Most sensible people didn't even leave their beds, let alone their houses on Sunday, the weather was so awful. But quite a lot of Redhill Heroes braved strong winds, rain and hailstones to compete in the hardest of events.
John, Sharon, Brian, Kevin, Dom, Rory and myself rode in the Castle 100. Geoff, Nathan, Jacqui and Alison (and Jon?)rode in the Evans 'King of the Downs', with 9000 feet of climbs and a total of 125 miles. Jacquie and Alison got the route right and did 118 miles. Fantastic!
Graham Haysom was in Scotland riding the Caledonia Etape, we're waiting for his report.
Mike Ormerod, just back from cycling across China, led a Club Ride with Frank, Jim and new wheels, Andy. And four of our racers were battling it out at Goodwood.
Sharon's group of four girls at The Castle suffered 12 punctures...but all finished; who says the British spirit is weak?! Soaked and cold, Dom came off on a slippery corner, hit the side of his face on the tarmac but just carried on. Two more riders crashed in the same spot as we tried to warn them to slow down. Unfortunately, Dom and I missed a turn later and ended up doing 91 of the 100 miles. I wasn't sorry!
But here's a question...are these very long rides a good idea? Geoff estimates that only a quarter of riders in the King of the Downs would have finished. At The Castle, we saw large numbers of novice riders suffering badly on nice new bikes, which they will probably never want to ride again. Macho events do harm to cycling, there's a danger that these people will take up GOLF! What could be worse?!
Our top riders did well in the Duncton 86 mile event but most of our medals were in the mid distance event, which was fast and fun, not torture! Unless you are a young, very committed and fit rider, think carefully about long events. The Reigate Sportives are: 88, 65 & 53 miles. I'm going for the middle distance to have a chance of gold. I know that for me, the long one will become a slog!
GOODWOOD RACING...Rupert, Stuart, James and Kevin suffered the same weather and started the race cold and wet. How odd, in the middle of May, to have HAILSTONES in the middle of a race! And then a crash at lap seven made it impossible for Rupert to get back to the front. Maybe not a good race but 'character building' (heard those words a lot this weekend!). Well done everyone for getting stuck in regardless.
A late entry...Jonathan Bradbourne and Dan Bartley did the 54 mile route in the King of the Downs in just over 3 hours! They were soaked through and cold but pleased with their time in the dreadful weather.