Steve Dennis writes…
With the howling gale raging on Saturday it was with some relief
that it died down during the night. Only to be replaced with …..
rain. Torrential downpour at five o’clock but thankfully a gentle
drizzle by 8.
I did the unthinkable and DROVE the four miles to Handcross with
thoughts of having to hang around in soggy clothes afterwards
otherwise. There I found out that both Ben and Stef had thought better
of it and not turned up. Bang goes the team again! [Ed. actually Ben had a horrible dose of flu]
Fortunately for me,
several of the top seeds had had the same idea, meaning I could just
bag the race.
With little or no time for a warm up and a long decent after the
start, it was going to be a bit chilly to start with. But being May
instead of the usual Good Friday for this event, the blood soon warmed
up and I got going nicely.
Cowfold came & went and I soon started picking off slower riders to
the extent that by Henfield at 32 miles, I passed my five minute man,
none other than Tim Bayley of Arctic Premier RT, who if my memory
serves me correct did the same thing to me about 10 years ago!
The rain had stopped by about half distance and the roads were
starting to dry out, making cornering a little less precarious but the
old back was starting to tell again, which made me a bit nervous for
the long climb back up from Cowfold to Plummers Plain and onward to the
finish just before Handcross.
As it happened, out-of-the-saddle climbing
actually eased the problem and I rode steadily on to the finish,
crossing the line in 1hr 37mins 43secs. Good enough for a win and
course record to boot.
Turns out that Tim Bayley had had a mechanical so I only made about 2
minutes on him. I thought it was a bit odd to catch him so “easily” and
then find it a devil of a job to drop him again!
1st Steve Dennis EGCC 1:37:43 2nd Tristan Davenne PCA Ciclos Uno 1:38:48 3rd Mark Newton Sydenham Wheelers 1:42:01 4th Dave Shepherd Liphook Cycles RT 1:42:51