It was back down to the Romney Marshes for another go at the Kent CA 100. Ben Houston and I encountered a windy but enjoyable day on the event last year and this year was looking the same with the last few days being pretty windy. However with just 24 hours to go the forecast was looking very promising and the question was, would this break in the weather hold.
Up at 4am for a 5am departure for the hour or so’s drive to Ashford (Kingsnorth) was a struggle but I was only running 5 minutes late as I hit the road.
With plenty of time for a 5 mile warm up I was the penultimate rider off at #44. Number 45 (last man) caught me within a few miles but he was destined for a quick ride. I caught #43 (Eva Nyirenda) only a few miles later as I pushed for a reasonably quick start. My strategy was to start as fast as I dared and then hold on !
After 20 miles or so after descending from Ashford onto the Romney Marsh I had settled down, #43 came back past slowly and after tracking her for about 10 miles she disappeared from view. From this point we had 4 laps of the Brenzett-Camber-Lydd 21 mile loop to complete. The break in the weather seemed to be holding as the wind was never too strong, although it did seem to change direction during the course of the event.
The third lap out of 4 was a struggle but after pushing as hard as I could on the final lap, I came home in 4:43:54 which was a personal best by a minute and a half. This was a pretty good result for me considering the meagre training I have done this year. But also maybe it was a chance lost, as had I had the legs I could have taken the opportunity to knock a significant chunk of time out. Next year.
Anyone considering a 100 should have a go at this event – it is very flat with only the wind being your enemy. This years event organised by the KCA was superbly well run by a very friendly bunch of officials and marshalls. Well done to them.
My one gripe of the day was having to ride back almost 9 miles mostly uphill back to the HQ from the finish line. This was very painful !