Ride bikes. Have fun. Feel good.

Mid Sussex Hilly

Ben Hardisty writes…

As usual Martin had arranged an impeccably organised event – many thanks also to Julie and the boys – and in Martin’s own words “the 8 years I have been running this ride its never rained” – indeed it didn’t – we were in fact blessed with fine weather.

Martin had mentioned that he was looking for a small bunch of volunteers to test ride a Hillier version (1AAA points = 1800 metres of climbing in 110km) of the Mid Sussex Hilly, which the four of us (Paul Harris, Andy Seltzer, Stefano Arcidiacono and I) and a few others entered.

Starting at 8.30am it was really quite cool, so Paul injected some energy into his riding to ensure we all warmed up quickly (thanks Paul), moving through the field. However a small gap opened up and with Stef and I lagging by 100 metres, a left hander was missed and we didn’t see Paul and Andy until the first control, where they patiently waited.

During the middle section of the course we were on familiar ground, up and over the Ashdown Forest, with the course taking us via Forest Row instead of Wych Cross. The climb up Cob Lane was quickly followed by the climb on the other side of the Ardingly reservoir, this second climb biting the legs.

Then the food stops started arriving and very welcome they were too. Once again Paul and Andy were waiting at the first, after Stef and I had gone off course for the second time, but a rider from Willesden had put us right. I had to be prized away from the endless supply of squash and chocolate, and we off again up the long drag towards Cuckfield. The remainder of the ride was a series of up and downs with a quick stop at Martin’s feed station at Staplefield where a cup of tea was delicious.

The main thing I’ll remember about this ride was not the bigger climbs, but the never ending ‘conveyer belt’ of smaller energy sapping rises and falls which meant that you never got into a rhythm. The Mid Sussex Hilly finishes with a reasonably flatter section of road, however on the Hillier version there was no such luxury with the rolling road continuing until about 2 miles to go. We were happy bunnies on arrival back at Chailey.

We saw Mike Anton snapping at various points around the course and Paul had his camera too – see links below. Pics above courtesy Mike Anton.

70 miles covered with 1800 metres climbing.

Paul Harris’ photos

Mike Anton’s photos

Paul Harris writes…

We were checking the display board at Weirwood Reservoir, answering the “info control” question and chatting to a group of D of E boys who were asking for map-reading help. One of the boys is behind me and says to his mates “Look at this bike, it’s really sick”. I turn round, highly offended that anyone could dislike a shiny new Trek Madone that much. He goes on, “Look at the way the brake cable goes into the bike frame…”.

Wikipedia entry: “Sick” a compliment used in the last few years to mean “Great”, e.g. “That’s sick.”!