Club Rides – 1st/2nd February

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    • #2024449

      Alan Else

      Six hardy G3 insomniacs met at the G to ride to the start of the Old Ports Reliability Trial at Knockholt Village Hall, and were passed in the opposite direction by the Avanti group starting the longer route. A quick and easy sign on and we were away down Polhill and along Pilgrims Way to Ightham with Ian and stowaway Toby at the front. A climb up to Ivy Hatch was followed by the lane along the ridge of SealChart to cross River Hill and Gracious Lane. Toby wisely bailed out before descending Bayley’s Hill leaving Claire W, Phil, Sadesh,Ian Alan and Dennis to battle on into the wind towards Chiddingstone for bread pudding and jelly babies. A drag up to Mark Beech, with Toys Hill looming in our minds, but at least the sun broke through to give some respite from the flooded roads. A very wet descent on the main road to Edenbridge took us to Four Elms and a welcome stop at the new cafe in the old garage premises, where an amiable lady was kept very busy on her own serving and cooking our poached eggs, especially when a VCL group arrived two minutes after us. Refuelled and perhaps overweight for the miles to come, we set off for Toys Hill, a climb I have been avoiding since last doing this event. But with larger sprockets and compact chainrings, and a following wind, we all made it to the summit relatively easier than in former years, then after regrouping, dropped down Breasted Chart, along to Sundridge, back up Polhill for more coffee and cake at the finish. All in all a very enjoyable ride in a traditional well organised event. Now I only have to clean the bike yet again.

    • #2024446

      Chris Dines

      Only my second hard ride after 5 months off – and really glad I did it. Great weather and brilliant seeing so many friendly faces at the start.
      I had no intention of doing this at anything other than a pace that made sure I got round, and really appreciated having Graham and Rob for company. Great chatting and enjoying the scenery on what felt like a Spring day. Very windy though – and that section after the Bayleys Hill descent was a bit of a mud bath. The ascent via Black Hill to top of Ashdown is a favourite of mine – love the way the landscape opens up.
      I got a puncture* before Toys Hill, so went up that on my own… a pace that meant my Garmin went to sleep.
      And great organising my the Old Ports club – about 150 participants.

      *And what nightmare to change – tubelss ready rims with tubeless ready tyres (but using inner tubes). Getting the tyre off was hard enough, which was a pre-cursor to a Basil Fawlty like effort at getting it back on.

    • #2024445

      Claire Clarke

      Old Ports RR Sun – a good turnout from the Avanti at Knockholt village hall for the start of the reliability ride. What initially looked like might be a bit of a wet start turned out to be a decent day with the sun even appearing occasionally, and amazingly mild for the start of Feb. A group of us set off just after 9am to do the 100km route and we soon passed the G3 group riding to the start to do the slightly shorter route. My group soon split but I managed to just about hang on to Simon and Peter (a friend of ours from my running days) for the entire route. It’s a rather challenging, but very nice route that takes you out to the top of the Ashdown, all on very familiar roads, a lot of them in our very own KK. The sting in the tail of course is that both the long and short routes finish off up the really nasty side of Toys Hill – I didn’t think it possible to ride so slowly without actually falling off! A very welcome cup of tea and cake back at the village hall where we didn’t realise all the G3 guys were hiding in another room and just saw them as they were leaving! Thanks to the Old Ports for putting on a great event as always, and to my fellow Avanti riding buddies. A tough long ride for this time of year, but excellent training.

    • #2024440

      Neale Napier

      Ha, just seen that Simon posted a writeup for the same group. Oh well, here’s the alternative facts 🙂

      Enough for 2 groups for the Saturday ride. “Starting” in my group were Adam D, Simon V, Iain B, Andy Mc, Tom S and me.
      The omens looked good, the rain had abated, it was mild, what could possibly go wrong? It’s fair to say it was not the best of starts. We made it just over 1 mile before yours truly had a tyre blowout on some unseen glass next to a fly tip (see pic). I walked the short distance to High Elms car as a safe place to inspect the damage. Shortly after, the 2nd group went past and dropped off new member Julian ? who it turned out had a double puncture on the same spot. The pit crew set to work on Julian’s bike with an extra spare tube being required, whilst Simon donated a tyre boot to me to fix the slash in my tyre. After about 30 mins and a little faffing, we were on our way.

      Julian bailed shortly after at Shampamn at Biggin Hill, leaving the original 6. The ride continued on some fairly atrocious, debris strewn roads. It was amazing we had no more punctures really. We could have done with snorkels in a couple of places down Pilgrims Way (see pic). We stopped at some point for fuel where Tom (you had one job) Salter threw his banana skin some distance, only for it to hit a post instead of it’s intended destination. Iain left for home just outside Oxted. We continued to Crockenhill, before saying goodbye to Tom, leaving just 4. It felt like the gameshow The Weakest Link. Andy and I were looking at each other waiting for Anne Robinson to pop up with her famous line. Anyway, she never popped up and we all made it safely to Belmondos for well earned coffees.

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      • #2024444

        Colin Pearson

        Here is the tale of the GS Avanti Saturday ride “slow” group, or as we preferred to call ourselves, Group 2. The group consisted of Nick, Julian S, Julian (new), John C, Alastair W and myself. Many of the group seemed to have an ailment, cold or shoulder injury. Having given the eager fast group a respectable start we set off heading for Downe up past High Elms. Multiple fly tips by the golf course had me commenting we would be lucky to get past all that glass and rubbish without a puncture. I hope that was not a jinx as almost immediately we saw the fast group in the car park grappling with a change. Almost immediately Julian (new) pulled over with a double puncture. On realising this he said he was going to call it a day so we recommended he head back to the car park to join the others for his change as it was safer than on the narrow road. We proceeded as a 5.

        But now the game had changed as we were the lead group, or as we liked to think of ourselves, the “fast” group. Those with ailments seemed to find new life. A strong pace was set into the huge headwind into Biggin Hill until the welcome turn for a tail wind after a careful descent of Tandridge Lane. You could fly along Pilgrims Lane, small lakes aside, and a strong pace was set with all taking turns on the front. Alastair W was beginning to feel the pace as we skirted Sevenoaks and was clearly keen on a banana break. I am sure Nick would have called one if he had asked nicely but to make certain he hit a pot hole and a back wheel puncture had us eating on the outskirts of Dunton Green. A helpful driver (for once) warned us of flooding ahead and indeed there seemed to be a burst water main but fortunately next to a working drain.

        Every time you turned off heading east you were reminded of the head wind so we knew what was coming after Eynsford as we turned onto the Well Hill ascent. A check at the top showed no sign of the not so fast group, as we liked to call them now we knew we were not getting caught, so we knew it was a sprint for victory now at Belmondo’s.

        Great ride in lovely weather for 1st February.

    • #2024439

      Simon Vaughan

      Saturday Group 1 consisted of Adam, Neale, Andy, Tom, Iain and myself. After about 2 minutes our ride came to an abrupt halt after passing some fly tipping on High elms road. Neales tyre had hit something sharp and deflated in a matter of milliseconds which didn’t bode too well. We got off the road and started to Neale got to work. At this point the second group ride by slightly surprised to see us and carried on going. A few minutes later Julian the new joiner came walking back down to us obviously a suffering the same fate as Neale but this time with a double puncture.

      So the race was on to change 3 tubes quick smart. Glass was the culprit and was found fairly easily. So 1 tyre boot, 3 tubes, 2 cans of co2 and a seriously good pumping arm later we were rolling again.

      The game was afoot as the hounds were now behind the hares, turns on the front between myself and Adam saw us to the top of westerham hill but Julian decided to turn for home. Carrying on at a good pace we soon at tandridge hill carefully descending. Through to oxted past some horses and up to pilgrims for a super fast section untimely stopped by a lake in the road. We’d all forgotten scuba gear so rolled through praying to avoid the potholes. Past the scene of this year’s ice section through more puddles and a banana break was called at the junction with chevening road.

      Off through to chipstead, dunton green and towards Shoreham before Iain decided to turn for home. Down to 5.

      Through Eynsford and still no sight of group 2. Up to Crockenhill and a nod from Tom to go on as he was feeling it and was going to head straight home saw us down to 4. With a glint in his eye and a wry smile Adam and I decided to see if we could lose Neale and Andy up well hill. We did but were caught at chelsfield village and the 4 cruised back to Belmondos having failed to catch group 2.

      Great ride and a warning to be careful past fly tipping.

      Thanks all, a thoroughly enjoyable ride.

    • #2024438

      Nick Patow

      Tell your tales here….

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