Ride bikes. Have fun. Feel good.

Invicta 300

Martin Malins writes…

I arrived at the hall in Meopham just before Barry the organiser at midnight and foolishly tried to grab some sleep as the hall was got ready; eventually got up about 02.30 to show willing with the other 20 starters; we started with a well planned route straight down the A2 to Faversham on empty roads.The rain (which we mostly escaped even though big puddles everywhere) put paid to most of the night owls through the Medway Towns. I had a bizarre moment after leaving the A2990 looking across the estuary; thought I could see lightning forks out to see but it was a hi-tech green light trace which went across the water (something to do with the London Array windfarm?)

The sea wall along Reculver was lovely. Met most of the others at the petrol station in Margate. Thereafter the scenic but very windy 140km section to Ringmer. Scott (on his first 300) made a slip-up with the route sheet in Sandwich and ended up completely off route (passing under the route on the bypass); using his GPS we eventually go back on route near Barham where the others passed me while waiting for Scott. I hid under a canopy during a brief shower at the cafe in Hythe. The 37km section to Rye was the hardest despite being the shortest, much worse than on the Flattest Possible 300 even without the Biblical Rain. I was reduced to the middle ring to make headway against the unrelenting headwind and the kms were very slow to tick

More Beans on Toast at Rye. I knew the next section to Ringmer from El Supremo’s rides and understand why Dave usually takes it in the reverse direction, very tough into the headwind. I hid behind a hedge for the only major shower of the day near Upper Dicker.

A major intake of squash rolls cake and industrial strength coffee (thanks Rob, Mrs Rob and a healthy looking Richard Thomas) at Ringmer preceded the last section for which we had a very welcome but increasingly cold tailwind. I applied some local knowledge by not even reading the route sheet for the next section and mistakenly went through Barcombe to get to the A272, catching up Tim Ford (who I had passed in the opposite direction at Piltdown) on the nice wind assisted climb up to a glorious summit of Ashdown Forest.

A fantastic sporting descent back to Hartfield before the hardest (hillwise at least) section through Edenbridge (where I passed Scott ) Ide Hill and Igtham. After the enormous relief of reaching the top of the last hill in Vigo it was a very long and cold blast down to the finish where Brian and Garry who I’d met at Ringmer where still there and we had a chat with Barry about his decision not to go for PBP; he wasn’t envious given the weather we had. I passed a couple on the way back down from Vigo but didn’t see anyone on the way back through Ide Hill and Edenbridge (they must all have been on the rollercoaster section through Ightham)