Peter Bedingfield writes…
Fun in the Sun. 115k Redhill Sportive as seen from the scruffers’ end.
Sunday runs are meat & drink to bikers, but when the road turns up I know I can’t keep up. So what to do on a sunny Sunday? Answer – do a sportive with my similarly aged mate Ian from Redhill CC. So we clocked on at the Redhill YMCA, about an hour after most had gone. Lazy or what!
Lovely morning, trundling along, then joined by a couple more Redhill jerseys when we stopped for a “comfort”. Now they were similar ages but a tad quicker. No matter, pretty soon we were sorted into an orderly, tight line of four, taking our turns into the light headwind. OK for an hour or so, but then Ian and I needed an excuse to drop back with honour intact so I ‘accidentally’ dropped a spanner from by bag…. “Oops! Don’t wait..”
So, into the ups n downs of Ashdown without undue pressure. Next guy we met was a Ronan, riding his bike knees out like it was a Derny, he was ready to pack. He stopped for an ice cream, we pressed on to the welcome lunch stop, great stuff, good banter with the lads from our earlier train. Ronan wheeled in looking bushed, then, OMG, another guy from Ireland, Rory, a GP from Kerry who was on a Box Hill Sportive, had missed a turning, run into the Redhill signage around Rusper and ended up with us near Crowborough. His map didn’t go east of Redhill…. This was getting a bit like Dad’s Army. We looked at him warily, noted the ominously sinewed shaved legs but also twigged he had 50 more miles in them than we had. So we agreed to shepherd him round to the end at Redhill station.
Swooping down to Groombridge I showed the benefits of a double helping of breakfast porridge, but was soon caught when the road went up…. Hartfield came and went, a missed turning by me this time so despite phone calls Rory and I didn’t see Ian and Ronan again till almost the end. A vain attempt to meet up just wasted 30 minutes in Dormansland on a sunny bench being pilloried by my neighbours, soooo hard not to pop home and get the car. Rory was flagging so I seized my opportunity and led him round the familiar flat roads to Horne at a fair lick till he told me he was “Banjaxed” and had to stop to refuel. I wish he hadn’t 😉 .
At Redhill Aerodrome we came upon Ronan putting his bike in a car. Only 2 miles to go, what was he thinking? So we battered him with flapjacks, insults and encouragement, he got back on and finished with us. The nice guys at Redhill gave Rory tea, cakes and a finishers medal even though he had started a different event. 3 of us piled into the front of Ian’s car and we dropped him off at the station. So, an entertaining day out. Good organisation, good route, good signage, good grub and good craic. Can’t ask much more at our age.