Whilst the Elite squad were hard at work on The Fools Errand the A team decided to venture off by themselves for a huge run in the depths of Kent. Some major climbs were vanquished and Harrys brand new tyres suffered a catastrophic failure when a flint pierced the rubber (he is a tightwad and bought cheap tyres). However, Mooro came to the rescue and had it fixed in a jiffy with the help of Colins gas. A quick wake up call at big Steve's was the only stop (coitus interruptus?) where he treated us to a great view of his dressing gown and pink shoes.
No further incidents until two cyclists had the audacity to overtake Bono and he promptly chased them down, overtook them, and reclaimed his crown as "fastest person on a little bit of road on the way to Yalding".
The ride was completed with a bit of a play at Teapot Island, although Poldark did try and push in at the front of the scoff queue. We then gently made our way back to HQ where the pickled Poldark tried to push in front again but was beaten off by an unflinching Moulton.
Inspired by Aplecin's tie-up with Giant in pro cycling, its great to see Alberto Balsam sponsoring grass roots (or should that be hair roots - ha ha!) cycling.
Many of us (not all!) have fond memories of this event as it was the first sportive we did as a "club" in 2011. Back then, it was called the V02, probably due to lack of sponsorship. Despite a couple of last minute withdrawals, we had a good half a dozen racers taking part. The weather turned out to be much better than predicted, cloudy and cool, with mostly warm sunshine. Most riders were over dressed, with base layers being stuffed into back pockets as the rode progressed.
The route starting in Hildenborough, was certainly testing with six major hills. Probably not as hard or technically challenging as the Kentish Killer but a reasonable challenge none the less.
Out of Hildenborough and straight up the Shipbourne Road after only a few miles before skirting Knole Park, blasting down Morleys roundabout (aka Merritts peril), then heading out for the second big climb, Ide Hill. There followed a lovely relaxed descent to Brasted, then back up the long drag to Toys Hill, before a heart racing plunge back to the flat lands.
The long route took us through Edenbridge, past "Annie's Bar" at Cowden, eventually dragging us up the long climb to the top of Ashdown Forest...lovely views if you could bring yourself to look over to the right - assuming your eyeballs had stopped bleeding of course...
Then it was downhill all the way to Groombridge before another testing climb back towards Langton Green, where there was, fortunately, a food stop and the chance to stretch those weary limbs before the final stretch...
...given how close Hildenborough now was, it took some planning ingenuity to stretch the journey out for a further 20 miles! A meandering wander through Fordecombe, Penshurst, Chiddingstone Causeway and Weald before the sting in the tail, Hubbards Hill (more fond memories from 2011, when most walked or fell up it). Then downhill all the way back for some lovely soup and most excellent brownies!
Personally, I found it tougher than last year, with a slower than average speed, (but also less stopping). Not so may long training rides made the effect felt after 55 or so miles.
Kentish Killer 15 Feb 2015 - For the first of the Spring Classics, the Chequers Racers Elite Men’s Outdoor Uphill “A” squad decided on a tactical split to best tackle both the long course and the longer course – I was one of the three appointed to tackle the long course.
For various reasons (ok because of my other life as a rawk legend) I wanted an early start so found myself in the second start wave at 8.20 on a raw grey misty morning at Brands Hatch. Thankfully, no rain or wind, and certainly not as cold as recently, so no danger of ice.
The route is certainly testing, with five and a half major climbs. All the favourites were present and correct – Carter Hill, Hubbards Hill, Ide Hill – plus the less visited Sundridge Hill (I’d forgotten about this one – a real doozy with gradients of 15-16%), the notorious Row Dow, which no-one knows how to pronounce (its Rohoo Dohooeee - Editor), and finally the little kicker at the end, the cutely named but horribly narrow and muddy, Tinker Pot Lane. Basically you go up and down the Greensand Ridge three times, and the North Downs twice! On a normal training ride, we’ll do maybe 1 hill and feel chuffed with ourselves – maybe time to up the ante, folks!
Some of the descents were pretty challenging too – Ightam Mote was very muddy, and the drop down Bayley’s Hill was more cyclo-cross than road cycling. In fact there seemed to more narrow, muddy, wet lanes than I remember – never my favourite surface!
Overall, though, the organisation is superb, with flag waving marshals at most junctions, clear signage, and a bucket of pasta at the end! Not sure if numbers were down this year, but I found myself in a 1 man peloton for much of the ride, though maybe it was the early start and me going so fast that no-one could catch me….maybe….
Not so much killed rather; water boarded, electrocuted, pumped, crushed, trounced, mullered, fecked...
by Des "the dart" McElroy