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Sociable leisure rides for enthusiastic cyclists

Ride Reports

9MondayOCTOBER

Corallian CC AGM

 x19
We promised an hour and delivered - to the minute!

The slides from the evening will be made available, but here is the brief abstract - with the minutes to follow:

1. Current committee re-elected unanimously.

2. No motions were submitted

3. Suggestions / discussion items - all will be followed up at the next committee meeting:
- various social media / marketing / website suggestions

- growth strategy declared as organic and that we're not aspiring to become a big club for the foreseeable future

- ride ideas including a velodrome visit and some off-roading

- the committee raised the question of "are we appropriately diverse in membership" and the AGM told us: a) a direct attempt to increase diversity could be seen as condescending and that would be worse than being too homogeneous! and b) continue to make whoever turns up feel very welcome - that is the best way to foster diversity and inclusion. Thanks for such direct and constructive guidance!

- Christmas meal on a Saturday / Sunday evening a couple of weeks before Christmas

On the dot of 8pm, many attendees went over to the Fox for a very nice meal and some good banter.

Many thanks to all Corallian members for making our first year a success :)
8SundayOCTOBER

Morning Ride - Shilton

77 km  x14  x3
Ride Category
A cracking turnout and a cracking ride. 14 of us set off out to Uffington and through the Coxwells (remind me not to try and keep up with Dave up Fernham Hill - I'm still hurting now) to Coleshill. We kept up the good pace and tight formation right the way through to the stop at Bampton Garden Centre - yummy as ever!

Buckland Hill claimed a victim as Adrian's chain snapped - but assisted by Tom and Barry (thanks both!) Adrian managed to limp back to Wantage on a slightly flatter route with a bodged repair (the 9-speed powerlinks arrived just after the said repair had been completed).

All in all, a fantastic morning on the road - just warm enough, no wind to speak of, and a bunch of good riders doing some good riding.

1SundayOCTOBER

Corallian Crusade

105 km  x7  x3
Ride Category
The anniversary ride saw leaden skies and the threat of rain, thankfully we only had two brief bursts of rain.

Many of the smaller lanes were wet and mucky though and those who chose mudguards made a wise choice.

The route should make an interesting audax, it would be a pretty easy introduction to 100km rides.

I was conscious of the forecast predicting strong winds later on and I was keen to get to the lunch stop at The Talbot in Eynsham at 12pm to get orders in before the rush. It's very busy on a Sunday. This meant the pace was pretty high before lunch but we had a nice tailwind for much of it.

Lunch was served promptly and the food was excellent. I had a chat with the manager about the origin of the name!!

After lunch we had a brief flat before Tumbledown Hill into Cumnor. The wind made itself felt from here back to Uffington and the earlier high pace started to take its toll on some of the riders (including me!).

A very excellent way to celebrate our first anniversary :)

24SundaySEPTEMBER

New Forest Tour

81 km  x5  x6
Ride Category
The group was packed with strong riders today, and the weather looked impeccable. The previous days' "rain at 3pm" forecast had slipped out to "rain at 7pm". A few discussions about the best clothing combinations were had, and then we were off.

The first leg to Beaulieu was dispatched with ease and fine conversation. The New Forest at this time of year is ideal - lots of cyclists, few cars, and plenty of wildlife roaming the roads. Our coffee stop proved to be warm enough to enjoy outside, which was a bonus.

Between coffee and lunch, the riding is varied to say the least - a couple of decent hills, some moorland, ornamental drives through the forest and a nice downhill with which to end (early) for lunch. Lunch was an unhurried affair, but most convivial and tasty.

Eventually we tore ourselves away from our nook in the pub and tackled the afternoon - a short sharp hill immediately after the zero-speed ford, the long drag up Roger Penny Way, and then the final dash through the woods looking for pigs, which proved elusive on this trip. Jez tried very hard to take a young donkey home with him though.

As we reached the finish, Nick commented that he could do with an extra 20km. This signalled the immediate onset of rain (spot on 3pm!) and Nick was therefore put in his placed by a higher power, and we settled on another coffee instead.

A fantastic day of very mellow riding with a solid bunch of Corallians - loved it!

21ThursdaySEPTEMBER

First Aid Training

 x13
An excellent evening delivered by Matt the paramedic!

It was superb that 30% of the club were able to make it for a perfect blend of common sense, theory and practical that was absolutely spot-on to give us confidence to be able to deal with the sorts of scenarios that could happen while on a club ride.

Some useful resources that were mentioned:
AED locations locally - Save A Life app for Apple and Android.
First Aid app - First aid for cyclists app for Apple and Android.
17SundaySEPTEMBER

Welcome Ride

49 km  x11
Ride Category
A good ride with a great bunch this month.

A warm welcome to Guy on his first ride with Corallian
15FridaySEPTEMBER

Pyrenees - Cauterets

45 km  x7  x14
Ride Category
A full complement of Corallians today, for our last day, although we all did variations of the ride.

The climb up to Cauterets is relatively benign, save for the hairpin stretch that routes around a massive land slip. Nick S, John and Andy shot off up the Cambasque, while the stragglers had a coffee. Nick D decided to lounge in the sun, so the remainder plodded up the Cambasque, meeting the original ascenders coming down.

We all had lunch al fresco in Cauterets, whereupon Barry, John, Andy and Nick S went up the Pont d'Espagne climb - pretty tough by all accounts. The descent back down to Soulor from Cauterets is awesome - a deep river gorge, with a perfectly-surfaced serpentine road, that was also perfectly dry. Big grins all around.

Nick S took the opportunity to add a trip up to Gavarnie, as clearly two tough climbs is not enough.

The forecast rain did make an appearance for the second group down, but nothing too bad.

A fantastic last day to our holiday - everyone can be proud of their efforts and achievements this week!
14ThursdaySEPTEMBER

Pyrenees - col de Lingous

83 km  x5  x8
Ride Category
The day after the Tourmalet was always going to be a bit of an anti-climax and the threat (certainty!) of wet weather tempered our enthusiasm. Five set out along the railway path on the least hilly of Chris's planned routes just as the rain started. At 9 km in the face of an increasing downpour and strong gusts the retreat was called into a cafe for a ponder over coffee. 25 minutes later we had resolved to continue (at least for a bit) in lighter rain.

Once thoroughly drenched the rain relented and we reached the day's high point and started the descent in low cloud, grateful for gps assistance. On reaching level ground Nick D, demonstrating the value of stick-on spectacle lenses, rode off the side of the road into a ditch. Happily he emerged without injury (except to his pride) or bike damage, and we soon reached the quirky Restaurant La Fayette in Bagneres, an establishment which also clearly functions as a downmarket 70s disco, replete with themed sub-divided zones and a slippery, uneven floor which proved problematic for a few sodden and be-cleated cyclists. A perplexed waitress failed to understand our quirky Britishness (i.e. how John could possibly drink cafe au lait with, rather than after, lunch) but nevertheless provided a pretty decent 10 Euro set menu.

Emerging After lunch into the dry but chilly afternoon we needed to warm up so set off with gusto. The route back followed more minor lanes, often with water-filled leats flowing alongside, and through picturesque villages. On entering the village of his name Barry made the most of the photo opportunity (see below?). Soon we were picking our way through Lourdes and back onto the railway path where John, Nick D and Andy decided to time trial back to Argeles.
All agreed, except Chris and Phil who made friends with marmottes and vultures at the zoo, that it had been a good day out, well worth celebrating with a few beers (after cleaning bikes!:( ).
13WednesdaySEPTEMBER

Pyrenees - col de Tourmalet

103 km  x6  x26
Ride Category
Nick D fell at the first hurdle today and opted for a recovery day after yesterday's exertions. With a staggered start to stop the whippets having too much rest at the top, Phil and I started proceedings at 8:30, up the valley into the cold air. Soon we had passed Luz St Saveur and the climb began in earnest, only to be curtailed very quickly by roadworks.

30+ cyclists and 10 heritage open-topped sports cars were delayed by a good 10 minutes, and then we were off again. Every corner has a new view, so the pain of climbing was dulled by a welcome anaesthetic of panoramas. Bareges gave us a good excuse for a swift coffee, and Nick S pulled over for his fix as we were leaving, having set up 40 minutes later than us.

Climbing big hills is all about finding your own rhythm, so Phil slowly eased ahead leaving me to my thoughts and the wonderful views. There are two ramps of note - just leaving Bareges, and the last 1500m before the summit. Very tough.

The group assembled at the summit and we had coffee, snacks and photos before donning windproofs for the descent down to La Mongie and St Marie de Campan, where we coalesced for the time trial to Bagneres de Bigorre for lunch.

Crepes and waffles all around, and then we cracked on with the finish, up a hill at Montgaillard, and then down a fantastic serpentine descent towards Lourdes, which we managed to skirt around today, returning again on the Voie Vert. Another big day!
12TuesdaySEPTEMBER

Pyrenees - col d'Aubisque

100 km  x7  x26
Ride Category
It drizzled somewhat at the start, as we plodded up the col de Soulour. A very short 20% ramp added to the pain, and it was with some relief that most of us did a brief coffee stop before continuing up the col d'Aubisque, which starts with 2km of downhill before a couple of tunnels.

It's hard to describe how epic the panoramic views are from here, so the pictures will have to paint a thousand words. Lunch was most welcome at the summit before turning back to the Soulour, for a wonderful descent down to Ferrieres, where we said goodby to our two lightweights, Barry and Nick S, to take a short cut back home over the col de Spandelles.

Meanwhile, the heavyweights continued down through a beautiful gorge with empty roads, around the edge of the Pyrenees and over a bonus climb that brought out the expletives. Interesting to note that most of the villages we passed through had names beginning with the letter "a".

Before Lourdes, we stopped at a campsite for ice-cream, being served by an over-entrepreneurial Daley Thompson lookalike, who tried to convince us to stay next time at his campsite in ill-equipped cabins with no WiFi, no food, outside showers and toilets, for the same price as our lovely half-board hotel... no thanks!

Lourdes was heaving as normal, and bikes really aren't all that welcome, so we didn't hang around too much waiting for a miracle, and got into the Voie Vert, which is a fantastic tarmac-surfaced ex railway line, all the way back to Argeles. A big day!