South Dartmoor CTC

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Sunday 16 November 2003
1100-1355
Morning ride: Avon Dam (15 mi)Bright and sunny
4 present: Jason Dart, Michael Jones, Ashley Myhill, Gavin Pearson
Jason’s sore throat left him feeling somewhat weak after the first small climb, so he decided to go home while the rest of us continued up the many climbs to Shipley Bridge and the delightful walk to the reservoir. A chilly breeze took the shine off the views across the choppy waters so we took shelter behind a gorse bush during the consumption of refreshments.

The whole experience of cycling the Abbots Way moorland track was completely new to Ashley, who thoroughly enjoyed the brisk descent to Chalk Ford without incident. This really was a perfect day for this excellent ride.

Friday 21 November 2003
1900-2200
Social: Video Evening
0 present:
This social was cancelled.

Sunday 23 November 2003
1100-1415
Morning ride: Dartington (12 mi)Cold and grey, with a spell of light rain
6 present: Tao Burgess, Will Burgess, Michael Jones, James Manning, Ashley Myhill, Gavin Pearson
This week it had been Will's turn to get the dreaded flu, but he still made a tremendous effort and turnout out for this morning's ride on a day that threatened rain. We actually made it half way along Colston road before we really noticed any drizzle, but it was a little heavier at the top of Dartington hill and several of the younger riders had no gloves. A change of destination from Totnes to Dartington solved the problem and we were soon in Cranks vegetarian restaurant enjoying their excellent range of drinks and cakes. James and Ashley were unable to contain their hostile feelings about a meat-free menu, however.

We spent a few minutes observing the usual high prices of china in the Cider Press Centre shop, then headed back up the hill towards Rattery as the rain gradually fizzled out. The final leg of the journey past Pennywell Farm was pleasant, although the cold air ensured that Will descended very slowly to avoid frostbite!

Friday 28 November 2003
1900-2130
Social: Games Evening
3 present: Kane Edwards, Michael Jones, Gavin Pearson
We all enjoyed playing a new GameCube game, Super Smash Bros Melee, for most of the evening.

Sunday 30 November 2003
1100-1330
Morning ride: Landscove (9 mi)Mainly wet
7 present: Louis Burgess, Will Burgess, Jason Dart, Michael Jones, James Manning, Ashley Myhill, Gavin Pearson
The weather was not at all promising when we met at the start, but our five youngsters impressed us by insisting on a ride regardless of the rain! We took the old road to Ashburton and climbed Chuley hill, but a few minutes later there was a delay while we fetched Jason back from a wrong turn and fixed Louis' rear brake. It's just as well that this was the moment for a dry spell!

We had to include a muddy track to keep James happy, then we headed towards Landscove and home before rain and cold feet dampened the enthusiasm. As usual, the afternoon was while away happily with a games social at Crofters.

Friday 5 December 2003
1900-2200
Social: Games Evening
4 present: James Browning, Michael Jones, Gavin Pearson, Tommy Roberts
Some of our younger riders don't seem to have realised that they can attend club socials on Fridays. Those who attended this evening enjoyed some quiet, uninterrupted time on the networked PC games.

Sunday 7 December 2003
1100-1300
Morning ride: Skerraton Down (8 mi)Sunny
8 present: Jake Chilcott, Michael Jones, James Manning, Jamie Mason, Tim Mason (13, Buckfastleigh), Ashley Myhill, Gavin Pearson, Joe Venables
New rider Tim used the long climb from Dean to Skerraton Farm to demonstrate that he is every bit as athletic as his brother Jamie. The stony track up to the moor was especially appreciated by James, who undoubtedly follows his older brother's preferences for off-road riding. It also gave Joe an opportunity to tell us of his scuba diving exploits - the explanation for his absence for the past few months. Once we were though the gateway to the open moor there was a short refreshment stop in the morning sunshine, then a final climb past the cattle to the high ridge - exposed to string winds and panoramic views.

The downhill to Cross Furzes took us past a group of long-haired and colourful Dartmoor ponies chasing about in their paddock. James just had to ride the ford of course, but he claims he didn't get wet feet. The final downhill brought us back just in time for Jake to make his family lunch appointment at 1pm. The rest of the group enjoyed an afternoon social at Crofters.

All our younger riders are progressing well through the training scheme and will soon be ready for harder rides. We plan to offer some Saturday rides on an occasional basis for those working towards Stage 3 - watch the web site for announcements.

Friday 12 December 2003
1900-2200
Social: Games Evening
4 present: Louis Burgess, Tao Burgess, Will Burgess, Michael Jones
Swimming didn't appeal this evening, so Tao used the time to do some more work on our Norway video while the rest of us enjoyed the usual computer games.

Sunday 14 December 2003
1000-1630
Day ride: Christmas Lunch, Ilsington Country Hotel (22 mi)Sunny but cold
9 present: Louis Burgess, Tao Burgess, Will Burgess, Jake Chilcott, Michael Jones, Oliver Lindley, James Manning, Jamie Mason, Gavin Pearson
Our plans to depart promptly at 10am were disrupted by several events, chief of which was that Jamie thought the ride started at 11! To make matters worse, Oliver decided to pace around for a full 20 minutes until Jamie arrived before discovering that he had a puncture. When we finally got moving we decided to stick with our original plans of pushing the ride length over 20 miles, to help those youngsters working towards their Stage 2 certificate.

Tao, Will and Louis had been waiting so long for us at Heathfield that they had been able to fix a puncture as well as getting cold. Everyone did well on the climb from Bovey Tracey to Ilsington, however, and we were soon jumping in the hotel swimming pool, relaxing in the Jacuzzi and sweltering in the sauna.

Finally the time came for the main event, and as usual the hotel provided a delicious meal and a quality atmosphere. When the awards and Christmas announcements were over, the Burgess family headed straight for Newton Abbot as they didn't all have lights, and the rest of us took the short route via Birchanger and Halshanger to Ashburton, arriving home just before dusk.

Friday 19 December 2003
1900-2200
Social: Music Quiz
5 present: Luke Fursdon, Michael Jones, Oliver Lindley, Tim Owen, Gavin Pearson
We used a slightly revised format for our popular Music Quiz, putting more emphasis on full MIDI implementations and original recordings. There was a lot of fun throughout the evening, but it was Gavin and Luke who eventually won the day over Tim and Oliver by just three points.

Sunday 21 December 2003
1100-1230
Morning ride: Buckfast (3 mi)Cold and wet
3 present: Tao Burgess, Michael Jones, James Manning
The forecast "sunshine with occasional showers" turned out to be more "continuous rain, with occasional sunny spells when South Dartmoor CTC are not cycling". Buckfast offered a suitable cafe stop while we ascertained the truth of the revised forecast: the best option then seemed to be a fairly direct route home. There was plenty of time during the afternoon to organise another Music Quiz for those who had not made the Friday social.

Saturday 27 December 2003
1700-2300
Social: Christmas Social
6 present: Louis Burgess, Tao Burgess, Will Burgess, Michael Jones, Callum Stuart, John Stuart
John Stuart and son Callum were the surprise guests for this seasonal evening of mince pies, DVDs and computer games.

Sunday 28 December 2003
1100-1630
Day ride: Tuckenhay (25 mi)Sunny but cold
7 present: Louis Burgess, Tao Burgess, Will Burgess, Michael Jones, James Manning, Keir Manning, Ashley Myhill
Everyone was eager for a more adventurous ride today, so we headed straight for Totnes via Colston Road and the cycle path, arriving at the High Street cafe by around 12.00. Most bought lunches, including Michael who ordered a mushroom pizza that was cut neatly into 6 slices. Will thought the prices were too high, so Michael foolishly offered him a slice of pizza for £1: within seconds he only had three slices left, thanks to the added interest of Louis!

The afternoon sun was still high enough to allow our planned 20-mile ride, and Ashley was soon taking photographs from the viewpoints on Totnes Downhill. Others commented on the fact that Keir was wearing out his shoe leather on the climb rather than his tyres, but it was so good to see him again that we didn't press him too much on the point. The downhill to Bow Bridge presented a challenge to some of the youngsters in the form of the ford across the shallow but fast flowing river. Tao and Keir egged them on in the hope of an entertaining show, but Michael's words of caution against the cold finally won the day.

Tuckenhay and its old creek looked delightful in the afternoon sunshine even though the tide was out. This had to be the far point of our ride, however, if we were to return before dusk, so we veered right past the mill stream and followed the valley through Harbertonford and on to the final climb from Tigley to Rattery. Having reached the twenty mile point at Tigley we were now heading into "extra miles": combined with the plummeting temperatures this began to take its toll on the younger riders. When they got close to the top, however, they all found plenty more energy and we were soon warming ourselves by the gas fire at Buckfastleigh and enjoying hot drinks all round.

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