WKRC

KCA Reliability Trial Report

October 29, 2013

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.

Alex

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