The Sussex Winter Corker, a game of two halves…
As part of the new Grimpeur award I’m administering from this year I thought
I’d better pitch up for the first qualifying event, a re- run of Dave Hudson’s
event from last summer.
When I rode the version in June I was mountain-fit
having recently ridden the Dales Grimpeur and many other hilly events, including
400km up to Edinburgh through the slightly mis-named Lowlands. This year’s
version was much harder by comparison and I abandoned all hope of getting
anywhere near my sub 5 hour time of 2006. The first climb up Harting Hill
(not the main road) had me struggling to stay in the middle ring when I
had hardly noticed it in the summer.
Paul Harris and I had been late starting so
we met a few riders coming back up from the first control as we were going
down. After a hard climb back up to Harting Hill (the 3rd time on this one
ride!) it was mostly rolling until the stiff climb up to Goodwood (horse)
racecourse on the circuit beloved of of hardened “testers”. A quick info at the top before plunging back down and up the long drag to Cocking and Midhurst.
More welcome food in the hall and half time and we tried hard to build up
enthusisam for the much harder second half. Mostly rolling again until the
16% of Lynchmere, then the stiff climbs up near the Surrey / Hants border
came in quick succession; Glen Lea, Haste Hill and the really horrible Quell
For some reason on these rides everyone forgets about all the little
sharp climbs in between the big ones, and this was certainly the case with
the descent back to Fernhurst. And then there was just Bexleyhill. This
is a real nasty. I’d done it 2 weeks before on the Well Fed 200, but not after
nearly 2000m of climbing.
But reduced to my lowest gear I finally saw the
summit approach around the corner and at the top took a well earned rest
before getting the camera out to capture Paul and Mark (our ridemate for
the day and from Burwash so well used to these sorts of climbs). And then
a lovely descent back to Eastbourne and the finsh at 30 minutes longer than
my summer time. A lovely ride, and another classic from Dave Hudson.