Sure, I’d received an email about this ride… and completely forgot about it. So when another reminder came in a few days ago I decided to take part in Evans Cycles RIDE-IT Medway ride. Suitable for many rather than few the ride had three courses – 31, 51 and 82 miles in distance. I had about six hours until our social event in Essex, so I decided to ride the long one.
The event was well organised with feed points at 25 and 55 miles. Registration desk was very busy at the start for those who had pre-registered. I had bought a bike for my son and thus qualified for a free ride. On the day desk had a queue of one.
I was lucky enough to be picked up by Gareth from Chelmsford and we rode about 60 miles together. Massive thanks for keeping me company and pace at about 18 mph!
The weather was +25C at 8:30 and this didn’t change downwards for the rest of the day. We were pushing on and and got past Sittingbourne and Faversham with no climbs whatsoever. The first real climbing started after the first feed point at Doddington culminating at Ringlestone. Then after turning right we found ourselves on top of the Hollingbourne Hill. We’d been there a few weeks ago with GCC where a running couple overtook some of us… There was a small bump near Leeds Castle that then plateaued off until Hunton. I think it was on downhill there where another rider had come off the bike and seemed rather bruised at the back of Ambulance van. Past East Peckham the route started climbing again through Hadlow (flashback to Fool’s Errand ride) up to Shipbourne. I wonder how 3-4% climb and place named Underriver go together… anyway we climbed up to Carter’s Hill which was probably the worst during the whole ride. It’s comparable with Vigo Hill and Birling (both are relatively close) in that it’s a long way to the hill and when you start actually climbing your legs are tired already. Take it slow!
And then it was long but not very fast decent through Plaxtol and up Long Mill lane. As or pace was slowing down we were picked up by another gent in his sixties who went at 20mph average and showed no signs of exhaustion. I had to refill my bottle when we had 10 miles to go and lost sight of my company.
The last stretch through Rochester and Chatham were rather painful due to amount of traffic. And then that was it… 4:50 riding time and 5:12 total to cover 82 miles.
The only negative came at the end of the ride – the good organisers had left water bottles boiling in the sun. And it was about +30C outside. So you can imagine what the water tasted like…
Having completed the ride I took a 10 minute break before heading back to Gravesend, on bike. Going up the A2 through Salters Cross was a struggle as it peaked at about 6.6% positive gradient. My knees didn’t agree with this section at all.
Back in Gravesend it was a quick refresher and over to Essex for Estonian Midsummer party.
I’m going out for a short recovery this morning… no more than an hour…
…and I headed off to Cobham Memorial for regular GCC meet-up. Fellow club members decided to take it easy as a Fathers Day ride with a coffee shop break in the middle. And this is how that mild joyride went.