Paul Winkley writes…
The slowest ‘Ton’ of the year.
As many of you know I have aspirations of being a DJ and host a radio show every Friday evening on Meridian FM. A few weeks ago I was ‘press ganged’ live on air to organise and ride 100 miles to raise much needed funds for the station. This became 107 to match the frequency on which we broadcast. One downside is that I would be riding with one of the other hosts who is a non-cyclist – a plucky lady called Krys O’Brien.
So it was on Sunday 16th September we left the Meridian FM studio at 08.50 and headed for Eastbourne Pier. Just to make it interesting our route included the Forest Way to Groombridge and Cuckoo Trail from Heathfield to Hampden Park Eastbourne and just for a laugh we went through Eridge, Rotherfield and Mayfield along the way – nice and flat then!
Keeping Krys focused and chatting is always easy and I had prepared our nutrition mixing my very own secret recipe of energy drink and a pocket full of High 5 caffeine gels. Future Cycles had kindly supplied her with a bike for the day and this proved ideal, I was on my trusty Kona ‘Jake the Snake’ Cross bike. Dawes had very kindly helped with some clothing and bottles and we made good headway until we hit the steep slopes just outside Heathfield. I was shocked by some earthy descriptions of the hills we rode up by Krys.
We soon hit the Cuckoo Trail and were making good time…until we lost the trail at Hailsham. Taking our life in our hands we braved the main A22 to Polegate, were we failed to find the trail again and headed for Eastbourne by road taking time out to visit Hampden Park along the way. We arrived at Eastbourne Pier on schedule just after 1pm, stopping for a Fish and Chip lunch at Harry Ramsdens [yum!]. Before heading back we took a ride to the base of Beachy Head to make some of the additional 7 miles over my original course. We soon found national cycle route 21 and The Cuckoo Trail! I had kept it from Krys that we had a lot of climbing to do on the way back so crossed fingers and hoped she would make it. It was a very long afternoon but we were eventually through Heathfield and heading towards Eridge.
This section of Route 21 can best be described as a ‘bitch’ with virtually no flat road. Krys wouldn’t give in and walk; she rode all the hills abet with the occasional push from me. It was with relief we got to Eridge and were soon passing Groombridge to join the Forest Way for the final leg back to Grinstead. With regular updates and photos posted on facebook throughout the journey we finally arrived at 19.15 and had expected a reception committee on our return to the studio, but were greeted with silence and darkness.
Just then Pete Jenkins one of the other presenters on Meridian emerged from his car holding a bottle of Champagne and two glasses, in his other hand was a mobile phone on which was Liz Bennett the Town Mayor offering congratulations. We were soon back in the radio studio for a live interview and then … home and a nice warm bath!
Our time is not worth mentioning but Krys O’Brien you’re one tough lady!
We hope to raise £1000 if you would like to contribute you can by sending whatever you can afford for the attention of: Krys O’Brien, Meridian FM, Jubilee Community Centre, Charlwoods Road, East Grinstead. RH19 2HL