Mr Blackmore reports…
Monday morning’s race, starting at Devils Dyke was dry, but the possibility of ice and the freezing temperature meant a lot of non starters. As I drove to the HQ I saw Mike Anton getting ready to start, his turn to be no.5. Mike recorded 1-08-51 a good start to our efforts to win the team prize. I’d never done the course before and didn’t quite realise the severity of the first and particularly the last 2.5 miles.
I was last to start (no.42) and just managed to stay alive at the top of the hill with the freezing wind blow in my face before kicking off. Once down at Poynings roundabout it was a sharp left and along the bottom of the Downs. With so many sharp corners and crappy roads I took this bit easy as did most, but once on the main road heading towards Shoreham it was time to get the big gears rolling.
I saw Steve Dennis off 30, going the other way battling into the head wind on his way up to Henfield, Steve was suffering with back trouble and was using his road bike . I didn’t catch anyone until just before Poynings again which was the start of the timed climb to the finish. Luckily there was a tailwind, and I didn’t feel too bad on the long climb, but was gasping and relieved to get to the finish.
Steve D recorded 1-05-53, I did a 1-05-37, but we were both eclipsed by a flying Mike Coyle with 1-02-14. So with a 2nd, 3rd and 8th places we easily won the team, and a considerable amount of Easter Eggs and wine. I totalled 4 of each for my weekend efforts!
The weather wasn’t actually too bad, considering what we’d had in the previous days. I’d managed to catch 3 people before Fulking but the constant ups and downs of the first 5 miles weren’t conducive to getting a rhythm.
The run down to Shoreham and then back to Henfield was uneventful though my final time shows that I wasn’t trying hard enough. I saw my 3 minute man on the way up out of Poynings and thought I might catch him. Having got to within 100 yards at the base of the final climb, Karl (Robertson) proved too strong to catch.
Looking back I was nearly 3 minutes slower than the last time I rode this course in 06 but my deficit to Mike Coyle was 6.37 to 6.24 in 2006, so not the end of the world.