Thursday evening saw 16 bikes loaded on to the club trailer and overnight bags loaded into Sherpa Diana Normans car ready for the off on Friday morning
Roger Lambert was our nominated driver of the Lions Club Mini Bus which took 12 cyclists together with the trailer. We also managed to rope in a friend Damien Watts to drive another 4 cyclists to our start point in Winchester.
Arriving in Winchester at 8.30am we finally found a suitable place to unload and get ready for the start of a great adventure. Waving goodbye to Roger and Damien we cycled up to the start point of the South Downs Way.
Our target on day 1 was Winchester to Harting Down through the rolling Hampshire Countryside. Approximately 30 miles and 3000 feet of climbing.
The start of the ride saw us battling stinging nettles and brambles for a short distance however after this we enjoyed beautiful views and undulating terrain. Buster Hill was probably our biggest climb of the day however it was certainly rewarded with the most amazing decent enjoyed by all.
Our first nights accommodation was at The White Hart in South Harting. A beautiful pub where we were made to feel so welcome. The staff were so friendly, food was delicious and the rooms were stunning we really did have a great evening here.
Saturday morning saw us start the day with a 1 mile nasty climb taking us back up to the South Downs Way. Super tough after a lovely cooked breakfast.
A few of us were tired today and struggled to get going but our lovely group rallied round and gave support. Before long we were up on top and rolling over the undulating terrain of the SDW.
The weather was perfect and the views amazing. Constant changing terrain kept us all on our toes but we managed to enjoy some wonderful breaks to enjoy our surroundings and take time out to eat. Eating and drinking became a very important part of our daily routine. Especially the ice cream breaks
Day 2 saw a couple of riders crash and a few technical issues. As a group we rallied around and the support meant everyone getting back on bikes and continuing on the ride despite the bruises and blood
Following the grind up Truleigh Hill we all arrived at the YHA with huge smiles and definitely ready for dinner, showers and a nights rest
Sunday morning brought a tasty cooked breakfast, sore muscles and some very tired riders but today we were on our own playground. We knew what was ahead – the 4 big climbs but also with them the descents and of course the finish line.
Sadly we had to say goodbye to Hilary who had been an inspiration to us all over the past 2 days but after a nasty fall and badly bruised ribs had no option to pull out. Lots of tears were shed by all and we have all promised to ride the last day again once Hilary is fully recovered.
Today was probably our best riding day. Every rider dug deep and rode like demons. We covered the miles so quickly that we all surprised ourselves. As a treat we stopped in Alfriston for a well deserved ice cream before tackling the last few climbs
Joined today by Alien and Gus who helped with gates and encouragement also helped the ride go smoother.
At the top of Eastbourne we hit the Elliedrome and we believe broke the record for the most number of riders at one time.
Emotions were high as we stopped to take in the views of Eastbourne and of course the final descent to the finish line where Sherpa Diana, Christina and Ellie were waiting to film and cheer us on and pop the bubbly
The descent was amazing and such an achievement by all. This ride has been so much more wonderful thanks to the group working so well together and supporting each other throughout the journey.
We are all so lucky to be part of such an amazing club and to have such a wonderful family supporting us all.