Weekly Round-up: 4 Feb 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

Weather was set fair-ish for this week’s club ride and a trip out of the forest to one of our well used routes along the Chalke Valley. Planned route was a hilly 113Km as part of Barry’s plan to make each week a progression on the previous when weather permits. Eleven riders made the start, and the group split was three and eight with not many volunteers for the faster group. Cycling clubs are often criticised for a lack of diversity but do not let that be levelled at NFCC. Of the eleven riders we had three that were not named Matt or Phil!

One of the many Phil’s, Mr Harris was demonstrating his recently seen flaccid tyre and white fluid seepage routine at the start that was last seen in Nomansland but luckily the sealant did its job, and no repair or delay was required. Last week we had a nominee for the barrel before they had even started a club ride. This has set a high bar to which Matt K had set his ambitions. Before the start he decided that he was carrying too much weight for the club ride and needed to lighten the load. The Brockenhurst toilets are undergoing a refurb and Matt misread the signs and promptly disappeared into the Ladies which were fortunately unoccupied. When he emerged, he did comment that he thought “it smelled nicer than the gents” but that’s probably not the case anymore. We set off in our two groups along the Rhinefield Road and were ready to cross the A35 when Matt K decided that his position in the barrel this week could be under threat so decided to ignore the planned route on his Garmin and turn left onto the A35 alone rather than following the group riding up Bolderwood.
The group continued into a headwind for the best part of two hours up Bolderwood, through Fordingbridge, Whitsbury, Coombe Bissett and along the Chalke Valley to the Community Shop and Café. We entered the café to find it full of locals, a group of motorbike riders and all of us. The café was rammed but the café volunteers coped brilliantly serving everybody promptly with the right orders and the usual delicious food. After the coffee stop, we were a bit cold but the climb of Knowle Hill soon warmed us up. The descent is a long straight 60KmH plus plunge towards the A354 and on the descent we had our second puncture of the day when Barry’s rear tyre blew. Luckily tubeless technology did its job, and he was able to make a controlled stop with enough air in the tyre. A repair was effected, thanks to Dynaplug and Matt K stepped in to offer help with a C02 inflation. With two misdemeanours to his name, he was still concerned that his place in the barrel this week was not guaranteed so after inflating Barry’s tyre and thinking the hole in the ozone layer was not large enough promptly discharged the unused C02 in the cannister into the atmosphere.
We continued towards Martin avoiding the craters in the road that local resident Barry Hards had pre-warned us of. The warning was appreciated, the road looked like Port Stanley Airfield in 1982! The ride continued to Moyles Court where we said goodbye to Adrian, Phil J and Sean. We continued up towards Red Shoot where we were re-joined by Phil G who had completed the ride with Group One. He then did his usual community service pacing back dropped riders to the group and taking pictures. At Milkham we parted with Phil H who was too close to home to make any other decision unwise and left him to enjoy a tailwind home across Ocknells Plain. The last three riders finished the route back to Brockenhurst and the mileage monster that is Phil G rounded up to a 100 miler for the second consecutive week.

Sunday Club Ride

The almost balmy conditions of 10 degree C, cloudy, damp and windy tempted 16 riders to the start line for this weeks jaunt (or 17 if you include Axum who was on his way home from a night shift and came to see us off (which was nice but inexplicably, hadn’t brought a breakfast buffet so). With spring within the sniffing distance of a bloodhound some of the young guns looked keen for a faster ride so we split roughly into two groups of aging novices and aging veterans. Late to the start Steve. B joined the wrong group and paid the consequences as group one put the hammer down for the first 20K. He wasn’t helped by the fact that he was fitting the ride in before a trip to Winchester and had a loaded pannier on one side of his steed. Group two meanwhile made good, if unspectacular progress being pushed along by a sympathetic tailwind until we reached Ipley cross befire turning into a confidence shredding headwind that will be familiar to all local TT’ers.

As usual, when we head back towards Brock from Hatchett Pond group 2 split a little as the headwind took its toll but all’s fair in love and headwinds and we all arrived at the cafe pretty much together to meet up with most of group 1 (Jane and a John cheating by taking a short cut, which we won’t mention). With about 15 members making it to the cafe and some doubling up on the coffee and cake I am starting to wonder whether I should be cutting a deal with Setley ridge or at least taking out shares in the operation. Ride was a nice chatty Sunday classic, no punctures or crashes (although John B nearly hit the deck on the dreaded cattle grid near ‘The Pig’) and as far as I’m aware no one fell out. A good morning.

BJW Winter Reliability Ride Series

Four New Forest riders joined the final ride of the BJW Winter Series. Chris Ford, Reece Dawson, and Phil Grant embarked on the 100-mile course, while Lucy Greehy opted for the 100km version. The lively group set off from Wimborne at 0800, navigating a rolling route through Dorset. They visited various Puddle and Piddle villages before skirting the New Forest and returning to the start for tea, cake and bacon butties! Find a series of further images from NFCC Phil Grant 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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