Paul Turner writes…
This was my second attempt at the Reigate Sportive (mid distance, 62 miles). The course runs from Reigate College, flowing from the North Downs out towards Kent Weald around Sevenoaks and Hever Castle. Mostly staying away from the the main roads, making for pleasant riding.
Last year this was my first ever Sportive. It was a hot day and I completed the course in 3hrs 55minutes, which gave a me silver banding (4hrs 7mins target), although I found out afterwards that they had to shorten the course by 3.4 miles near Edenbridge as they were having problems with signs being removed. So silver would have been very tight without this…
This year I set myself a target to finish in under 4hrs. The weather was overcast, breezy with the threat of rain. The cooler conditions made for good riding conditions and I made good progress to reach the 1st checkpoint (34 miles) in 1hr 56mins. After a quick stop to fill up drinks and fuel up I headed off again. Just before I began the descent down Hosey Common Road into Crockham hill the temperature dropped and the rain started. Looking left towards Edenbridge it looked like I was heading in to torrential rain, so I stopped at the bottom of the hill to put my rain jacket on.
By the time I reached the 2nd checkpoint (44miles) the rain had moved away, so after a quick stop to remove my jacket I headed off again.
At 53 miles the ascent up Old Tilburstow Road is never a welcome sight, but strangely I found this much easier than I thought I would, and was passing other riders up the hill. From Blechingley it was relatively easy riding back to the finish in Reigate for a well deserved cup of tea and a bowl of chilli. A few minutes later the sky opened up and I was glad I had finished.
I was fairly pleased with my finishing time of 3hrs 47minutes, well inside the silver banding and only 6 minutes off the gold banding. Perhaps I’ll go for gold next year….
I have a GPS trace of the ride available on Strava for anyone interested; http://app.strava.com/rides/12176987
Thanks to Southern Sportive; http://www.southernsportive.com for the well organised and well signed ride.