South Downs Way 2010 – a longer day than expected!

Marek and myself did the Southdowns Way “for a laugh” last bank holiday weekend.  It was scorching hot and Marek had been on the beer the night before, not a good combination!

This year we were bringing Chris Carney along, Chris is an Ironman Extraodinaire, but I have never seen him riding an MTB.  He turned up on a Jekyll with a Lefty fork, so he must have like them at some time.  It required some serious surgery from being sat in his shed for a year – new cables and jockey wheels as they were totally seized!

So, the first train out of Lingfield meant lights on leaving the house, and a change at Clapham where the train was late and we were stood freezing holding Costa Lattes on Platform 10 waiting for the board to give even a hint more information than “train is delayed”.  Eventually, 15mins late we were on our way to Winchester.

Arriving into Winchester I stupidly forced my Garmin onto it’s mount and broke the damned bracket 😦  This was going to cause much headache if we couldnt fix this to the handlebars, fortunately Marek has a hair band.  I still have not fathomed as to why he had one, but it worked perfectly!

So, 10miles into the ride and all is going well.  Then Chris Carney’s crank fell off 😦   Fortunately the bolt was still in it, but to our shock and horror, it was a 12mm bolt and for those not in the know, there is no such thing as a multi-tool with a 12mm allen key!  So, after an hour of riding 5mins then tightening with a tyre lever and knocking on farm house doors, we eventually found someone with said rare allen key to fit.  A serious wrenching on the allen key and all was fine…. until about another 5miles later and the whole thread went on his crank/bottom bracket.  This was game over for Chris, we found a village with the nearest train station on his iPod and he decided to head there by himself and his ironman spirit.  Marek and I carried on, it had taken over 2.5hrs to do 15miles on pretty flat terrain.  There was a hell of a lot more to go!

So Marek and I put the hammer down on a nice clear day, i say put the hammer down, because Marek and I have both recently been going through a similar stressful job change and so racing has gone on the back burner for a bit.  My fatigue problem had me off the bike for 8 weeks so I was only just starting to get some distance in the legs again.

The day was glorious, the cool air was welcome and the sun and clear sky meant we could take in the full incredible views you get from the top of the downs.  We quickly stopped for some lunch at the Queen Elizabeth Country Park even though we werent really hungry, but there was going to be no stopping place after this.  As time ticked on we realised that due to us starting at 09:30 in Winchester and due to the time it had taken sorting Chris’s bike out, that we were going to have to bail at Devils Dyke, this meant we would not be covering the full 105miles unfortunately, but there was a danger of us riding in the dark and we didnt want to be doing that.  Plus, Brighton was much easier to get home from!  Or so we thought…

The ride passed pretty much uneventfully, the climbs were their usual long winding selves and I was not looking forward to the climb out of Washington.  It basically involves dicing with death to get across the A24 bypass (the crossing is cleverly on a blind bend!) before starting the climb which is a mile up a knackered old track, not what you want at the 65mile point after the horrid climb out of Amberley.

Eventually we could see Shoreham but it never seems to get any closer, neither does Brighton.  Everytime you think you are climbing up to Devils Dyke, there is another big valley and another big climb to get past.  As we finally approached Devils Dyke, we saw lots of bumbling cyclists climbing up a gravel track, as we got closer we realised they had numbers on them.  It was the people doing the London to Brighton off-road event, this meant lots of blithering idiots on bikes descending into Brighton.  Fortunately we managed to nip onto a train at Brighton, god knows how.

So I finally walked into the house at 19:30 and needed my lights on again to get home!  A really long day out, gutted Chris couldnt make the whole ride and disappointingly my new camelbak rubbed the skin off my back 😦   Marek unfortunately was in the doghouse, his wife for some reason misunderstood the enormity of the task and assumed we would be back by 15:00!  Marek is strong, but I dont think anyone can complete the SDW and be back in Lingfield by 15:00, even on a motorcross bike!

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~ by globalste on September 28, 2010.

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