The  ride to Steep on Sunday 15th January was Epic

The  ride on Sunday 15th January was epic, or even character forming as Sam put it.  “Avatar: The way of Water” and “Waterworld” both had less water than we encountered. 

The day started well, with your intrepid ride leader Adam, Sam, Maureen, Alan, Bob and Jeff setting off northwards on a cold, breezy but bright sunny day.  On the way towards Lavant there were a few minor puddles, but after turning off the A286 onto the B2141 towards Chilgrove, we immediately had to ride through a lake covering the road.  And shortly afterwards, another one.  And then another one.  In fact, for the next couple of miles there were numerous stretches where either one side of the road was completely underwater, or the entire width was. 

Fortunately, most drivers were considerate, and in fact often it was easiest to follow closely behind a car in order to travel in their wake due to the momentarily dispersed water.  Fortunately we soon reached higher ground and were able to turn off towards the coffee stop at Compton.  As Jeff was feeling the cold, he opted to go inside, whilst the rest of us sat outside.

We weren’t the only otherswimmers cyclists out and about – just as we were leaving, several groups turned up including a large Breeze ride with at least 10 riders in, which was good to see.  Jeff opted to stay in the warm for a while and make his own way back whilst the rest of us set off to start on the hills towards Uppark House.  This was a slow steady climb for myself and Bob, less so for the other 3 who merely upped the power level on their motors!  Heading down the other side towards South Harting, I had a shock as a hunched and grinning Sam suddenly appeared alongside me looking like a Horseman of the Apocalypse astride his monster tractor of an e-bike, before he carried on down the hill.

The miles ticked away as we carried on through Rogate and up the hill on the other side.  We paused for a while to ponder how a car could end up off road when there weren’t any skid marks in the mud.

We then dropped down through Liss and followed the A3 for a while before turning to arrive at the Harrow pub in Steep, which is a quirky old-fashioned pub.  Bob had his own log stump to eat alongside a bowl of soup.

Alan and I each had a Ploughman’s which contained several enormous slabs of bread which also fortified the other riders.

Heading off again, we quickly zipped through Petersfield, through Buriton and then on the run in to Rowlands Castle we encountered lots more run-off from the hills.

At Rowlands Castle Sam opted to stop, leaving the rest of us to head back to Chichester where we used the footbridge over the ford, seeing as it was a foot under water.

We arrived back in Chichester after around 46 miles.  What will we encounter next week?

Adam Bell

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