Weekly Round-up: 7 Apr 2024

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

NFCC Ten Series Rd.1: P170

The first NFCC Club Time Trial of the season was cancelled due to the bad weather forecast. An early decision was taken by the organisers to prevent not only riders from having to endure the forecast squalls, but also the marshals, timekeepers, and other volunteers who help make these events happen. Thank you again to those who offered their assistance for the evening.

Saturday Club Ride

After a week of on/off planning with the forecast of high winds it was just below the threshold for a road ride this week so a 118Km route was scheduled. The route was planned with a bit of flexibility in mind should conditions worsen. Eleven brave riders made the start and there were a few bare legs and arms on show that we hadn’t seen since 2023, and also a few riders coming out of hibernation with the mercury forecast being well into double digits. We set off into a severe headwind towards Wilverley as a single peloton and soon picked up Matt K and Neil S who had obviously been enjoying a Saturday morning lie in. With the group now up to thirteen we decided to split into two groups in line with the usual decision criteria. To qualify for Group One you must tick a minimium of two qualities from young / fast / foolhardy, and for Group Two old / steady / wise. These criteria were put to the test when we reached Hill Top.

Group One powered up the hill and sped off to Lepe as per the plan. Group Two were waiting to re-group with Smithy who was making his ascent when a friendly rider warned us that the onshore wind at Lepe was creating waves that were going right over the road, covering it with sand and making it very difficult. So, the sage Group Two turned left at Inchmery and took a smart detour to avoid the hazard. This caused some chagrin when Group One arrived in Beaulieu covered in sea spray for the coffee stop and was exacerbated when Group Two were at the front of the queue as a result of their detour. After refreshments the ride continued for another loop of East End / East Boldre.
Some of the riders started getting their excuses in early to justify where they were going to cut short the ride. Just after reaching Lodge Lane a shout of “mechanical” came from the back of the group and Matt K’s rear wheel was looking like it was made of rubber. Further investigations showed some loose spokes. If it was other members of the peloton there may have been justifiable comments of “too many pies” but that wouldn’t stick on Matt. He decided to take a short cut home but soon had to make the phone call of shame. Normally this would be enough to be put in the barrel for a week. Especially if you add the two mechanicals Matt had before the start with a loose bottle cage and a puncture he couldn’t fix quickly, which was the reason he was on the lightweight climbing wheel be broke. Matt does have history in having mechanicals in threes but there was a worse misdemeanour to come.

On the ironically named Main Road in East Boldre the cross winds started to increase to an uncomfortable level. A decision to cut out the Ipley Cross to Beaulieu Road stretch was taken.
Heading north towards Beaulieu Road Station Phil G sprinted off ahead to get some photos for the Instagram account. All day getting riders to share the work on the front had been about as hard as getting a politician to keep a promise. As Phil G headed off down the road Neil V made a sudden appearance at the front. I would also add that this was downwind and doesn’t count as a turn. After the picture was taken, he went back into the peloton. For this shameful act Neil V will take a well-deserved turn in the barrel this week. All in all, another fun ride in challenging conditions with good company as usual. Kudos to all that braved the weather and made the ride. Here’s hoping for some more clement weather next week.

Sunday Off-Road Club Ride

Storm Kathleen put paid to any ides we had of a Sunday club ride on the road this weekend but with a forecast of reasonable temperatures and no rain we decided to run a ride on the more sheltered gravel tracks. Phil trusted Barry to plan the previous Sunday gravel ride route and had forge a river in consequence so he learned from his mistakes and planned his own this time. 9 riders made the start riding anything from top of the range, dialled in super-bikes to what looked at first sight to be a Raleigh chopper.

The tracks out of Brockenhurst proved reasonably easy going and we matched that with a very easy pace. There isn’t much point in hammering a gravel ride around here anyway as you have to stop every couple of kilometres to go through a gate. Todays group was polite to a fault with everyone thanking everyone else for holding open the gates. Politeness costs nothing.We managed about an hour before the first flat tyre with Neil being the culprit. I’d say victim but it’s unusual to see a 40 mm gravel tyre that has less tread on it than a continental 5000. Spotting a photo opportunity NFCC’s own ‘David Bailey’ Phill Jumped into the stream to get just the right shot. Sadly his ‘waterproof’ socks had a hole in them but it’s great to see a true auteur suffering for their art.
At this point three of the group decided that they’d had about enough of our company and decided to take their refreshments in Burley and make their own entertainment from there. The route worked well up to a point and that point was Holmesley tea rooms. Jay said he knew a better route here and took us through a hilly quagmire. Some had the skills to navigate this terrain and some of us didn’t. In any case this turned out not to be an official bike path so I’m slapping my own wrist and hoping that no angry letters, written by pitchfork wielding locals will arrive on the desk of the Lymington times.
Back on track we made our way through Brock’ and up the hill to within sniffing distance of the cafe. Jay suggested adding the climb up Church hill to the route and we all agreed, he set off and we turned right to the cafe, sniggering like schoolboys. The sun just about made an appearance at a very enjoyable cafe stop but with some of the regular big eating Sunday riders away, including Axum in Roubaix it was a pretty sedate affair. Rumours reached us however of a sudden cake shortage in Northern France which surely can’t be a coincidence.

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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