7th December 2010
Route: WP, Meavy, Greg's Leat, Handrail, Deancombe,
Boneshaker, Crazywell Pool, Leat, HQ/Home/Nun's Cross.
Riders: Keith, Paddy, Colin, James, Stephen,
Nick, Rob, Greg, Sam & Alex.
Arrive HQ: 22:15 - 22:25
Distance: 16 miles
Weather: Sub Zero, Icy.
Freeze Your Bollocks
When the Routemeister proposed
his usual type of trip, I didn't expect a turn out of ten brave
men, one very brave as it turned out! We welcomed a new gent,
Alex, a colleague of Colin's. Most noticeable about Alex was
that he obviously doesn't own a pair of long bib shorts, (or
even a pair of 1980s track suit bottoms, Paddy) for he was
sporting shorts! And the same can be said for Sam as well.
Christmas shopping by their better halfs should be easy!
We tentatively set off for Meavy and as I climbed the first
hill in the wrong gear all I did was
my rear wheel on the frosty road! We climbed up to the Dam,
a nice way to warm up. Onwards to the Handrail and through
Roughtor Plantation to Deancombe all relatively unscathed,
despite many patches of ice.
Down Deancombe to Norsworthy then up the Boneshaker to a frozen
Crazywell Pool. We picked up the Devonport Leat and headed
East along a very tricky section. So tricky that there was
lots of stopping and the Routemeister came within a nanometer
of having a dip.
Not so lucky for Nick. Riding right behind him
time didn't stand still, but it definitely went into slow motion
and my memory seems strangely vague. As I remember it, Nick
looked like a tight rope walker having a wobble. I don't recollect
the words, there were some,
but eventually he ended up falling into the fast flowing icy
leat right up to his neck! I recall shouting 'man over board',
first words that came into my head! Nick was trapped under
his bike (thankfully carbon) and was shouting to me to get
it off him. At this point I asked Colin to hold my hand, not
in some strange sort of clandestine moorland ritual, but so
that I could get the bike out without following Nick into the
With the other six front runners returning to help, Nick and
bike were extricated from the evil leat. At this point I had
a vision of Martyn at home (because of a carol service, take
note Al) in front of his fire, slippers on, pipe in
mouth, sipping a glass of mulled wine! The cold was starting
to have an effect on me and I then had an image of a naked
man begging for dry clothing off the rich passers by!!!
Within no time Nick was all dressed and desperate to get home.
Rob and myself blatantly broke the GOWCC rule of 'showing
no sympathy' and set off with him as the remaining seven just
carried on as if nothing had happened. It was only now that
Nick realised that his bike was freewheeling, no drive to
the rear wheel! Rob proved to be the real hero from here,
somehow negotiating the Boneshaker and pushing Nick at the
Once in sight of the Raddick Plantation I felt we were nearly
safe. Now just as the granite rocky track changed into a nice
relatively smooth surface, the cold penetrated Nick's brain
and he veered
off line, hit the only bit of granite in sight and took a
trip over the handlebars! Now it was time to phone for help,
but Nick's mobile isn't made by Exposure, and thankfully
I just had enough credit on mine to call Mrs Nick. Protestations
of having had two glasses of wine were thrown out by Rob
and myself and a rendezvous point made.
Once on tarmac, I swapped bikes with Nick so he could try
to warm up a little. Ironically we met the rescue vehicle
just where the ice cream van normally resides. With the bike
rack frozen, the back seats went down and in went bike and
Nick and off for a steaming hot bath.
Rob had to forego HQ due to Nick's sodden
kit dripping then freezing all down his back and legs. I
arrived at HQ not that long before the group arrived. There
to talk about apart from Nick's adventure, I had cycled into
a wall and had two offs, Colin had two offs on the ice,
twice and that was just the bottom end of the
In conclusion, a great route, but maybe we should give water
a wider berth during the winter months, or we may all end
up in the same predicament as Nick, the dreaded withdrawal
of the priceless Pink Chit!!!! We're all looking forward
to seeing you again
in the summer Nick!
PS Rob is only the purchase of a GOWCC jersey away from full
membership of the GOWCC.