This ride is best described as “painful in parts”. The first ride of the 2008 Grimpeurs du Sud and an all new event, using much of the Battle and Back East Sussex section but in reverse.
A lovely day for it with a tailwind as Paul Harris myself and over 70 others (mostly familiar faces from previous South Eastern Grimpeurs) set off from Hailsham via a devious deviation to Brightling where Andy Seviour the organiser found some more gratuitous hills. There was still frost on the ground after the checkpoint so descending Willingford Lane required nerves of steel (and I now know what the hill back up to The Wheel is like)
Tim Wainwight the AUK photographer now has a little “AUK photo” board bu the side of the road like on French rides; he’ll be handing out little flyers soon!
Mostly benign to Mayfield but atrocious roads; at least the water running down them was clear unlike on the last Mad Jack. After El Supremo’s welcome stop in Mayfield it got a bit more brutal and I also missed the L turn to Town Row (as it didn’t seem to make sense on the route sheet) so having been dropped by Paul, Mark Heffer and I had to go along the main road for a bit before finding another one.
Had a ‘bit faster than a slow’ puncture just before Redgate Mill where most of the field passed us as the second tube was also duff; I was now sans puncture provision. Motts Mill was also hair raising but soon we were in Hartfield; Mark had left me in Redgate so I applied some local knowledge rather than RTFRS and missed the turn to Maresfield; fortunately a bit of backtracking via the Pooh Sticks lane put me on the road to the checkpoint and then The Wall, which was. And Tim was again strategically placed half way up with camera to record my unfitness; commenting on what was I doing so far back?
It was pretty nice after that with the descent off Ashdown Forest to Jarvis Brook and thence Mayfield again where Mark was about to go so two quick cheese sarnies and a cup- a soup from El S and promptly away. The grind up to Broad Oak where I destroyed my knee on Dave’s 300 in 2003 was familiar but from the top it was mostly OK back to Hailsham (although seemed too long for 24km) to arrive in (mumble) hrs.
A lovely ride; Andy had a comments sheet at the end; I suggested moving Christmas and New Year forward a couple of weeks…