August 19, 2019 at 12:55 pm #2024029
Those hoping for a dry sunny day as forecast for the G3 Kentish Thriller ride to Pittlands Lakes were soon to be disappointed. The spots of rain that started at 10.36 soon turned into a torrent of biblical proportions. We went out the usual way to Kemsing and Noah’s Ark (would have been useful later!), then up Seal Chart and past Sevenoaks Prep School where the Circuit of Kent Sportive will start in a couple of weeks time. Following the sportive route, we doubled back to Plaxtol and Dunks Green to climb one of my favourite hills, Roughway. More climbing then took us through Crouch and West Malling. It was after this that the first spots of rain fell, getting harder as we approached Wateringbury. Those who had them stopped to put on rain jackets and we dropped down the hill to Wateringbury, getting wetter and colder by the minute. I decided to jump ship here to look for refuge and stopped under a verandah outside a shop that fortunately sold black bin liners. The others carried on to the refuelling stop, with Simon L puncturing on the way and Jim deciding to keep going straight home.
Loyal domestique Simon P came back to check that I was ok, just in time to see me putting the finishing touches to my emergency black rain jacket. Simon and I started off again, but as the conditions become worse with the low cloud filling the sky, this was not going to be a short shower, and already cold and wet, we decided to seek refuge in the nearest cafe, Tea Pot at Yalding. As we arrived the rain ceased and the sun came out, but we still made time for a coffee or two. Simon’s tracker app showed that the group were still at Pittlands Lakes, no doubt drying off in the sun, so we cut across to join the return route and retraced to meet them. Eschewing the usual return to Plaxtol, we headed for Gover Hill and Ightham Mote, where Claire had to walk to the top, but only because of a puncture. Then it was up Church Lane at Ivy Hatch, down to Kemsing station, and up out of Shoreham and a sprint up Shacklands Lane to Polhill Roundabout. From here it really was ‘downhill all the way’ to GSG. 110Kms, 1300m climbing, 24.5 kph average and a few thrills. My gps seems to have defaulted to hilly mode recently , but I will try and rectify that in the next few weeks.
August 17, 2019 at 8:45 pm #2024022
The girls were joined by Russ, an honorary girl for the day, as he came racing down the A21 towards the ‘G’. I sent him ahead to catch the guys but he couldn’t see where you had turned off Shire Lane, so he joined us. We followed Adam’s route via Downe, Jackass Lane, Layhams Rd before reaching the Ridge and on to Gangers. Unfortunately just before the Ridge Claire W hit a nasty pothole and punctured. Ashley was in the process of helping Claire change the tube when 3 guys stopped wanting to know where the nearest coffee stop was. I sent them to Westerham, but not before one of them helped with the last bit of puncture repair, getting the tyre back on to Claire’s fancy wheeels! I thought that was a fair deal, we told them where coffee was and they helped fix a puncture! Russ also punctured, just as we approached the regular banana stop at Hever Castle. We were soon on our way again, up Ide Hill where Russ raced ahead to use the track pump outside the cafe in Ide Hill. As the rest of us approached the top we noticed Russ was back to using his hand pump to get some more air in the tyre; apparently we had missed a comedy moment where Russ tried to use, what turned out to be a broken track pump, which let all the air out the tyre rather than in it!! Despite my apparent puncture curse we had a good ride on a nice route and still had time for coffee, if slightly later than usual. Thanks all.
August 20, 2019 at 8:31 am #2024033
The G4 ride attracted 6 riders on a cloudy day with the threat of rain.Ian, the group leader for the day, arrived on his mixed weather bike showing belief in the forecast shown on his mobile phone, which predicted rain between 11 and 12. The other riders were Charles, Dave, Chris and Ken and we were joined by Alethia, who had completed an 18 miles run on friday and wanted an easy ride!
Alethia’s wish was not met as Dave was in a frisky mood and the ride out along the Pilgrims Way was run off at about 14 mph average and it was not until we reached Wrotham Heath that we slowed the pace down.
Ian lead the group along through Ryarch and on to Leybourne where we briefly joined the A20 before turning into West Malling and headed back towards Offham and the Spadeworks cafe. It was at this point, 11am actually, that the light drizzle started and we reached the cafe not a moment too soon as the rain really started as we parked our bikes.
The cafe stop was a bit extended to second cups of coffee as we watched the rain get heavier. but by about 12 it eased and we could venture out to dry weather but very wet roads. Dave opened his roll-up rear mud-guard which looked like the perfect accessory for just such a day.
We headed back through Ightham and back onto the Pilgrims Way which was enlivened by the sight of the world war 2 planes from the Biggin Hill airshow flying low overhead. Dave sert a steady lead pace for us all on the way back but his roll-up mudguard did its job but was prone to sudden retractions whenever he hit a bump in the road, i noticed this as it was on his wheel for much of the way back, thanks Dave. Alethia was feeling the long run on the way back and set her own pace but we all finished together at the top of Polhill.
Ride distance: 40 miles.
Average speed: 13.6 mph.
Ride elevation; 3838 ft.
August 17, 2019 at 6:50 pm #2024020
Myself, Andy Mc, John C, Julian S, Simon V, Steve B, Claire C, Claire W, Ashley, Rebecca
With a large showing for the holiday season, and a new member (Rebecca) on board, we split into 2 groups Girls n’Guys.
Considering the amount of rain over the last few days the roads were reasonably dry and debris free which combined with a pretty flat route allowed for a fairly brisk pace from the guys group as we really only had 2 proper bumps to get over, both of which came at the end in the form of Ide and Pole Hill. Some strong stints on the front from Si and Julian, with John also showing some good post ride 100 form on the front as well, although no new max HR today 🙁
A thoroughly enjoyable ride, with us arriving back at Belmondos at 10.50. We did wait for 30mins for the girls to arrive, however they were tormented by the curse of Claire C with 2 punctures, yet apart from that, I believe they had a good ride.
Today’s ride (Guys Group): 43.72 miles, 2h rs 28 mins, 2883ft climbed, avg speed 17.7mph.
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