On Sunday 30th October 2016 on a fresh misty Kentish morning ten members of the WKRC took on the KCA reliability trial staring at Claygate. A low fog lay like a white blanket on the countryside as a heavy dew lay all around.
Our start time was 08:55 from the now desolate and boarded up White Hart PH another pub to be converted to a detached house such a shame as Lol had promised to buy the pints after the event!
We all set off at steady pace as the roads were wet and the visibility was in some places poor. But as time progressed the mist lifted and the weather got better and later on the sun even came out. We managed to stay on the route although we had one minor deviation and at a good pace with all riders taking a turn at the front we progressed.
This course has only two hills of note and the rest of the course was undulating but not too difficult. The WKRC team arrived at the first checkpoint on schedule and as we neared the finish the pace quickened but we all stayed together and arrived within the 4 hour objective having covered 63 miles. Our average speed was 16.5.mph and with no punctures, no mishaps or horses we all agreed that it had been a good day out.
We all received a medal from the KCA and we returned to the car park to get changed and depart home just after 1pm. This was a great event to begin the winter schedule and perhaps you will come along next year it was only £3.50 to enter.
A few weeks ago an email had been circulated to our club by the secretary about the 41st Wigmore CC Hill climb, and so it came to pass that on Sunday 2nd October at 8am the usual meeting point I found myself waiting for Matthew Reuter the only other idiot taking on this challenge.
I was cold having (wrongly ) decided for the last time this year to wear bib shorts and top & mitts but we set off on the 31 miles trip to the venue at Hollingbourne just past Maidstone.
We made good time due to a tailwind and stopped off for a Costa coffee in Maidstone high street before arriving at the venue too early! Yes riders we had ridden 31 miles our legs were ready but we started to cool down & the acid was building in my legs. Matthew went off 45 minutes after we arrived fully fueled up by the consumption of a fruit salad on route.
I took off nearly 70 minutes after arriving and my legs were done before I started.It was a well organised and popular event with most of the 90 entrants turning up on what turned out to be a fine dry day. As I pushed up the hill I was pleasantly surprised by the crowds of riders on each side cheering on the riders this gave me a boost and made me try even harder.
I met Matthew at the top and after a free tea & some cake we waited for the results the first rider made it in 3.04 failing to take the £200 prize for 3 minutes or less.We then rode for home at a steady pace when Mathew had an idea to take a short cut to get off the A20 and avoid Wrotham hill – bad idea! As a few minutes later after 52 miles of riding & one hill climb we rode up Vigo hill. THANKS!
One last push for home coping with a slow puncture on the way but back safe and sound but very tired.
Why don’t you give it a try next year? It’s only 1350 yards of pain!!!
What were our times you ask ? Who will get the WKRC hill climb trophy at this year’s Xmas ball? Trevor aka Quintana 5 mins 11 sec and was the fastest vet in the 60-69 age group receiving £20 prize and Matthew aka Froome 4.32 who got £10 for being number 50 out of the 73 finishers!
The forecast had stated that Friday would be the better for the weather but it was still overcast and drizzling when we went in for breakfast at 0830. The food was good with plenty to go around and we decided to leave at approximately 10.15 having settled our bills and packed our gear for the journey home. Unfortunately we were now reduced to the hateful eight as CM still could not shake off his bad headache and was concerned he would hold up the group. We set off in the poor weather for a circular route of 60 miles to the town of Poperinge .
Again we all took turns at the front with an average pace of 18mph for the trip, with the benefit of MM and the Garmin we kept on course and soon we were stopping for another quality lunch in Poperinge the majority of us had the lunch special -soup, bread & Goulash, frites or rice for 12 Euros! And very nice it was too.
Then onward for the final push for home by which time the weather had improved with less wind and a mainly dry afternoon, again on traffic free cycle paths alongside picturesque canals and villages. Arriving back at 1600 we then had a quick shower before changing and loading up for the final drive to Calais, which was uneventful and we managed to get on a train 20 minutes earlier than scheduled arriving back in Blighty at approximately 2100.
We were all tired especially the drivers amongst us but we all had some good laughs, hard rides and good company. Why not come along in 2017 and try it for yourself?
Return journey –
Lastly a big thank you to Alex for arranging the hotel & trip (I reckon he gets Ed.)
On Thursday 2nd June a cold and wet morning faced the nine members of the WKRC who had signed up and then showed up for the two day tour of Veurne Belgium.
They were Alex Cooper (AC),Austin Henderson(AH)Andy Floyd(AF)Carl Matheson(CM)Steve Rivett(SR) Mark Morrison(MM)Paul Townley(PT) Little Gary (LG)and finally me! Trevor Benton(TB). I later found out that CM had turned up despite head butting a door at work and not really feeling 100%.
We all met without incident at the Folkestone terminal everyone had remembered their passports, bikes & money the train was on time and so far apart from the weather forecast all was good.
We arrived at Calais and into the rain and in a semi convoy drove the short distance to the Belgium border to our Hotel all of us were hoping the rain would ease off and the sum would come out. We all arrived safely and unpacked and due to the weather we made a relaxed change and assembled the bikes and once again everyone seemed to have brought all the gear they needed.
Off we set on the Veurne- Ostende-Veurne route after a few minutes of pedalling we were on the quiet back cycle paths running alongside farmland and the picturesque canals of Belgium. All the group took turns at the front even LG! (This cannot be confirmed without picture evidence – Ed.) and despite the wind and light rain we were in an upbeat mood, AC organised some group riding practice as the pathways were clear enough and we had the time, but AF took a tumble when he touched the rear wheel of SR and fell down but fortunately escaped serious injury and he was up riding again. We reached the seafront at Ostende without further incident to be faced with a fierce wind from the sea carrying the beach with it!. As we reached the tiled area which makes up the 10 mile beach AF failed to notice a gully and he was off again this time getting some repeat action on his hip. In fairness to him the area was quiet slippery due to the ongoing rain. We then found a nice seafront cafe and after several portions of Spag Bol and frites we all felt ready to tackle the final miles back to the hotel. But first we had to brave the sandstorms, rain and sand dunes along the front which made for some interesting moments. Imagine one side of your face being peppered by thousands of grains of sand and then having to negotiate sand drifts up to six feet deep( ok six inches.)
We arrived back at the hotel about 1600 and we all had time to give the bikes a quick wash down and ourselves a shower and out at 1800 to the town square to taste the many varieties of Belgium beer. We later went to our normal restaurant and had a splendid meal of steak & frites and the customary apple pie & custard/cream.
Some brave souls then went for a walk around the town and another drink but others including me went back to the hotel for a well earned sleep.
Day One –TB verdict
Journey & Train service –
Two rides headed out today – the main run heading out to try a new cafe down in Aylesford.
Whilst the boyz went and played, Alex, Gary and SteveC took nervous newbie Llowes round the lanes to Cyclopark for a well earned coffee.
Llowes is a personal trainer who will get to the point she’ll smash the guys into the ground. Keen to try out racing and do some big mile events over the next year and beyond, so please if you see her around help out and make sure she doesn’t get left behind. Hills seem to be Llowes biggest challenge, so please make sure someone rides with her, or you wait at the top.
Having said that a steady 20mph proved no difficulty over a 4mile flatter road, so watch out, she has a great smooth riding style to put some of the big gear mashers to shame!
Llowes – well done, I know you enjoyed it today and plan on coming out for more bad jokes, ugly faces, and sweaty short action with us – you are more than welcome to join us and we look forward to seeing you again.
Anyone fancy a Sportive sign up here….
Choice of distances: 15, 40, 70 or 100 miles
Alex, Mark, Lol, Gary and ex-West Kenter Austin have entered the 70 mile ride.
The last event “The Hertfordshire 100” was superb. Well organised, well mapped well marshaled and a ton of food at the stops to get you round.It’s only about 40 mins or so away in the car, and the roads are pretty quiet for the ride.
So why not do something different for a change? Alternatively you could do a club run and go to the same old cafe using the same old route!!!
About 25 people attended the BBQ on Saturday and the weather was very kind to us. Most guests were complimentary about the venue particularly the option to park off road.
Steve Clack managed to get the laptop working & members were able to see the penultimate stage of the TDF at the same time as enjoying quality burgers & sausages.
Later a raffle was held which meant that the club made a small profit although this was not the primary reason for the event.
The committee will decide if the event will be repeated next year but we would expect that more members would attend with their friends & families.
Thank you to those who helped out on the day & those who provided raffle prizes.
I will be making an announcement in the near future about the Xmas do.
Its not too late to enter this sportive being held around the lanes of Essex – 5 West Kenters recently went and recc’d the route and reckon it;s a belter.
There’s also a shorter route, and for those mad or brave enough a longer one.
To register for the event and for more details go here:-
Create an account if you don’t already have one, and sign up.
So far four of us have registered for the 72miler, so PLEASE sign up so that Little Gary doesn’t just sit on my wheel the whole way round and then ride off up the hills!
He’s got loads of previous for doing this, and I can’t stomach any more “I can’t get the power down like you guys” excuses!!!
Let me know if you sign up, so we can head over and show our colours.
Entered so far (that I know of)
Social Media is great, I know some people still like to throw a pigeon out of a window to deliver messages, but honestly the world has moved on!
Having been Twitting, Tweetering, Tottering and as some have pointed out Twatting around with the website, Facebook and Twitter pages for a good while now, I noticed a Tweet for The Ride Of The Lions requiring mechanics to assist them on the Waterloo 200 charity ride.
I let our resident CyTech qualified mechanic Steve C know, and within a blink of an eye he’d bagged himself a place in one of the support vehicles. Well done that man for seizing the opportunity to be part of something great, with some BIG names from the sport of Rugby who aren’t ashamed to don lycra.
Well a week passed and the organiser was still on the lookout for helpers. So I threw my hat in the ring, and whad’ya know, I am also assisting in a support vehicle.
We’ll be proudly helping out assisting with minor mechanical mishaps on route, but, I’d like to point out that I refuse point blank to rub down Martin Johnson’s legs.
I don’t care how big he is!
Full information on the ride can be found here:
A fairly local sportive starting in Hildenborough
Get more info and register here…….
Let others know if you are doing it so we can get a group together.
Lets support the Old Ports, the same as they did for our Reliability Trial.
More info/routes here…
Another great sportive for a brilliant cause and only/still £15
Lets get a club entry together. This is a local sportive put on by the Cyclopark
2015 Tour of the Hop Fields.
Sunday 10th May.
Three routes: 70 miles; 50 miles; 33 miles.
Enter via British Cycling website. Www.britishcycling.org.uk/events/details/124198/cyclopark’s-Tour-of-the-Hopfield’s#entry
Registration is from 07:45.
On site café
pre-ride mechanical assistance
Post ride massage available
Individual rider timing
route cards and GPS files.
For further info contact Cyclopark on: 01474 831 400
We are planning for our Christmas do 2015 and are looking at a event on Friday or Saturday evening with food & music & dancing –so if anyone has been to a decent venue in the last few months please pass on the details.
please e mail the new social secretary Trevor at email@example.com
A reminder that the London Bike show will be held at the Excel Centre from the 12th-15th February 2015 . The committee extend a welcome to all members to come along on Sunday 15th February 2015 for a club visit to this event.
The show starts at 9am and ends at 1700 and the venue is accessible by all forms of transport particularly the DLR service. Many of you have already expressed an interest in attending.
In order that we can purchase the tickets in bulk and get the best discount available we are asking that you pay for the tickets at the next club meeting on 3rd February. The price for an adult will not be £17 as advertised but will get cheaper as more members attend. The event is open to friends & partners and anyone interested in bikes, more bikes & gear.
Please come along and support the WKRC any questions please e mail the new social secretary Trevor at firstname.lastname@example.org
Many/Most of you should have by now seen an E-Mail from our President about Club Kit. Your Committee has gone out and bench-marked alternative suppliers, to ensure that we are getting the best deal for all members.
There will be a short presentation by the Committee, as well as sample kit from those suppliers that were able to meet the criteria.
Please attempt to make this evening, as we would like YOU to vote on the best way forward as we ride into the New Year.
Sunday 9th November 2014 at 0645 saw two members of the WKRC assemble in Bexley to load up & prepare for the journey to Redbridge cycling centre, the start of the Essex Season Ender Sportive. Little Gary the birthday boy(45 or was it 54) was the driver & I the navigator/wingman the weather was wet, misty and fresh as we drove onto the M25 the spray was flying everywhere.
I thought if it stays like this I will do the short route but as we approached the centre 30 minutes after leaving, the rain stopped and the grey clouds began to lift.
Gary & I wanted to set off early so at 0810 we set off fully loaded for the 72 mile route we had been warned that due to the very heavy overnight rain the lanes were full of debris, gravel and we should all take care. Between us we had seven spare tubes as we expected the worse, we had agreed to go at a good steady pace, take no risks and enjoy the day.
Off we set and they were not kidding the lanes did have some large lakes & puddles and plenty of debris, as we rolled on we saw the “unfortunates” stopped at the roadside and I just thought please let me get half way before the first puncture. Gary pushed on dragging me along at a steady rate and soon we stopped at the first feed station at 37 miles hot tea or coffee H5 & water to drink and Jaffa cakes, fig rolls, cheese & biscuits, cakes, flapjacks, Fruit cake, bananas & H5 gels. What a treat but not wishing to get cold off we soon set off as the sun began to rise and we were getting warmer. What a splendid route lovely traffic free country lanes. lovely houses & views and more importantly no big hills.
Over half way NO punctures! we were more confident and we pressed on but ever conscious that 11am was approaching now I have been at the cenotaph, but I have also been at local events as well this time it was in a country lay by facing wide open fields & silence. We did our bit for remembrance day and were happy to represent WKRC and it just goes to prove that its not about the location but more about taking the time to remember that counts.
By now the sun was shining through and very warm and I thought I should have worn my bib shorts!
Off again to the next feed station at 57 miles still NO punctures. After testing the same goodies as the first station away we went but as we had only 15 miles to go the mood changed, just like the bloodhounds picking up the scent in a Louisiana bayou after a jailbreak the pace quickened all round. The riders wanted home and some groups formed for the last leg finally we entered the track and then the finish line. Both bikes covered in mud, road kill,etc and Gary & I the same but NO punctures Result!.
Total Mileage.74.4 miles
Total Ride time.4.hrs 44 minutes,
We both had a very good a day made better by a traffic free drive home over the bridge and back to gods country. I hope Gary had a good birthday and I would recommend this route & sportive to every member of the WKRC.
Apologies it's late but..... This years Xmas dinner will again be at Crown Point Inn, Seal. Times 1230 for 1300 sit down Price £15.95 ph Our organiser Steve R will have some invites with him this Sunday, and has also posted out a good number too. Anyone who has not yet received an invitation, please contact Steve by email @ email@example.com
Let me be clear from the start. This title in no way reflects the KCA. The event is well run with dedicated volunteers each time and is run over a great course.
This story could have easily been called “Attack Of The Hairy Beasts” or “The Gimp Man Cometh”
Before we even got to the start 5 of our number had already dropped out due to family commitments, work commitments, illness, upcoming (short notice) operations, or in Mark Morrison’s case, the wind was blowing (possibly).
Parking was it’s usual great state – There was none, which left Lol trying to find anywhere in the vicinity, meaning we would be off to a late start.
Eventually we got rolling, and a decent pace was set. Within 3 miles or so, we found Ex-West Kenter Steve “Chewie” Trudgill at the side of the road, having been left to mend a puncture. For those new to the club, Steve’s nickname was born from the amount of hair on his legs resembling The Mighty Wookie – Chewbacca (Hairy Beast No.1). He jumped into our group and we continued over the next 20 miles or so at an average around 18.5mph.
That was until Steve picked up his 2nd puncture of the day – and using the last of his spare tubes – can you see where this is going yet?
Once fixed, we continued through the 2nd checkpoint and up Challock Hill before re-grouping and continuing on, for a bit anyway!
Guess what happened next. Yes, Steve had another puncture, so we stopped to fix that, with a tube kindly donated by Steve R. We were soon(ish) rolling again, before – hang on what was it? Oh yes, Steve had a puncture – AGAIN! A tube donated by Alex this time round.
Now as you will see from the Title choices, this is where “The Gimp Man Cometh” was dreamt up. Steve had now collected so much rubber from spent inner tubes in his jersey pockets, that it was clear he’d be turning them into a full gimp suit, complete with mask and rubber underpants when he got home.
Thankfully that was the last of the punctures…………for a while at least!
The next event is where the other title choice was thought of.
We were riding at a good steady pace, two abreast along a WIDE country road. A single horse and rider was approaching from the opposite direction. There was no sneaking up behind, no flying past without calling out from a fair distance, but the horse decided to get spooked and start doing Michael Jackson’s Moonwalk across the road, causing the group to brake and swerve violently, putting yours truly into the grass verge/hedge. Mack, when you get a chance could you please root around for my front wheel, I think it’s up your a**e.
I lay there for a while in pain. The horse rider had the barefaced cheek to shout at us saying we should “give her more room”
Give her more room! I’ll give you more room lady – TRY A FIELD OR A PADDOCK. If your animal is so unreliable on the public highway as to cause an accident then it shouldn’t be there. I have two words for you “Glue” and “Factory”
Thanks to you whoever you are, as you didn’t bother to stop to see if I was okay, I have heavy bruising on my right thigh, heavy bruising on my left knee, a torn race cape (£80 if you read this, feel guilty and would like to help out) and worst of all torn shoulder ligaments, meaning I can’t move, I can’t sleep and I have the worst headaches I’ve ever experienced. In fact I have three more words “Copydex”, “Pritt” and “Stick”. Unfortunately the law does not cover any accident with a hayburner, unless it results in hospital attendance direct from the scene of the accident. “UHU”.
We were 20 miles from home and I could now barely turn a pedal, the muscle damage causing me cramp, the shoulder damage meaning the headaches were really taking it out of me.
I’d like to thank Lol, and Steve R for stopping and waiting and riding with me back to the finish, well outside our time limit – due to the amount of punctures and a crash. I wouldn’t mind but we waited for someone not even in our club – words need to be had here ;-).
We rolled back to our vehicles, and just for good measure Chewie had another puncture!
Okay so the winter is approaching – the clocks go back at the end of the month, and maybe challenging yourself over long distances with plenty of climbing isn’t the most appealing thought
There are plenty of sportives all year to keep the legs going round.
Why not have a look at the following links and pick out an event or two? The lists aren’t comprehensive as events are being added all the time, but there’s still plenty to choose from….even ones in other countries!
(Also shows Worldwide sportives)
(This is in French unless you are running Google Chrome page translator)
When you’ve chosen what you are aiming for let everyone else know – you might just get some company to ride round with 🙂
Gianluca from our kit supplier “ProSport Distribution” will be at the November Club Night.
He’ll have examples of the new wonder materials with him, together with a pile of jerseys and shorts to try on for your next kit order (JUST IN TIME FOR YOUR XMAS PREZZIES LIST!)
The new material makes for some impressive kit, but the sizes differ from the previous material, so you’ll need to try before you buy.
Don’t forget Brent will be along again offering his sports massage service, so please make sure you book in advance through the website or by e-mail
Full details, and how to enter can be found here:
Early Sign ups before the 26th of October receive a Free High5 Trial Pack Plus a FREE 750ml Bottle!
Cost is £20 (inc Brit Cycling admin fee)Feel free to enter whichever distance you think you can manage, although we will ride as a group, waiting at the top of hills, and stopping for punctures/mechanicals. (As a guide average speed will be approx 15-17mph – it’s a fairly flat route)
A minimum of the club jersey to be worn please (even if it’s under a winter jacket)
Hopefully by now, most have seen that the West Kent RC have a regular Saturday training ride, so if you are thinking of trying it out, or have a weekend pass to go and tire yourself out so that you don’t “pester” your partner when the light goes down, I’m told by those that have ridden it, that the route is definitely challenging (Both A and B routes), and with over 2000ft of climbing in 25 or so miles, that was the idea.
For those that haven’t yet given it a go, I can thoroughly recommend the leg sapping agony of the ride. Now obviously you can take this at any speed you like, but for some reason today, the gauntlet got well and truly lobbed down the road fairly quickly, and the uphill is almost immediate.
The roads used are quiet, and fairly traffic free, which helps but the rolling roads can have your legs calling up reserves of red blood cells pretty quick.
Then the pain kicks in with the energy sapping climb of Cudham Lane – it’s about 4 miles long with varying gradients. A real lung and leg buster when taken at speed.
After the drop down to Knockholt and then Star Hill, the route heads through Shoreham Village – another fast run through taken at roughly 30mph.
Thankfully one of the riders thought it best to have a social moment – his legs were screaming and had nearly cramped (serves you right for having a 3 week lay off) – and so we stopped at Lullingstone Park Visitors Center for a bacon roll and coffee, before charging back through to Dartford.
Lol T swung of to go and sort out his aniseed balls – I mean I know it was quick, but I’d rather he shared that with his Dr, and not other club mates
A great ride, a great route and with some great company.
Thanks to all those that joined us today.
It must also be mentioned that someone was sporting a fancy new set of wheels today. We can only assume that he paid for them from his earnings selling narcotics as we could see a ton of crack through his shorts. Please see the kit man for some new shorts.
Wow! With quality alliteration like that I should write for one of the daily rags…..or maybe not.
This mornings Club Run was always going to be a bit of a gamble, The weather reports told of “The End Of Days” but then the press do tend to hyper mega massively hugely extremely over-exaggerate the slightest of rain showers, something I’d never lower myself to, preferring to shoot from the hip and tell it as it is.
So hands up those mad enough to brave the storm…
Er well me (very mad), Lol T, Little Gary, Steve C, Austin, Darren (not quite a newbie), and a previous newbie Kevin met at the start point during a particularly heavy downpour. Alan B came out to cheer us on, but Alan, be honest you just came to laugh and offer some medication.
Kevin -welcome to the West Kent RC…again. I hope you have the time and mental prowess to cope with us loonies on other club runs!!!
We decided to abandon all hope of making it out to either Westerham via the lanes, or Penshurst Place…they wouldn’t welcome our soggy, or is that saggy bums?
So a round trip to the cyclopark it was. Yes it was wet, yes it was a bit windy, but anyone that wasn’t out missed a damn good ride – you wimps 😉
Little “turn” Gary said he’d stay at the back to play “Tail End Charlie”, so to all you regulars that have noticed Gary avoiding his turn at the front – here’s another excuse to watch out for.
Steve C was struggling a bit with his breathing, and at one point near to Longfield Hill, whilst Steve was out of sight, Lol suggested that Steve might have got stuck at the width restrictions halfway up the hill….HOW RUDE. Thinking back maybe I mis-interpreted the comment for the sake of authors brain.
Little Gary managed once again to puncture on the run in to the cyclopark cafe – for those that think that’s nothing. EVERY time we go there (6times for Gary) he has punctured in sight of the entrance.
Coffee and sandwich consumed, a passing Tsunami and thunderstorm meant that we stayed a bit longer than expected.
Once the weather had calmed enough to paddle our way along the side of the A2, we took a chance and headed home, wet, but stronger for the experience.
Austin commented it was so wet, that he found frogs in his saddle bag. At least no one noticed the tadpole in his shorts 🙂
To all those missing from this epic ride, may it rain on you plenty too. You might just have a giggle when it does.
Sunday 3rd August
This mornings club run attracted a handful of new riders, so a massive West Kent RC welcome goes to
Sonya, Darren, Richard and Maurice
It was decided early on to split the run into two with separate destinations, allowing us to see what the abilities of the “newbies” was – apologies to those of you who are “newbies” and dislike the term!
Alex took the new group and was assisted by Austin “Tail end Charlie” Henderson, Steve “Tail end Charlie 2” R, Steve H, Carl and for a part of the way Dave.
The route led us out through Hawley to School Lane and up to the back of Brands Hatch – some I’m sure won’t like me already for that!
From there we descended down to the Fawkham Road and through to Longfield and then headed out through Betsham and along the path to Cyclopark for the almost famous sausage and egg sandwich.
The pace was suitably controlled with a couple of quick bits to keep everyone on their toes, so well done to those that kept up at over 30mph along Fawkham Road 🙂
Suitably refreshed we headed back along the cycle route at the side of the A2 in to Dartford, where we split up to head home.
For those regulars that helped out today, my thanks. I can’t do it all on my own and every bit of assistance is really appreciated.
To the new crew – WELL DONE – for putting up with me.
Our run today was 28miles with 1300ft of climbing.
You all managed exceptionally well, and I hope that you enjoyed it enough to come back for more punishment on another club run.
(Suggested destination for next weeks “Newbie Run” (sorry) is Westerham via the Pilgrims Way)
KCA Reliability Trial 27 October 2013
The drop outs started on Saturday – The early group should have consisted of five riders, and excuses came in thick and fast, from an “injured knee playing golf” to “something’s telling me I shouldn’t do it”. Okay it may well have also been that due to the forecast weather conditions, people were erring on the side of caution, and no one can blame them for that.
So that took care of the 8o’clockers…there were none.
Sunday morning came and another drop out from the 9am group, apparently Mark Morrison wasn’t allowed out to play. Mark clearly wears the trousers in his house because his missus says so!
Who else was going to drop out? We would have to wait and see when we got to the start, and it wasn’t long before we realised two more would get the DNS next to their name.
So the 9 o’clock starters were – Alex, Lol, Mick Hardy, Colin S, Mike and Luke. One more joined our group and that was Bob from PMR – someone else to share the work in the windy conditions.
We duly set off and it was clear from the laying water that Kent hadn’t escaped any of the early morning rain. The wind was gusting strongly and the 100km route was going to be a challenge. We’d set ourselves a target time of four and a half hours, and from experience this should be fairly achievable. (A good tip for anyone doing this sort of thing and carrying a reasonable level of fitness would be aim for the middle time – there was a choice of 4, 4.5 and 5hrs today – so if all went well, we’d get round within the limit, but had given ourselves some “puncture” time if needed).
We flew out to Linton Hill, the first of the climbs, and stayed together before setting off towards where we thought the first checkpoint was – it wasn’t there, but to be honest I always felt that it was a bit of a wasted checkpoint as it was so close to the start.
The roads become fairly flat after this, with the exception of one very fast downhill. I managed just shy of the speed limit and was baulked by slower moving traffic!
Swirling wind conditions made the going pretty tough and the lightweights in the group were going to struggle because of it. We pushed on to the checkpoint on the A20 and it looked like we had made pretty good time at this stage. Cards signed we rolled on and the first incident of the day was about to happen. Just as we turned left to head towards Challock Hill, Luke rode over a double manhole cover and his front wheel tucked – down he went, leaving Mick Hardy nowhere to go but on the deck with him. Luke clearly bruised his leg, and Mick was jumping around holding his elbow. Nothing broken thankfully, but a lesson learnt and some damaged bar tape. When will road builders design things with safety in mind for those on two wheels and put manhole covers in a sensible place, or infill them with shell grip?
After a good few minutes we were able to get going again, up and over the next climb of the day. Nothing too hard, but it probably hurt the crashers. The roads wound round Kent, as did the wind. At one stage we got hit from the left then the right, then it was a head wind, and finally a push from behind, and that was in a 50meter stretch of road.
It was tough going for the rest of the route, but we were closing in on the finish. Cranbrook through to Goudhurst hurt – the final couple of dragging climbs before a short dig into Horsmonden. We’d almost got there, but another crash happened. Bob had been struggling with a few of his gear changes along the route – Bob if you read this, it looked like a stiff chain link was causing your issues. Bob shot over the handlebars, and his back wheel came down on Mike. Two more left kissing the tarmac, and again thankfully not too much damage. Dusted off, pride dented, we all rolled into the finish, with a time of 3h52m – not bad considering time spent dealing with the crashes. Medals dished out we fell into the pub – to rehydrate you understand!
The rain held off, it was windy but I think I can speak for all that the route is a great one with very little done on main roads.
For anyone wanting to go and ride round it’s worth noting that there are no cafés/shops along the route where you’d probably want one. I have the route for GPS if anyone ever wants to go and try it out, away from the pressures of getting round in a time limit – just take some energy bars/gels if like me you have a figure to worry about.