Crawley Wheelers 41.59
Mike Anton writes…
Diamond Jubilee weekend Part 1
The Diamond Jubilee weekend had a selection of races on and after some discussion with Mr Hardisty we chose the Wheelers 41 on the Sunday and along with Jon Carter, the …a3crg 3 up Team Time Trial on the Tuesday.
Never being one for taking the sensible route, the classic Wheelers SPOCO 41 was my first proper open event of 2012 (the Mitre Hilly 10 the week before not really counting , especially as it was prefixed with the BHF London to Brighton night ride).
The 41 has been around for many years and I have ridden it on a number of occasions, including the infamous 2008 club event which saw a freak snow storm stop proceedings after 45 mins.
Ben has been racking up the miles this year, most recently with two back to back century rides so a little 41 would be almost be a walk in the park for him. I on the other hand hadn’t put a leg over a bike until the end of March so my last minute efforts to get some miles in weren’t exactly a text book example of how to prepare for a sporting event.
Sunday dawned with the forecasted light rain though I suppose the only consolation was it was relatively mild and still.
Using the ride out from home as my warm up I set off from Handcross at a reasonable pace, almost hitting 40mph down past the speed camera at Crabtree.
Things were chugging along nicely until Graeme Stirzaker, my 2 minute man passed me near West Grinstead. About 5 minutes later Tom G from Lewes sped by, coincidentally at the same point my pump fell from the bike, which I had to stop and retrieve.
However their speed was nothing compared to Wouter Sybrandy’s who having caught me for 8 minutes on the Steyning bypass, smoothly and rapidly pedalled away without any hint of effort.
With the course turning north back to Henfield I eventually spotted Ben in the distance and after what seemed a life time, eventually reeled him. The largely flat run from there on has another dog leg down to Henfield and Ben appeared to be keeping the gap. Unfortunately for me, Tony Reeves was bearing down and as the road started to go up towards Cowfold, he came by.
The climb back up Crabtree is never fun at full fitness so it was bottom gear and plug away, all the while watching the clock tick by. Arriving at Lower Beeding it was time for a quick recovery on the final little downhill before the deceptive drag back to the finish at Handcross.
I crossed the line in 1:52:35, my slowest ever time on this course. Ben on the other hand got a course best 1:58:49.
Unsurprisingly Wouter Sybrandy dominated the event and took Steve D’s course record crown with a fantastic 1:32:21.