Sunday, 23 May 2010

Speed, Distance, Heat and Signage - the challenges of the Pearson 150

Lining up for the Pearson Anniversary ride
By Adrian Webb
Monday, May 24, 2010 - 22:14
1,728 Views
adewebb's picture

A group of eleven Redhill riders entered the Pearson anniversary ride on Sunday 23rd with a range of different goals in mind. Some to complete a ride much longer than most usually tackle at 150km, so to build speed in preparation for foreign sportives. And for everyone, to make it through the heat of a stifling day and back to the Royal Marsden in Sutton.

In the end, the day produced some excellent results for some RCC riders and plenty of fun for others - while a few had their day ruined by the pocket-sized signage. Those of us who had ridden most of the course the weekend before (or had GPS gizmos) thanked our lucky stars that we knew the route fairly well to start with.
The signage detours began within a mile or two with Graham Haysom rejoining the bunch at the foot of How Lane along with about 30 others who had gone astray from the get-go. Later near Crawley Down, Geoff Clifon and Nick Brookes rejoined the socially-paced RCC peloton having taken a detour. Barry Gerhold doing the short route due to knee problems ended up having to abandon completely after finding himself miles off course while riding very strongly. Frustrating to say the least!
In the end, Dave Motton posted RCC's fastest time with an impressive 5:09 - fast under any circumstances for 94miles... but in that heat, especially so. Geoff and Nick recorded 5:36 and 6:14 respectively - but these times don't take account of the fact that they had probably cycled nearer to 99m at the end after their detour cost them around five miles.
Graham Haysom - the only entrant in the whole 150k line up over the age of 70 got back in a scorching 6:20. I many on the ride mistook him for a man in his 50s as he hopped tactically from bunch to bunch with consummate tactical awareness to maintain a strong pace. A testament to the benefits of the cycling life!
Six of the Redhill bunch took the event at a relatively social pace, enjoying the ride, the scenery, the banter and coming home in a bunch around the 7:30 mark. Martin Bell and friend Gavin, who were keen to clock up debut 'tons' recorded their times at Sutton and then headed out for a further seven miles to complete 100miles in the stifling heat. Pete Mortimer lead the bunch most of the way in speed and style while Nick Curran, so often the butt of RCC ribbings, rode strongly and steadily all day alongside Mark Vincent who nearly decided it was too far prior to the event but managed the distance fine with a smile on his face (nearly) all the way.
Meanwhile, Ian Taylor who wasn't riding drove ahead of the peloton (in blissful air conditioning) most of the morning to offer people drinks, take pictures and - in the end - rescue fallen cyclists. Ian picked up a gent who was knocked off on Ditchling Beacon who had just taken up cycling again after illness. Ian delivered him and bike home and that act of kindness probably restored his faith in human nature enough to keep him in the saddle. Thanks Ian!
Overall, another excellent showing of Redhill colours at an event when the standard was much higher than most sportives, reflected in the strong times of all involved. We're writing to the organisers about the need for clearer signage and more feedstops on such a hot day. Many of us ran out of fluids en route which is not ideal when climbing Headley Lane in 100+ degrees fahrenheit after 85m in the saddle.
 
Adrian