbour overnight.
Thanks, they all said afterwards, we had a great time. Are you planning another trip?
The rides are organised by a member of staff, Colin Cure, telephone 0372-373086 (work) or 0372.376965 (home). He is keen and well-organised. There is a regular meet every Tuesday afternoon, starting in February, but rides can be arranged at any time you are available. Please give Colin a ring. Why not do it now!
6 & 7/3 My DATC season got off to a very poor start. On the first weekend I had planned to ride the Lincoln 150km event with Simon on Saturday and the SW London hilly 50km with Chris, Phil, Andy, Geoff and Ian on Sunday. In fact I had flu that weekend and rode neither event, although the others completed their events as planned.
14/3 Reading 50 mile. No problem except it was the day after the CTC National Dinner so I expected to be riding with a hangover. A pleasant day and a good ride which finished in plenty of time for me to ride to join the DA for tea. Helen, David, Andy, Simon and Paul Brown also rode this one.
20/3 Cheltenham 200km. Not a DATC event but Simon and I rode it anyway. I took 10h 53m, the fastest I had ridden any 200km apart from our own Stonehenge 200. Maybe I am getting fitter.
28/3 Marlow 200km. A good turnout from our DA, 8 riders and another 4 in the associated 135km. Chris started off much faster than me as usual, but this time I caught him at about 90km and was ahead for a time until I missed a right turn and met him coming the other (the right) way. Simon joined us at the tearoom in Burford, having started late, and then towed us back to Marlow. About 11h 45m, slow, but for me about half an hour faster than last year.
4/4 South Kent "Off Road". I picked this as it looked the easiest category f event I was likely to find. 18 miles, only 6 of them off road, and 3 hours to complete it. Geoff abandoned this one after a puncture, as did Chris & Renee. Andy, Ian, Helen and I completed it and David, who hadn't ridden it, got to clean Marguerite's bike, which Helen had borrowed.
18/4 West Surrey 50 miles. Lots of our riders on this one of course. Noticed that as Bernard & Ann Daws now ride for East Surrey they had the opportunity to ride an "away" DATC event that started about 300 yards from their front door. I assume they actually rode the Dorset Coast 200km, which was on the same day.
24/4 Herford & Worcester 300km. Fitted a 34 tooth sprocket for this one as the route went over the mountain road from Beulah to Tregarron and I remembered the Devils Staircase from a previous trip. Simon gave me a lift and on arrival we found Geoff was already there. It was a tough ride, with a total 11 530ft of climb, so I didn't see Geoff and Simon again after the start. It rained some of the time, at exactly the wrong time, like when I was climbing the Devils Staircase. Still, the 34 tooth sprocket proved its value as I rode past a number of people pushing bikes up this one. Met Russ Mantle outside the tearoom in Tregaron. A complete coincidence, he wasn't on the ride. I was doing fine up to the Eardisland control (249km), where I lost my Avocet 50 (the one with the altimeter) on the grass outside, felt sick after eating some soup and then couldn't stay awake on the last 51km leg. Finished 32 minutes outside the time allowed.
2/5 West Surrey 150km. Home events aren't much help if you want to win the DATC but most of the team rode it anyway.
15/5 Northants & N. Bucks 400km. Simon finished, I got lost in the dark twice and gave up at about 2 am just south of Weyhill. Sat in a bus shelter for a while, then made my way slowly home via Alton, Basingstoke, Aldershot and more bus shelters.
23/5 Bristol National Tourist Event. This seemed to involve a lot of searching for house names etc guided by clues containing awful puns and more or less obscure connections. Eg Q: How many garages has the partridge? A: Two. (Pear Tree Cottage had a double garage.) Chris and I were equal 3rd, although I still don't know how I got such a high score. Andy was 18th and Ian 27th.
30/5 Cornwall 200km. David & Helen gave me a lift to Falmouth and when I checked in at the hotel I found Geoff Smith was the name before mine in the register. It was raining heavily at the start, which I had trouble finding. I was amazed to see Helen & David start the event too, as Helen's dislike of riding in the rain is well known. We were about 15 minutes late starting and had to ride into a strong wind to the first control, where we were outside time. I asked the marshal to stamp and time the cards anyway and said I would sumbit a written explanation at the finish as to why we were late. We were outside time at the second control as well but the organiser, Eddie Angell, was doing this one and he must have misread his watch. With a tail wind we got back to Falmouth inside time for the third control and were OK for the fourth as well. Then Helen got a puncture, in fact a sidewall split. I attempted a temporary repair with a piece of toolroll but this only held for another 10 or 20 miles. We decided that David would walk with Helen to the next pub and I would ride to the next control to see if the Eddie, who was going round to his controls in a van, could take Helen and her bike back to Falmouth. About a mile after I left David and Helen I got a puncture and they caught up with me just as I finished repairing it. No chance of finishing the ride now or of reaching the next control in time to contact Eddie. So David rode back to Falmouth to get the car, while I walked with Helen to the next pub where we had a meal and some drinks while we waited for David to come back and collect us.
31/5 A suitable replacement tyre for Helen was not to be found in Falmouth on a Sunday so David and Helen didn't enter the Treasure Hunt. I never got a result sheet for this but it didn't really matter because there were only 3 entries, so even first would have been bottom 70% for DATC scoring.
5 & 6/6 South Bucks 600km. Simon had decided by this time that he wasn't going to attempt LEL and so didn't need to ride this one as preparation, nevertheless he still gave me a lift to the start. The only other member of our team who did ride this one was Phil, who stayed with me for the first 200km, by which time I was too tired to attempt to stay with him any further. The route was the same as last year except that the turn at the northern end was switched to Knutsford Services on the M6, only 3km further according to the route sheet. It seemed a lot more, especially on the way back when I was having trouble staying awake, so more bus shelters and over 4 hours to cover 52km. After 30 minutes sleep at the all night cafe at Prees Heath I completed the ride with only one or two more stops (apart from controls) in bus shelters, but in 39h 18m, 1h 8m slower than last year.
12-16/6 SYNDDA 1300km London-Edinburgh-London or more accurately Doncaster-Dalkeith-Potters Bar-Doncaster. The big one and nobody else from our team was daft enough to attempt it. As if the distance wasn't daunting enough this ride started off into a stiff northerly wind. Fortunately I found a group I could stay with, 3 or 4 fairly strong riders who were doing most of the work but were tactful enough to let the rest of us put in token turns on the front. Unfortunately, it was a showery day and when we stopped to put on waterproofs the group broke up. I rejoined them at the Little Chef at Shipton and lost them again when it started raining again north of Thirsk. By the Scotch Corner control I was half an hour behind my schedule and slowing. By West Auckland I estimated I wouldn't reach the next control (Byrness) until 4am Sunday, inside the time allowed, but 3 hours outside my schedule, and I didn't think I could stay awake that long. So I packed halfway up the hill out of West Auckland and stopped at a B&B overnight, riding back to the start on Sunday. I arrived there only a few hours before the first riders still doing the event, who had ridden 400km further than I. Bernard Mawson, the organiser, said that Jenny Gifford, who was running the first control south of Doncaster, could use some more help, so I cycled there through the rain on Monday morning. Ben Steven, Audax UK's membership secretary, was already there helping Jenny and her daughter, and Harold Bridge arrived later in the day, so we had a well staffed control. Harold was one of 3 riders from British Columbia who had started the event, but he had packed at Dalkeith and taken a train back to Doncaster (see Arrivee 42). Most of the riders didn't seem in too bad shape on their way south or much worse on their return the following day(s) so I am not dissuaded from having another attempt at this ride in 1997.
19/6 S Hampshire 300km. I hadn't planned to ride this as I expected still to be recovering from LEL, but when Simon phoned on the Friday evening to ask if I wanted to do it I said yes. Helen, David and Ian were there at the start, but as Simon and I started a few minutes late we didn't catch them until about 5 miles before Amesbury, where Simon and I stopped and the others didn't. Just before Marlborough, something very strange, I started dropping Simon on the hills. He had not ridden much since the Northampton 400km a month before and packed at Marlborough. Believing Helen, David and Ian were ahead of me, I pressed on in an attempt to catch them. Actually they had stopped at a pub and arrived at the Wooton Bassett control just as I was leaving. Headwinds were again a problem on this ride but I seemed to be going better than the week before and reached Salisbury (253km) in 14 hours. So, at the third attempt, I was going to see what the scenery on the route from Salisbury to the finish looked like. On the previous two occasions it had been dark by the time I left Salisbury. By the way, why is Salisbury Plain so called? The route for this ride seems to find its way in and out of Salisbury without covering any country which is noticeably flat. I got to Winchester's street lights and the finish just as daylight went completely. 16h 28m, my fastest 300km to date. Helen, David and Ian arrived about 40 minutes later. Helen had least trouble with ride, David had suffered a bit around midday and Ian was struggling at the end. I still didn't know what had happened to Simon until he arrived, by car, about midnight. After riding back from Marlborough to the start he had driven home and had now come back to fetch me. An even more pleasant surprise, Fara had come with him.
20/6 South Kent Treasure Hunt. Chris and I went to this one. Trying to do a Treasure Hunt that starts less than 12 hours after you've finished a 300km is a daft idea, at least for me. My brain wasn't working too well because of lack of sleep and my legs weren't working too well either. Still, I increased the number of starters by 1, which could have proved important for Chris, who won this event.
27/6 East Kent 100 mile. Ian, Chris and I did this one. A very pleasant and mostly low traffic route with enough hills to make it interesting but not exhausting. We met Russ Mantle about halfway round, again quite by chance.
11/7 SW London map reading. I thought this category e event should be reclassified as category f. It had more offroad riding than most DATC roughstuff events. Even so, it was a good test of map reading skills, although one of the skills required was making sense of a black and white photocopy of an OS map. The map reading didn't give me much trouble, I just wasn't fast enough off-road to get round all the clues. Chris and Ian were equal 6th out of 25, Steve Senior 12th, I was 13th, Phil 14th, and Helen & David, having given up at lunchtime equal 18th. The bad news was that Kim Suffolk and Lyn & Ian Stott (all Leicestershire DA) were equal 2nd.
17/7 SYNNDA 300km. Chris hadn't done a category d event nor had Gill Norris. I had done 2 so logically, I suppose I should have gone further north to the N. Yorks map-reading competition while Chris and Gill rode the 300km. In fact I rode the 300km with them. There is a suspicion that this event starts at midnight because the first 80km south from Doncaster are so boring you wouldn't want to see them. It's not true, as Ian and I had told Chris, that the biggest climbs on this route are canal bridges, but even so, its not very scenic. I had ridden this event before, with Ian, and made much better time this year to the first control because we didn't get lost. We started with a group of about a dozen but after a few miles found the pace a bit slow, so Chris, Gill and I went to the front to increase the speed. Another two riders joined us and we left the rest of the group behind. The five of us stayed together the rest of the way round and with Chris's encouragement towards the end managed just under 15 hours.
25/7 Essex Map reading. Thanks to volunteers from our DA, I was able to organise one DATC event (our roughstuff) and ride another on the same day. Chris, Ian, Andy and I went to High Ongar for this competition, partly to see if we could retain the Sissleys Challenge Shield which West Surrey had won at last year's Essex map reading. A good test of map reading, no problem with getting round inside the time allowed if you had worked out correctly where you were supposed to go, and somewhat less mind-mangling than previous years' Essex map reading competitions. I missed the yellow ribbon round the old oak tree and finished 4th. Chris was 5th, Ian 10th and Andy 12th so we were many points short of retaining the trophy. Meanwhile Helen, Phil, Peter & Gill Norris and Geoff Taylor were completing our Roughstuff.
1/8 Oxford 200km. The Birthday Rides 200km. As usual for the Birthday Rides the time breakfast was served (officially 7:45) was not co-ordinated with the start time of the 200km (8:00). I decided to have breakfast anyway and started 15 minutes late. David and Helen skipped breakfast and started on time. This ride was well supported, had a good route and excellent refreshments at controls. The only problem was that the evening meal time wasn't chosen with the 200k in mind either, last meal served 19:15. So you couldn't take your time. I caught up with Helen and David eventually, and rode most of the rest of the event with them before being dropped about 6 miles from the finish. Still, I got back in time to have a shower before the evening meal.
4/8 Oxford 100km. Still Birthday Rides but 8:45 start and taking your time compulsory, 20km/hr maximum speed enforced by secret controls. For some reason I started slightly late again but caught David, Helen, Geoff Taylor and Bob & Isobel Crosby at the first secret control. We had all exceeded the 20km/hr maximum and had to wait until the control officially opened. The really fast group went through before the control was even there and got their knuckles rapped by the organiser for missing it. Same coffee stop in Somerton as the 200km but worth a second visit. After coffee it started raining so we were forced to shelter in a pub at Islip for an hour or so. This kept us nicely below the 20 km/hr maximum and we finished sometime in mid afternoon and then had tea at the pub where Geoff, Carol, Bob and Isobel were staying.
15/8 West Surrey 100km Tour of the Hills. I organised but did not ride this. 14 West Surrey riders started and 13 finished inside the time.
4/9 Lincolnshire Sports Day. This event has 6 parts: pace-judging where you pick the speed you are to do out of a hat, pace-judging where you choose your own speed, hillclimb, freewheeling, slow bicycle ride and obstacle course. Only 5 count for your final score and you pick which 5 before the start. Chris dropped the second pace-judging, Renee the hillclimb, and Ian and I the obstacle race. We were beginning to realise that our main competition for the team prize this year would be Leicestershire, not East Surrey, and this was a good day for Leicestershire with Kim Suffolk 1st and Ben & Malcolm Keetley 2nd and 3rd. Chris was 5th, Ian was 16th, I was 19th and Renee was 23rd.
5/9 West Surrey 100 mile and 75 mile. I organised this one but did not ride it. 18 started (all West Surrey) and 14 finished inside their specified time.
26/9 West London map-reading. A well designed event in which the clues to work out where you were going were not too difficult nor the answers to the questions too difficult to find when you got there. The distance was possible in the allowed time but not easy and there was a nice trade off between penalty points for being late finishing and bonus points for getting all the answers right in each of the two sections. I think I was first to work out where I was going and so first away but finished 15 minutes late, although with all the correct answers. This put me equal 2nd with Chris who also finished about 15 minutes late. Surprising, as we had set off at different times and used different routes, essentially I went clockwise round the points to be visited and Chris went anticlockwise. I'm not quite sure which way Helen went although I passed her going the opposite way on the road near Cholesbury. Ian Stott was 1st, Lyn Stott equal 4th, and Helen 15th so this was probably a better day for Leicestershire than for us. It was a pity there weren't two more entries as that might have given Chris and I equal 2nd out of 20 and maximum DATC points.
3/10 West Kent Treasure Hunt. This was an event for teams of two and by now it was clear that our top 6 riders would almost certainly be Helen, Ian, Andy, Phil, Chris and me. It was also clear that the 622 points with which we won last year weren't going to be enough this year, so we tried to get all 6 of the above out for this one. In the event Ian had been working very late and was still in bed when it started. So I partnered Helen, Chris rode with Andy and Phil with a mate of Andy's from Yorkshire. The morning section included a scavenger hunt in which we had to collect items with initial letters spelling WEST KENT CTC. No repeat items and no items to do with cycling were allowed. Helen and I were a good team for this, for example, she spotted some disgusting looking eggs in some rubbish by the side of the road and I picked one up. Andy and Chris resorted to going into a farm shop and buying one egg. There were general knowledge questions at the checkpoints in the morning and Helen and I got all but one of these right (which wedding aniversary is Pearl?) although since the independent state of Ghana is somewhat older than Helen (but not me) I'm not surprised she didn't know what it was called when it was a British colony. The places to visit in the afternoon were worked out from some of the clues on a crossword puzzle we were given to solve over lunch. This wasn't too difficult although I think some of the clues would not have got past the crossword editor of The Times. Finding the answers to the questions for these locations when we got there was a bit trickier but I think we got almost all of them and got back inside the time allowed. At the finish, as we waited for the result, Roger Chambers and Peter Ashby were called in with one of the West Kent teams for a tie-break, which Roger and Peter won. However the tie-break turned out to be for second place and Helen and I came first. Phil and Peter were 4th and Chris and Andy equal 6th out of 26. This was a very good result for our team and increased our score from 601 to 628.
10/10 West Surrey Tricyclathon. Three East Surrey riders, Mike Stoaling, Alan Pedliham and Chris Burns competed in this event, each winning one of the 3 sections and finishing 1st, 2nd and 3rd overall. Just as well East Surrey weren't serious competition in the team event.
17/10 Northants & N. Bucks Treasure Hunt. Chris had calculated that we needed 633 points to be reasonably confident of winning and then flown off to Fuerteventura, leaving Ian, Phil and I to travel up to Northampton to actually get the required points. I had phoned the organiser, Frank Taylor, to find out about the offroad sections mentioned on the entry details and he agreed that a mountain bike might be a good idea for his event. It was and it wasn't. There were many sections I would have been unhappy riding on my touring bike but because I fitted 700C wheels with 28 tyres in place of 27" wheels with 32 tyres earlier this year it has got large mudguard clearances and so might not have got clogged with mud as often as the mountain bike (knobbly tyres and mudguards) did. Phil didn't have the required maps so Frank took the two of us as a team entry. Despite 10 questions at the end about Northamptonshire the event was won by Lyn Stott and Phil and I were second. Ian was 7th and with 28 starters this increased our team score to 633. Chris's hands-off approach to team management seemed to be working.
24/10 East Surrey Hillclimb, Freewheeling and Pace-judging. Ian, Chris, Phil, Peter & Gill and I did this one. It had the flattest freewheeling competition I have ever entered and the only hillclimb competition I've done where you start off going downhill. Chris reversed the result of our Tricyclathon by winning here, beating Mike Stoaling, Alan Pedliham and Chris Burns.
End of the DATC season apart from a couple of category a events which would not increase our team score.
Final team score 634, first place and 5 points ahead of Leicestershire. Individual placings for our team were: 2nd Roger 109, 3rd Chris 109 (separated only by 2nd decimal place in calculation of average placing in competitive events), 8th Phil 106, 10th Helen 104, th Andy 103, th Ian 103. At one stage, as well as leading the team event we also had a second VI in 6th place but I don't know where this team finished or whether a second VI will even be listed on the final results. It is rumoured that the 1995 National Dinner will be hosted by East Surrey so we shall have to try and win again next year. I hope all those who took part in DATC events, whether first or second VI or whatever, enjoyed them and will be riding them and or other events again next year.
Finally, my thanks to Simon, Chris, David & Helen, and Ian for transporting me and my bicycle to and from these events and my apologies to anybody who did one of the above events that I have not remembered or to anybody I have remembered doing an event who actually didn't do it.
The next item on the Agenda was the Annual Accounts, whose main feature was a handsome profit made on the Home Counties Rally, leaving the DA in an even better financial position than previously. Arising from this, Chris Juden hoped that the DA would build on its successful rally experience by hosting, in partnership with a neighbouring DA, an AIT (Alliance Internationale de Tourisme) Rally, which he described as a larger version of the Birthday Rides, in a few years time. The accounts were accepted.
Elections came next, with the following results.
|Runs Secretary:||Roger Philo|
The Chairman welcomed the increased size of this year's Committee. The members of the retiring Committee were thanked for all their hard work during the past year.
Les Warner was re-elected as a Vice-President.
David Nightingale had expressed a wish to relinquish the post of Magazine Editor which he had held for three years. Chris Jeggo was willing to continue printing the magazine and assisting the editor. No-one in the meeting volunteered for the job, so David was re-appointed pro tem, but a replacement would be sought. (Commercial: It's not that difficult a job, and rewarding in that you have something to show for your efforts every three months. Past editors are willing to give advice and assistance to newcomers. Go on, have a go!)
There was no nomination for Auditor, so the Committee was instructed to find one.
Keith Parfitt was re-elected as Map Librarian, followed by some discussion about the content and function of the map library. It was agreed that it would be a good idea to rename this position 'Archivist', and enlarge its function to include the custody of historical documents currently held by the Secretary. Also, Gill Smith would be approached concerning DA photographs which had been held by the late Bill Inder.
The next item was Harry Statham's proposition concerning campaigning for footways on busy main roads to be converted to shared cycle/pedestrian use, and clearly marked as such, where these would form useful parts of a cycle route network. The spirit of the motion was generally welcomed, but it was agreed that the wording of the motion made it unsuitable for the meeting to pass as it stood, and that the most appropriate form of action would be to publish an article in the next issue of "The West Surrey Cyclist", exhorting members to act.
The final agenda item was David Pinkess' proposition that attendance points be awarded only for rides organised by the DA. It was generally felt that the word 'events' would be better than 'rides', and on this understanding there was much sympathy for the motion, but there was too for Roger Philo's view, which he proposed as an amendment, that up to one 'away' event per calendar month, if it was agreed by a majority of the active members of a riding group and included on the Runs List, should be allowable. After considerable discussion it was also proposed that the attendance competition should be abolished, on the grounds that it perenially generated more heat than light. The chairman preferred to deal with the matter informally, and it was agreed that the principal protagonists would thrash out an agreement outside the meeting.
Under Any Other Business, the Committee agreed to consider the possibility of organising a charity ride again next year, and to review and publish the rules of the Benstead Cup competition.
The two pianists were ably assisted by Chris Jeggo, and his son on the trombone, this was after tables were pushed back into full tummies to allow the trombone to operate. Mention must also be made of the excellence of the singing and the virtuosity of the percussionists.
As we all enjoyed ourselves so much it was suggested this becomes an annual event. Thanks to all who gave us such a happy evening, particularly to Ken for his hospitality.
What a talented lot we cyclists are!
Three of us reached the top together, and waited for the others. It was a longer wait than we expected, but eventually Geoff and, let us call him the Thursday Nighter to spare his blushes, walked into view.
Maybe it was the extra weight of the magazines, or the extra weight of the beer. Maybe the uninhibiting effects of the alcohol had unleashed supernormal leg power. Or maybe the Thursday Nighter's chain was simply worn out or defective. Anyway, it had broken.
Between us we managed to produce a chain rivet extractor and a couple of battery lamps to illuminate proceedings, so the chain was duly mended, amid some jocularity. Beer-laden legs, by now a bit chilly, were persuaded to turn again, but only for a quarter-mile or so, when there was a bang followed by much clattering. Maybe the Thursday Nighter's Never-Ready front lamp had not been pressed fully home into its clip after the previous incident, or maybe the clip wasn't that good anyway. Be that as it may, pieces of lamp were now strewn all along the road. Amazingly, we found all the pieces, and none was broken. Curiously, though, the batteries had vanished. We searched to no avail.
No problem. We're all mates together, and help one another out. Someone had both a Vistalite and a Never-Ready rear lamp, so was able to lend a pair of batteries.
At this point the Thursday Nighter scratched his head, saying "I'd like to know what happened to those batteries", took an incautious step backwards, tripped on a tussock of grass, and sat down, wearing shorts, in a large clump of nettles. We should not laugh at others' misfortunes, but, to be perfectly frank, we were all falling about!
To enjoy the camaraderie of club life at its best, why not join us one Thursday night?
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Web page by Chris Jeggo. Last revised: 13 September 2006.