Ben Hardisty writes…
With little form or proper racing fitness I decided to put in a last minute entry into the SCCU 100, this year held on the alternative G100/60(E) course where the (E), I was to find out, stands for Evil. Although the roads were drying out fast from the overnight rain, the wind was most definitely up.
An early morning start along the flat A272 was the pleasant part of the ride. My minute man was number 20 Chris Twine from Worthing Excelsior. I held him off for about 4 miles and with that my confidence was up for the next 96! After a quick excursion down to Henfield and back to Cowfold it was on to the A24. This is where it all went pear shaped.
A welcome slightly downhill section from the lights soon gave way to a very long drag into a stiff headwind. This was a real struggle and very different conditions to the earlier part of the ride. Knowing that I had to return to this stretch of road another four times was not the inspiration I was looking for.
I was now on a 17 mile circuit (West Grinstead-Washington-Partridge Green) on which riders had to complete 4½ laps to the finish. The chequered flag just south of Partridge Green.
By lap 3 the wind was holding me up enough that I was seriously considering packing. To counter that I changed my priorities and now concentrated on simply finishing the event. Such were the conditions that the quicker parts of the course were now on the A283 and B2135 which are the lumpiest.
Finally I was on the last lap and I tried to enjoy the last few miles, picking off a few Sunday riders on the way round. Crossing the line in a little over 5 hours, I was not worried about the time (although horribly slow), it just felt good to complete the event.
Hopefully next season the roadworks between Horsham and Crawley on the A264 will be complete and cycling events can return to that stretch, as I can safely say, it is unlikely that I will ride this course again.
Hats off to number 17 Richard Claxton of VC Elan who rode a track bike with fixed wheel. Well done to the organisers for running an excellent event.