04 OCT, Chilgrove, (10,12)
Pre-ride conversation centred around rubber. New boy Lootenant Simon had thrown safety to the side to embark the evening ride on a set intermediate rubber, although really I would say they were closer to slicks. The Lootenant discussed at length how their rolling resistance would be minimal resulting in breakneck speed and sure-footed corner prowess. I didn’t have the heart to tell the Lootenant that the majority of the planned ride was up hill.
At last we were ready for the off. Despite there being no service stations open in the south of England, 10 Shabis had managed to save enough fuel to make the evening rendezvous to a new pub, the White Horse in Chilgrove.
As promised the ride started in the ascent, puffing, panting and swearing ensued followed by the obligatory early pee stop. The first deer of the evening were encountered shortly afterwards, running in front of the RM. Chuff gleefully warned the RM that a third deer was about to cross his bows and take him out, therefore permitting an early return to the pub, but thankfully the third deer didn’t appear, it was an old deer and therefore probably crossed the trail 15 minutes or so after we had passed.
More wildlife was met minutes later. This time two rather stout ladies with a heard of dogs. The ladies did their best to collect the various different shaped pooches from the advancing Shabi pack and soon our path was clear so we could search for the next hill.
The Shabi entourage continued into the night. I was not entirely sure, but I’m sure I heard singing and giggling, obviously we were all having lots of fun and enjoying steep, wet chalk encrusted false flats.
As we reached the church at Up Marden our very own Chris Packham, Stumpy of down under identified a frog underfoot. I say frog, Nurse Brown who knows a thing or two about…., well frogs, announced in detail, via a submitted academic paper posted on WhatsApp that it was actually a toad. The paper was well beyond my understanding but apparently the defining identifying characteristic was that if it indeed was a frog, it would be wearing a beret. Thanks Nurse Brown we are all much more worldly wise.
Frog or toad, the sight of it turned our own Faff Checks to an instant hunger craving. With Stumpy announcing that the said frog (toad) was capable of killing an army of men if it was eaten, Faff Cheeks eventually agreed that it was indeed too risky to eat and therefore sought an alternative. Luckily a Shabi (who can’t be named due to legal implications) produced a cocaine laced peanut bar. This hit the spot big time and onward we set.
A view to Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight followed before a bit of climbing and into the woods. In the woods the RM and Chuff saw a fantastic Stag with a glorious set of antlers. Luckily for us the Stag decided to retreat into the night but we were both mighty please to have seen such a fantastic beast.