Steve Dennis writes…
To quote a classic headline penned by our good friend Andy Seltzer ( who just happened to be riding today also), “Dennis wins, but wind is a problem!”
It looked like rain was going to cause a few problems too when at six o’clock it was lashing down but within an hour it had given way to patches of crystal blue sky and fluffy white clouds. Riding out to the race HQ at Handcross a little while later, the only evidence left of the rain was a few puddles.
This race, which is a modern incarnation of the old Crawley – Shoreham and back, that was scuppered a few years ago when we were banned from riding through Henfield, is pretty much a tour of mid-Sussex taking in Cowfold, West Grinstead, Partridge Green, Steyning, Upper (and Lower) Beeding, Henfield (twice), Shaves Wood and back to Handcross via Cowfold. Crabtree Hill and Plumbers Plain.
I was last man off, being last year’s winner and a time of 1 hour 33 minutes to beat. Our only other starter on the day, Ben Hardisty off some 42 minutes earlier, must have suffered the cool conditions left behind after the rain. Stefano however, thought better of it and was a DNS, which was a shame as it blew us out of the team competition where you need 3 finishers to count.
My ride went well with no punctures or crashes to report which was surprising considering the amount of resurfacing grit around the course. I do wish they’d fill up the pot-holes BEFORE chucking a load of chippings down! Anyway, rant over, it was plain to see that after 30 odd miles, any improvement on last year’s time was out of the question thanks to the blustery conditions and all that was left to do was crawl my way back up Crabtree hill and on to the finish at Handcross.
My time of 1hour 35minutes and 57seconds was fastest on the board so that was good enough for maximum points in my SPOCO SE campaign in the long distance category.