The way I got into work today was a better indicator on how this ride went than my finishing time:
- All the people I come across on my commute to work, were all a little further on their way than usual
- Had to stop myself from pinging my bell too much as it was getting me into a trance
- When I got to work, I went straight for breakfast rather than shower first
There were a few familiar faces participating, which is always nice. Anton is a regular now. And Mel eased off to have a chat also: "Don't know if I'll last 8 hours on these handlebars", he said. Can you imagine the banter that followed: "Is that because you're taking it easy today Mel?" Truth is that he wasn't used to the type of handlebars on his newly acquired bike. The 8 hours reference was neither here nor there for him (but it was to us!).
I had given myself 14 hours (pretty much the time limit), but there was a push to finish before dark, so 12 hours wasn't bad in the end for a hilly 200. I only stopped to eat and take a couple of iPhone pictures.
M25 cutting through country side
The other picture was taken at Rotherfield - couldn't help myself.
The day wasn't too eventful, apart from ... not causing a car accident ... but if I hadn't been there, the prang probably wouldn't have happened. I was descending down a hill at a bit of a speed, I braked, slowed down, as I saw an oncoming car wanting to turn right. The car stopped ... bang, somebody drove into him. Ouch. I wonder if anybody saw the aftermath? In Crowborough, I think it was.
Then there was the unknown object thrower. We went through quite a few lanes. I like cycling on these lanes, but there isn't much space for cars to pass. A big people carrier came along and a pesky little child threw something at me through the open window. It was close range, but still quite a good shot I thought, hitting me in my most padded area. I was contemplating what to say, should I meet the car at the T junction. It was going to be 'Good shot', 'You rascal', or both. When taking a break at the next info control quite a few miles further, I noticed half a piece of a digestive biscuit sitting on top of my saddle bag. Very good shot!!
The fuel stop at Yalding was very welcome. We, that is Stephen and I, who by then had formed a groupette of two, both enjoyed the break. Its amazing what energy you can draw, not just from eating, but from the presence of somebody who understands what you are doing. The organiser, William Weir, was there to stamp our cards and provide food and drink.
The route covers some wonderful scenery and picturesque villages. Goudhurst in particular caught my eye, very near Sissinghurst. It is a small village and has an unusual feel to it because of the way the church is elevated above the surrounding, beautiful buildings.
I really enjoyed this ride (3000 m climbing has its rewards) and since Redhill is quite easy to get to for me, I might look out for more of William's rides.