Thursday, March 05, 2009

Cycling: Lewes/Alfriston loop (part II)


Later the ground fell. Our wheels went too but Alfirston caught us with its familiar frown.

It handed us each a pasty, sent us around the corner and told us not to come out until it was time to leave, we were making the place look untidy.

It's a village so focused on being beautiful it's forgotten to have fun - forgotten what life is surely about. There are cold shoulders on every corner, behind endless counters and bars.

The pasties were unimaginably good though. Guilt free buttery pastry and red meat. Reason enough to take up biking. We washed them down with Oreos from the same magical, time-locked shop (personed by sour face youngster) and slipped out of our side street and away, being sure not to disturb the po-faced people inside their diamond encrusted homes.

Refuelled we all sped up to the top of the Old Coach Road and began the flatter ride home. Poor Phil was suffering equally with bum and lung.

Every incline, even slight, is so hard, he confessed.
I feel I'm holding you up.

Suddenly aware how far we'd come we congratulated and comforted and directed to the pub at Firle.
My man, you should be proud... go and drink away the good, as is tradition, we both said in less poetic phrase.

He went with it agreeing to do his best to conform.

We did pick up the pace for a mile, but then road became path, stile and ploughed field. It appeared the makers of the Old Coach Road to Lewes may have stopped off at the same pub as Phil and never started again.

But a friendly car washer put us right and soon, after a ploughed field which would have red carded us a week earlier, we were in Beddingham.

It's back over the downs or the main road towards Newhaven mate, I said to Dan, who sees A roads as I see passenger aeroplanes.
Taking our chances with the freight we held our breath for a mile or so and survived to tell Phil how little he'd missed.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Cycling: Lewes/Alfriston loop

Sorry Phil.

I'm almost dead here and you two don't seem to be even breathing hard.
There is little as sweet sounding to the cyclist's ear, as a yard stick to your own fitness, than a hyperventalating mate.

It's your first time for an age fella... and you're bike weighs a ton...
Was my glee detectable?

I'm not terribly fit.
I still have to sub off every minute and a half during tougher hockey games.
But Phil kindly showed, as we tickled the foot of the Downs near Lewes, that hard winter work pays off.

As it happens, up top, there was more than a suggestion winter was fading.
The trudgery of a week or so ago seemed no more. Perhaps not just temporarrily either. There was a permenance to the ground's firmness and it made for riding unriveled in months.

For two at least the ups were painless and the downs delirious.

What's that paraglider doing standing on a post?, asked Dan as hobbiests all over the Beacon struggled with the calm.
It's hardly going to make any diff...
We watched as, balance lost, he tumbled off and was saved from a bump by the gentlest of breezes. He was up. And I laughed at the timing.

Behind the glider was a view worth putting the effort in for.

Prodominant greenscale mixed with mist on the Wield in the middle distance. We could see the Old Coach Road, our route home, but soon, before its parallel main road replacement of a centuary later, the curtain came down.