Ben Hardisty writes…
On Sunday morning two teams from East Grinstead tackled the Sussex CA 25.8 mile team time trial. Though it was mild the weather forecast proved correct with wet and blustery conditions. Despite the weather there was an excellent turn out from a large field of 76 riders on the start sheet, with only a few DNS’s.
Mike and I were the first EGCC pairing off at 8:58. Having ridden the course for the first time the previous year, I was well aware of how difficult the first part of this course is. 5.5 miles of undulating road ending with a climb up to the Whiteways Lodge roundabout where the B2139 meets the A29. Mike had calculated that we needed to do this stretch in 18 minutes, which we duly achieved, I should mention at this point that this was only down to Mike’s superb pacing.
After the rdbt it was downhill on the A29, the legs getting a short breather, and we had time to prepare ourselves for the photo shoot halfway down the road. At Fontwell we turned and with the wind on our backs we were able to pick up some time as we sped along the A27, through Arundel and on eastwards. Turning North, we headed through Clapham and onto Findon, taking in the drag up Long Furlong – tired legs here !
Then the final few miles on A24 and back towards Storrington – but not before being held up by a towed car allowing our 4 minute men (Team Roberton) to catch us which was only very slightly disappointing. We did pass a few pairings on the ride, with Mike generally shouting “another pair” to encourage more effort from me. I should point out that with about 200 yds to go I did briefly allow Mike to take a breather on my wheel but it was to last only a few seconds when the chequered board came into sight.
A very enjoyable result for me having bettered my time from the previous year by more than 5 minutes. Chapeau Mr Anton ! We finished in 9th place which is my best ever position in any ride.
Meanwhile starting last as the “scratch team”, Steve Dennis and Paul Blackmore blasted their way round the course falling short of the course record by only 4 seconds and beating their nearest challengers Mike Coyle and Tim Mardall from VC Etoile by 1 minute. Great ride from Steve and Paul.
1st Steve Dennis & Paul Blackmore East Grinstead 58:25 2nd Mike Coyle & Tim Mardall VC Etoile 59:25 3rd Keith Read & Paul Read Redhill CC 1:01:52 4th Clive Powell & Paul Byford GS Stella 1:04:37 5th Mel Roberton & Karl Roberton Worthing Excel 1:04:46 9th Mike Anton & Ben Hardisty East Grinstead 1:08:54 Steve and Paul were also fastest vets (+8:40). 4 secs short of the course record!!