On Sunday 26th March 12 riders met outside of the ‘White Lion Public House’ feeling deprived of sleep due to the clocks going forward and a desire not to oversleep and miss the ride.
This was going to be a big one, a 43 miles circular route, with a ‘bit’ of climbing and a hindering easterly wind. The group set out at a reasonable pace heading into the forest before facing the first challenge of the day, ‘Cardiac’. The smiling faces at the top proved how much people love this hill (they might have been grimaces but I was struggling to focus through the tears).
|Having refuelled and rehydrated, very important on longer rides, the group set out to join the South Downs Way and enjoy the views at the top of Windover Hill. ‘Express Elevator’ took us down to ‘Crash Alley’ (don’t you just love the names people devise) before riding west along the Old Coach Road and on towards Firle. The ‘cheeky little underpass’ to the west of the Beddingham roundabout enabled us to join the A26 without having to cross over the dual carriageway. Good find Gus!
Following a further refuel/rehydration stop at Southease Youth Hostel the group started off again, still looking strong, for the remaining half of the route. Ascending Valley Road, the track at the back of Peacehaven, we suffered our first and only, puncture of the day. Gus Lock did his usual ‘Formula 1 puncture repair service’ and the group were reunited very shortly afterwards.
Passing ‘Harvey’s Cross’ we rode up to Brighton Race Course before the long descent down to the Marina, definite smiles here; and then along the undercliff back towards Seaford.
It would be remiss of me not to mention the achievements of the riders. The effort displayed by everyone was really impressive. Claire ‘Betty’ Bennett, Sarah Winser, David Blaber, Bryony Clarke and Helen Blaber all achieved personal off-road distance records and at a very respectable pace. A few of the group could easily have achieved another 20 miles.
Helen Blaber proved a large helping of Smarties for breakfast can make you sufficiently hyper to conquer anything. She screamed up ‘Cardiac’ and completed the whole route on a single speed bike (no mean feat). I anticipate a new addition to the Blaber fleet of bicycles in the near future.
Gus Lock and Andy Marks both managed to ride past pubs without bursting into tears, another fine achievement by them.
The Strava results indicated a plethora of personal bests along various segments by too many members to list here. Suffice to say it was a great day with great people showing amazing determination. Thank you all for a great ride.