Ben Hardisty writes…
In the early hours on Sunday morning (04:30 hours to be precise),
four intrepid riders from East Grinstead cycling club set out to tackle the 120 mile “British Cyclosportive”,
a dry run of Stage 1 of the 2007 edition of the Tour De France (but pharmaceutical free in the main).
At the start it was dark and wet with a strong southerly wind and this didn’t bode well for the rest of the day. However as it transpired,
the weather did improve gradually as the day progressed. Mechanicals almost stopped one of the riders even starting,
Martin Malins leaving his front wheel skewer nut behind in East Grinstead.
However with a bit of rummaging around the bins of Greenwich Park, he found a compatible nut from a ‘disposed of’ brake caliper.
Finally at around 0615 we were off, started by the lovely 3 time world champion Victoria Pendleton, more than making up for the heavy drizzle. Eastwards out of London
we headed out over some surprisingly undulating roads, with the highpoints providing plenty of views of the Thames estuary, before reaching Rochester where we crossed the Medway at around the 30 mile mark.
Now heading south we reached Tonbridge at 50 miles, then over the hill at Bidborough
before going through Tunbridge Wells town centre and heading east once again towards Tenterden.
The coastline now was within touching distance near Hythe and Port Lympne,
whereupon the route took us north for the final stretch up the old Roman road to Canterbury.
Here we gratefully crossed the finish line and before too long were sampling the local Kentish ales,
with aches and pains being temporarily forgotten.
All along the route there was enthusiastic support, especially in the smaller villages.
Six feed stations kept us going, particularly when after 3 punctures I was in desperate need of some spare inner tubes. New tyres methinks.
Paul Harris 07:03:04 953rd Martin Malins 07:35:24 1716th Ben Hardisty 08:15:14 2593rd Stefano Arcidiacono 08:15:15 2595th
Report and photos to follow
A total of 3743 riders completed the ride and the winning time was 5 hrs 22 mins 28 secs.