Weekly Round-up: 28 Jan 2024

All the latest news, events, and results from NFCC Members from this week’s two-wheeled adventures…

NFCC Virtual Chain Gang

The NFCC Zwift club has grown to 41 members, consistently attracting a good dozen on a Thursday evening. These fast-paced group rides attempt to simulate the effort of the real Chain Gang, featuring courses that alternate between short Crit-style laps and longer routes, the latter often concluding with a Matt Smith favourite, a big hill!
To join in simply search for New Forest in the Clubs tab on the Zwift companion app.

Saturday Club Ride

At last, a Saturday without a weather warning for ice / wind / rain etc. However, the riders who assembled at the start did not believe the forecast as it felt a lot colder than what was promised and a lot of us felt a little underdressed before 9AM.
As usual for this time of year the rides are generally made a bit longer and harder each week and this week a lumpy 110Km route was planned. We welcomed back a few riders who had been keener on their duvets than turning up for bad weather riding for most of 2024. There are still more to return, and we look forward to seeing them soon and listening to the moaning about how hard it is after a lay off! We were due to welcome a potential new member to the group, Callum. He has set a new club record for getting put in the barrel before even joining the club. He drove from Southampton, parked in Brockenhurst, and discovered he’d left his cycling shoes at home. With form like that he’s tailor made for the Saturday group and will fit in with the usual suspects who regularly take their turn in the barrel. We look forward to having him along fully kitted out next week.

We were on the cusp of a one or two peloton ride but the young and young at heart wanted a faster paced group so two pelotons set out west from Brockenhurst. Group 2 picked up Smithy round the back of East End who had taken a short cut to head off the group. Apparently, he was late as he was deciding what to wear! As the result was a flouro yellow top under a club gilet we wondered what the combos he rejected were. On the subject of colour blindness, he was outdone by Rupert who like Graham some weeks ago decided that the club gilet with it’s lovingly and artistically created colour palette needed a blue jersey underneath that matched nothing apart from the blue sky that had thankfully materialsed by now. Both groups progressed incident free, we passed a well ordered herd of cows near Norleywood what were in perfect two-line peloton formation. Barry of course with his obsession of the groups riding in straight lines wanted to sign them up for honorary club membership, luckily if they did join, they would take the same jersey size as him so we could kit them out.

We continued onwards to Moyles Court where Matt M peeled off bemoaning a lack of 2024 miles in his legs. On the way to the mid ride break Group 2 had a close encounter with some hinds crossing the road at Ogdens very close to the group and at high pace. A spectacular sight but glad we weren’t there five seconds earlier. We all reconvened at The Coffee Pot who kindly reserved the usual large table out the back which was perfect for both groups plus the additional riders that Group 1 had picked up. We set off back for the second loop. We descended Pentons Hill and made an emergency stop where a truck was blocking the road whilst it emptied somebody’s septic tank. A dismount and some cyclo cross practice was required as we shouldered bikes and tiptoed on the verge to the side of the lorry. We then said adieu to Phil J before the Red Shoot climb. Phil was complaining of a bad back. Not a cycling or training related injury but an inevitable result of that dangerous combination of a milestone birthday, excess alcohol and gravity. Hope you recover soon Phil.

The second half of the ride was a bit hillier than recent rides, and this did start to show with the groups fragmenting a little on the climbs. Group 1 as it often does burned brightly like a rocket and then fizzled out. By the time we got to the Portuguese Oven we saw Phil G who was last man standing. He joined Group 2 and did his usual public service pacing riders back to the pack. We said our goodbyes to Smithy on the climb to Bolderwood and he was left to enjoy a downhill ride to Ringwood. The remaining riders made it back to Brockenhurst. Neil, Phil G and Axum continued further, and all completed 100 miles plus so extra kudos to them. All in all, a very enjoyable winters ride in nice weather but most of us found it a pretty tough day.

Sunday Club Ride

The relatively mild (4 degrees) weather forecast for this weeks Sunday club ride attracted an impressive 13 members to the start line. The reality of a -1 degree start did little to dampen the group’s enthusiasm. We started out as one group but at the peak of Col de Bolderwood, when the group had mysteriously grown to 15, we split into two groups and everyone in group one promised earnestly not to increase the pace.
As group one inevitably increased the pace, group two continued steadily and appreciated the now more temperate climate. As it turned out, conditions were about as good as we can hope for at this time of year and it was a really nice social ride with no dramas (punctures/mechanicals). The ride leaders plan for a homeward-leg tailwind turned out to be BS but I personally blame the BBC for that.

A short while after group two reached the refuge of the Setley ridge cafe, they were joined by two more regulars who had both punctured on route to the start. One who lives within throwing distance of the meeting point!. Those two had formed group 3 and ridden the route as planned. At the cafe, news reached the group that one of our regulars had managed to destroy both his bike and car by driving through a low barrier with his bike on the roof rack. Congratulations to Tom for his early entry into 2024’s ‘Lanterne rouge’ award. Great to see that 17 had made the ride on a cold day in the middle of winter. Also nice to welcome another new rider to the fold.

Wessex CX 23/24: Rd.13 – CrowCross

NFCC Cyclocross Captain Catherine Pascoe passes on her thanks to everyone who gave up their time to help make the Club’s co-hosted home race a success this weekend. Round 13 of the Wessex Cyclocross League returned to Crow Farm. Find out how Team NFCC got on by CLICKING HERE.

Get Involved:

If you find yourself out and about representing NFCC, don’t forget to jot down a few words, snap a few photos and send them over to press@newforestcc.co.uk.

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