Ride bikes. Have fun. Feel good.

East Surrey RC Hardriders 29.9

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All images courtesy Colin Derrick

Results and report copied from RTTC website

1st   Liam MAYBANK  Twickenham CC         01:01:18
2nd   Tim STEVENS   34 Nomads CC          01:01:47
3rd   Steve DENNIS  East Grinstead CC     01:02:00
4th   Steve IRWIN   Kingston Wheelers CC  01:03:45
5th   Phil EMBER    Kingston Wheelers CC  01:04:25
6th   Christian YATES  East Grinstead CC  01:04:30

1st Lady  Maryka Sennema  Kingston Wheelers CC  1:11:43

28th  Mark BASHFORD East Grinstead CC     01:08:27
52nd  Simon NEAVE East Grinstead CC       01:12:55
64th  Luke de QUAY East Grinstead CC      01:16:57
68th  Ben HARDISTY East Grinstead CC      01:20:14

For the 50th year of their classic early season Hardriders event the East Surrey Road Club offered an even more impressive prize fund than usual with a total value of £2,400 on offer. Entries were down on last year though at 89, with many regulars blaming the weather for their absence as they had been unable to start their usual training. The excessive rain in Surrey also gave event organizer Blake Coxon a problem as the flooded River Mole had washed away part of Flanchford Bridge and closed it to traffic. With planned temporary repairs by the Council delayed last week the decision was taken that the course would have to be reduced in length from 29.9 to 27.1 miles and the start moved to Reigate Heath. On the day the weather could not have been better for early March with bright sunshine, no frost and no sign of the floods.

The best time set by the early starters was from Richard Gifford (In-Gear Quickvit Trainsharp RT) at 1:05:03, with James Stuart (Norwood Paragon CC), who had started a minute later, coming close with 1:05:14. Christian Yates (East Grinstead CC) then recorded 1:04:30, but was soon knocked off the top of the leader board by his teammate Steve Dennis (East Grinstead CC), off at number 60 and enjoying riding his local roads to record 1:02:01. A regular in the event Steve has picked up numerous top 3 prizes from the East Surrey in the past but has never come out on top and many at the HQ hoped that this might be his year.

Less than 10 minutes later though Liam Maybank (Twickenham CC) finished in a new fastest time of 1:01:18. Could top seed Steve Irwin (Kingston Wheelers CC), who has some sub 50 minute qualifying 25 mile times beat this? It turned out not to be his day though as he finished in 1:03:45, which left him in 4th place. The late surprise came from Tim Stevens (34 Nomads CC) as although he has won the event 3 times the last of these wins came in 1998 and he was thought of now as more of a contender for the veterans’ prizes. However, Tim finished in 1:01:47 so claiming the 2nd place from Steve Dennis and also winning the prize for 2nd veteran on CTT age related target times with a plus of 20m.42s.

The winning veteran on target times was Reg Smith (VeloRefined Aerosmiths) whose recorded time of 1:07:30 gave him an age related plus of 23m.54s.. The fastest lady rider was Maryka Sennema (Kingston Wheelers CC) who recorded 1:11:43 and the team award was also won by the Kingston Wheelers CC. Their three fastest riders were Steve Irwin, Phil Ember and Pat Wright with an aggregate time of 3:13:56.

The East Surrey Road Club express their thanks to Reeves & Co. LLP, chartered accountants in Horley, Corridori Cycle Sport in Epsom and Specialized UK for their generous sponsorship of the event.

Keith Wilkinson, East Surrey Road Club.


Ben Hardisty writes…

Having struggled around the Staplefield course last week in almost last place I was glad not to wait too long to get another ride in and to hopefully see some improvement. I missed this event last year so was keen not to miss it again. For those that haven’t ridden this course, it does look a little daunting on paper, but it is very straightforward. ‘Rolling’ best describes the route with a couple of climbs thrown in.

The course was shortened due to the Flanchard Road bridge having lost a wall either due to the river flooding or a truck smashing into it, either way we weren’t allowed to use the section. So the start line was moved forward to Reigate Heath just on the south side of the A25, losing 2.5 miles of the course in the process.

As always before I set off for any event, I pop outside the front door before leaving the house to ‘dip my toe’ to get an idea how cold it is. It felt cool but mild, so I set off early to get a nice long warm up prior to the event. But when I arrived at HQ in Leigh the temperature had dropped to 2 degrees ! It was bloomin’ freezing. Riding out to the new start point with Mark Bashford I couldn’t stop my teeth chattering but fortunately we were soon climbing up towards the Heath into warmer air and the cool edge disappeared.

After a quick chat with timekeeper Tony Alston on the start line I was off (#18) and pretty quickly a sharp left onto the A25, a rolling 4-5 mile section all the way to the Deepdene roundabout where the course turns left up the first climb on the A24. Get caught here by Richard Gifford(#20). From the top of that climb the A24 rolls quite annoyingly up and down for probably 10 miles and really does sap the energy. The gentle headwind doesn’t help matters.

Time trialling is 50% effort and 50% focus on maintaining the effort (vast over-simplification) and in the first few miles I pass several Sunday morning joggers whom I had seen on the Heath while I was warming up. Not quite sure why I remember this trivia but it does highlight a problem I have concentrating on delivering the effort required to be a good time-trialler. Later on in the ride I will also think about some tune that I can’t block out, and perhaps what might be for tea later. Not forgetting those negative thoughts… I am riding far too slowly… why can’t I do 20mph up this drag… and on Hurst Hill (Rusper Road) the second climb of the day I almost come to a complete standstill… more concentration required. Thanks to the gang of Redhill riders at the top for the encouragement.

Finally the home stretch through Rusper and Newdigate with a few lumps and bumps, although there is always one more lumpy bit than you had remembered. Some kind soul had put out a ‘5 miles to go’ marker. But the ‘3 miles to go’ marker seems to take forever to appear, has someone stolen it ?  Several sets of horses slow me down but I’m past worrying. One mile to go and I try not to leave anything in the tank.

It was good to ride this course again and the weather was kind (not wet and not too windy). Thanks to the organisers for an excellent event. Now I need to consult Robin’s training section to ‘up my game’.

Results to follow