24 Sept, Seven Stars, (6,12)
As the rain fell, so did the excuses. Daisy was called to the big smoke, lets hope he didn't inhale, Ming was battling floods as he bailed out, Big Ring was looking for his missing T shirt from the week before, Genghis was Poorly, Baby sitting, working, cold, hot, delete as applicable. 5 Shabis, Chuff, Tonka, Fracker, Slumpy and Dobby were joined by Algee in the family camper van and several Steep residents trying to order a Donna Kebab. Slumpy was eager to show of his newly repaired bike straight from a well known cycle shop, such short lived pleasure. 5 Shabis are faced with with memories of the previous weeks well navigated route by Chuff , confidence is in short supply. With a "Follow me" Chuff takes the lead and sets of left from the pub down the lane, left stop at the gate, Dobbie is instructed to push the button and the gate opens. Slumpy stares mesmerised at the magic gate whilst the others pass by onto single track where we face super nettles that wrap around your waist. Tonka soon realises that water proof does not mean nettle proof. The single track ends at a field which is quickly traversed and the shabis find themselves heading towards Buriton. The climb to QE park has some vegetation, we've all seen Jurassic Park where the tree tops shake but you don't see the monster. All Slumpy saw was the swish of undergrowth as the mythical creature known as Taliban Badger strikes ripping off his derailleur without stopping. You have all seen the pictures.
A man down the remaining 5 reach the summit of QE, Fracker was desperate to ride route 4 but settles for the Blue run, whoops and yells echo across the night as shabis race their way to the bottom. Through QE car park, under the A3 and start the climb up Butser, follow the lights ahead and your going in the right direction. Once at the top everyone takes a moment to catch their breath before the descent of death.
First there is the tightrope, a thin strip of single track with the wind blowing from the left and a barbed wire fence on the right. don't lose balance, across the tightrope and down the slippy chalk there are no whoops of joy , Algee is impressed with Chuff who displays great agility as his bike slides one way whilst he is skating the other. Everyone makes it safely down Tonka starts to complain that he has sore wrists, just what was he doing at the back? A short bit of road and then the last bit of down hill. Tonka lets some air out of his front tyre, apparently the stiffness was hurting his wrists, more slippy mud sees Dobbie inspecting the hedgerow before we reach the A272 and back to the pub. 12 miles, meal and T shirt points for all. Fall for Chuff, Comedy fall for Dobbie & Fracker. RM Chuff, Mechanical - Slumpy. For those who stayed away, NO RAIN