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8th June 2014
Riders: Richard, Rob, Cas , Dick & Mike
Road ride: Eastbourne
Weather: 24°C

I had some strange experiences and places to push my bike today: through a shopping centre in Eastbourne while frantically looking for the train station and then even more bizarre pushing it through Gatwick airport having de-trained there before riding down the Gatwick exit ramp at the drop-off point.

But all that was hours into the future as the alarm went off at 5 a.m. for a six-thirty meet at Cas's. Despite his famous faffing aided by Mike we were off and riding only ten minutes later than planed and met Rob at Merstham. From there we headed South following Cas's usual route that takes in all the leafy lanes in Surrey and Sussex.

Cas is towing us as usual although I'm blasting all the descents and feeling great. I'm eating regulalry and hydrating too and we soon reach Marsh Green with all the route seemingly downhill up to this point. We meet Dick here and continue on or way with our numbers swelled to five.

I'm even feeling good as we climb the long Ashdown Forest climb in style and enjoy the long descent off the other side. But my strength faded with all the short sharp hills we were riding later on in the route. Even though I was eating plenty of energy bars the famous Cas ending of three hills, one small (but still a bastard 10% climb, one medium and then one long caught me out. Mike and I tackled the first two together and I was leading and feeling fine. But the final hill even though not actually that difficult did me in and I was straight off the back of the peloton and winding my way painfully up Beachy Head.

But we finally reached Eastbourne and instead of our usual Harry Ramsden's (closed for re-furb) we got a sandwich lunch and headed to the seafront to enjoy the weather.

We then had the comedy moment when a massive seagull grabbed the sandwich out of Cas's left hand as he was spouting forth on some matter or another to the other old men on the bench (Happy Birthday Rob).

We had decided to only take the train back as far as Gatwick airport and then ride back from there, another 37km ride and my legs were not only dead but starting to stiffen up. I got home okay but as soon as the road turned anywhere more than about 3% upwards I was going rapidly backwards and in pure survival mode.

The weather was superb, 24 degrees C with very little wind and not a cloud in the sky. I was riding sans gloves and lubed up with suncream in my favourite "Gotham City Bikes" top and thinking I looked cool until some cheeky fecker in Eastbourne asked me if I knew Batman.

I enjoy the freedom of not wearing gloves but the only time this became an issue was on the final three climbs when the sweat was pouring off me and I was having trouble gripping the rubber hoods.

Another good day with 165km or 100 miles of riding done.

As for mountain biking; it's three and a half weeks until I'm off to Morzine and my bike is in pieces in the garage. I need to get a Wiggle on to sort that out before I go.

 

 

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all photos and content copyright of Richard Sear 1999 to 2015

 


15th June 2014
Riders: Richard & Greg
Road ride: Brighton & back
Weather: 16°C

My third century in four weeks as I tackle the London to Brighton route again.

An early start sees me leave for Woodmansterne at 6-15 am and with a good tailwind we hit Brighton at 9 a.m. for an English breakfast at the Regency Cafe.

Greg has lost a massive 17 kg (yes kilos) since I last saw him but none of the power and having completed the Dragon ride last weekend he is so strong that I end up drafting him (hanging on really) for most of the 160 km that we cover and setting my fastest time ever for the imperial ton.

Weather is much cooler than previous week's but still a great ride. As we return to Ewell we pass the end of Rocky Lane as about midday to see thousands of riders on the official L2B ride queing up for the lights to change. No idea what time they will eventually make it to Brighton but they still had a long, long day ahead of them.

Loads of roadie clubs out on the road today including Redhill CC, Pearsons and the London Dynamos riding their carbon finery.

 

 

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all photos and content copyright of Richard Sear 1999 to 2015

 


29th June 2014
Riders: Richard, Rob, Terry, Alan, Lee D, Laurent & Cameron
Off road to Brighton
Weather: 18°C

I'm off to Morzine next week for a week's MTB/DH so what better way to prepare for this than a days super xc?

No really, after not riding my MTB since 17th April this was a really good way by spending 7 hours on the MTB.
I was all roadied up though with lycra bib shorts and tight fitting top. Yes okay, it's very jey but ideal for a long ride on a hot day; I couldnt stand the thought of shorts rubbing my legs for that long.

I leave my house shortly before 7 a.m. and ride over to the Bike Beanz cafe to meet theothers and we are off and rolling bang on 7-30 a.m. Picking up Rob at the Mole bridge we head over Ranmore Common and down 'Landrover' which is the first big test for Lee on his CX bike with 35mm tyres. He's shaken but not stirred and we carry on across the Surrey Hills and down Barry Knows Best where he gets incredulous glances from three blokes on their 'all mountain' bikes.

A brief pause for refreshment at Peaslake Stores and we watch the hundreds of riders from a Sportive milling about a refreshment area. But the road isn't for me today and we push on up and over Pitch Hill and then Lee tackles Two headed Dog too.

We eventually make it to Cranleigh and after another quick toilet stop for you know who we hit the Downs Link trail. This is a 20 mile strip of almost dead straight trail that rapidly takes us down to the South Downs Way. But just before Southwater I hear a strange but familiar screeching from my brake. One of the mounting bolts on the front disc has worked loose and fallen off. an emergency fix with a zip tie sorts me out until we get to the Country Park where we have another short brake and I remove a bolt from the rear caliper and fix the front; no more rear braking for me today.

Back on the trail and it feels like hard work as I start to lag behind the others. It takes until we hit the foot of the South Downs for me to relaise that the front brake is now dragging and the wheel only rotates half way around when spun. But we are almost there and I leave it as it is as we drag our tiring limbs up the aptly named Fulking Hill. Over the top and then up to Devils Dyke to watch the hang-gliders or paragliders (someone explained the difference but I wasn't really listening) and then down the final descent to approach Brighton via the weirdest way I have ever experineced; all grotty council estates and mattresses in the front garden.

The Regency Cafe was busy so we dropped into the Harvester on Madeira Drive which had niceley placed outside tables only to discover that all the draft beer, lager and even cider was off and they only had warm bottled beer. But the food was quick, tasty and cheap and we then headed onto the All Bar One at the Pavilion for a pint before battling our way home on the train (damn delays, cancellations and engineering works).

Apologies to whoever had the misfortune of standing next to me on the train as I realised that I forgotten to put my deodorant on this morning so I was conscious that I stank of stale sweat, dirt and the cow shit that had spattered up my shins as we headed along the South Downs Way.

To top it all I also passed the 6,000 km mark for the year: another great ride.

 

 

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all photos and content copyright of Richard Sear 1999 to 2015


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all photos and content copyright of Richard Sear 1999 to 2015

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click to view click to view click to view Steve Neill Big Trev Orange Dave dialled bikes pewter headtube badge Dave and Dave outside LOMAC Dave on Summer Lightning A grinning Trevor Steve (again) Davebus and Neill on Stane Street Jason next to Denbie's vineyard Trevor struggles up the climb Dave followed by Jason on Stane Street Banstead Downs singletrack It was getting dark by the time I got back Richard (that's me!) Surrey Hills logo at the top of Coombe hill Gary dicing with the cars through New Malden Stag party Gary's Giant SCR 2008 model  A cheerful looking Gary part way round Richmond Park speed limits for cyclists! Kingston Gate, Richmond Park view off the side of Headley Heath Bianchi K-Vid carbon forks self-portrait whilst climbing between second and third hairpin on the Zig Zag Road, Box Hill Dave and Mat, the folly, Reigate Hill urban riding, Richard in Ashtead High Street a bit underexposed but a nice shot of the view from the North Downs Way Richard dropping in on Colley Hill No, not the Mediterranean, this is outside LOMAC, Ashtead High Street Richard showing off for the camera Mat and Richard, Stane Street Richard, Headley Heath Mat on Headley Heath Gary with our 'rabbit' in the distance Gary in the dusk Richard Gary chasing the yellow 'rabbit' in the distance Cas Cas Richard 'self-portrait'