Tour of the Hills – plea for marshals, and an enticement

The Tour of the Hills takes place in just over a week’s time, on Sunday 16th August.  It is our première event of the year, and even though the entry fee remains remarkably low, it remains a very important event for us, enabling us to make a profit and pay for so many things through the year for the benefit of all members. 
I am still short of marshals for the event, so I would urge members to volunteer now in order that this event can take place, and be at the high standard that has been set over the years.  You will not be committed to man a control all day, there are specific opening and closing times, dependent on the final number of entries.  If you can help out, please e-mail me asap on; thank you.
It may be that some potential marshals would like to ride the event, so Don has agreed that if you marshal, you can ride the route at any time between now and 1 week after the event, at no charge, and if you provide either myself or Don with your time, you will be shown as a finisher.
John Murdoch

Comments on ‘Subscribe to the Forum’

For those who are interested, there have been some comments on my recent post ‘Subscribe to the Forum’, but someone has suggested that they will not have generated automatic emails which will draw your attention to them and that such an email is desirable.  Hence this post;  I apologise if you consider it to be unnecessary.

Lazy Summer Lanes – Sunday 2nd August

A forecast of a glorious summer’s day, a start at Shalford and a ride which should be rolling rather than hilly – what could be better? Just one issue – how do I get out of West Horsley given that all the roads I need to use to get to the start of the ride are closed for The Prudential-Surrey 100 ride (or whatever it is called)? The riders must have started at a ridiculously early time to be in West Horsley just after 8am. Hope I can cross Ripley Lane at the Guileshill Lane – Hungary Hill Lane junction and then head off to the A3 cycle path. Plan formed I set off and get to the junction – and there is a solid wall of riders, a car at the bottom of Hungary Hill Lane has its engine switched off, the driver looking very board and the marshal said it had been like this for some time and was likely to remain like it for, oh, at least another 15 minutes. I wasn’t looking at the riders to see if I could spot Peter, I was looking for a gap. How big a gap do I need to squeeze across? That big, so I went for it.

Over to the A3 cycle path – how overgrown was that going to be? It wasn’t – some kind council official had decided that it was time to be cut back and made cycle-able again. And At the Ladymead traffic lights I spotted Dane. We arrived the start point to find Jo waiting and others soon arrived. I didn’t check the time to see when Clive rolled in – but it must have been 9:10, when else does he turn up up? Seven of set off for Camelia Botnar.

It was a delightful ride – Clive set a good pace but not excessive and the temperature was perfect for riding. He clearly has his mojo back and was happy on the front. But you know what they say, “When the cat’s away the mouse does play.” So he leads us right past Café in the Park in Horsham – practically through the tables – without stopping and against the protestations of many of us who could just use a coffee and cake. And then just outside Horsham a sign says bacon sarnies to the right – we go left! We will have our revenge, don’t you worry. We went the direct route to Camelia Botnar and to see two recognisable bikes already parked up – Don and Paul.

Coffee was a drawn out affair in the sunshine before we finally retraced our way to Copsale and then headed for Southwater Street and on to Rudgwick. As we passed The Milk Churn at Rudgewick bricks works a halt was called by the pack. I wouldn’t call it a mutiny but a show of hands persuaded Clive that we were having lunch here and not at Nottcutts. We knew that Don would not be there waiting for us and it was around 2pm so we ruled out anyone else turning up unexpectedly. The Milk Churn was a great success and I hope we visit it again sometime. I can recommend the harvest apple cake with ice cream. Over lunch one who is not known for a love hills said that we had not done enough and Warwicks Bench would done on the way home. (Alas I am forbidden to name names and give the direct quote – but this will be remembered and might be used in evidence against you.) Someone else, rather foolhardily in my humble opinion, suggested that I ought to do the tour of the hills as I was good at climbing or some such nonsense, whereupon a discussion ensued of how many metres of climb had to be scaled and how fit Peter must be – we are expecting to hear of a record time for Pru 100. Anyway, as I have finger to keyboard let me just say I like riding, not suffering and I think the hot sun must had got to them. Hope you get better soon.

Clive did his usual disappearing trick and the rest of us made our ways to our homes. A decent 88 miles completed and home at a reasonable hour – only to find the wife had disappeared to watch the pro race on Ranmore Common. Just for you Paul – normalised average power output of 179 watt. Quite a bit below what I would do it I was if I was having a burn.

But what a lovely ride in glorious weather down some of the pleasantest lanes – just a perfect summer’s ride.

Tour of the Hills Catering “gros fromage” – Fancy Having a Go in 2016?!

image1The Tour of the Hills event, held yearly in August at Shere and brilliantly organised by Don Gray, is the major source of funding for the West Surrey CTC.  Such funding is essential as it allows our club to partially subsidise a wide variety of things which are dear to us, from the purchase of club shirts, an occasional CTC membership for a member in need, first aid training for ride leaders, refreshments at AGM or club events, etc.

I have thoroughly enjoyed assisting Don by organising the catering for the 160 plus riders we typically get but alas this position of “Catering Big Cheese” will likely become vacant in 2016.  Not much to it:

  • recruiting the best volunteers for the job (already a fantastic crew of 6 on hand!)
  • purchasing the food a few days prior to the event and delivering it to the hall on the day
  • overseeing the catering operation on the day
  • providing audit paperwork for all expenditures to the club Treasurer on completion

If anyone is willing to learn the ropes on how it is done, now is the time to step forward and watch the action live by dropping in for a few hours at Shere Village Hall on 16 August 2015.  Interested in this truly fun and rewarding job?  Please contact Louise Gagnon at

Wednesday 29 July Group 3 Ride

Me#1 006Mark Waters writes….

Your scribe, together with John Child and new member Alec Mackenzie, rode over from Godalming to meet the group at Mytchett at the very agreeable coffee shop at the Canal Centre. It was by no means the biggest assembly of recent weeks, no doubt partly because the Group 4 riders decided to have coffee at Seale. It was good to see Roger there – obviously on the up and up following his broken femur, Helen, the Tanners, Sue, Chris Jeggo, Rico and Russ, to name but a few.

Phil Gasson was doing the leading today and with minimum fuss or delay, other than bumping into two fully laden Dutch cycle tourists who one simply had to exchange a few words with, we set off on what was advertised as being a long but fairly flat ride into an area not often visited, namely the area south of Reading – sort of Berks / Hants border country. And, after an easy, brief and uneventful ride through Farnborough we were out into the lanes. Thanks to Phil for clearly doing some useful re-connoitering prior to the ride; we even tackled a longish stretch of track at one point although I’m not entirely sure what we avoided by doing this, but it made for a pleasant diversion and added variety.

The lanes were lovely and very scenic and the route even included an uncrossable ford – well, not if you were prepared to go in up to your thighs – but Phil had studied Google Maps and found a bridge some 75 metres up river which we crossed by.

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Phil, Keith, Laurie and Alec


And no, Laurie hadn’t just waded through whatever he might want you to believe!

The Coach and Horses at Rotherwick provided a very satisfactory lunch with people choosing either a baguette or baked potato for about £6 a head which was reasonable. Even better, Laurie had a birthday last Sunday and bought us all a drink – cheers, Laurie!

After lunch it rained: well, it’s England and it’s July so what else can one expect! Clearly John and Neil didn’t expect because they hadn’t brought rain jackets – you won’t do that again, will you, chaps! Anyway, it wasn’t too bad really but enough for a wetting. Nevertheless it had cleared up by the time we got back to Farnham via lots more lovely lanes. Our route actually reversed some of the 1st stage of that well known West Surrey Audax ride, the Stonehenge. Once in Farnham, which is getting horribly busy these days, the group started to disassemble in order to go their separate ways home.

As always it was good to have the company of two ladies, both relatively new to the group: Susie and Alison – hope I’ve got the names right. Alison is a refugee from the Charlotteville where, she says, they don’t look after their riders so well on club rides: well, you’ve come to the right place for serious TLC, Alison. Susie joined after meeting Louise and is training hard for a Seattle to Boston adventure in September / October: wow – a 4,000+ mile wow!

Finally, thanks, Phil, for a really enjoyable, nice ‘n gentle 60 mile bash.

Here’s a picture of the route and a link below to Strava for full details:


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