Show me my world as I love to see it:
A collective gathering, prepared or perhaps not (as the case may have been) to ride the inaugural White Chalk Hills UCX – a concept not lost thankfully. The spark of an idea gently developed into a full scale conflagration which culminated on Sunday 30th December 2012.
We had 25ish riders – a decent turnout, mostly Cyclocross bicycles, some hardy individuals on single speed CX and a few MTB’s. A weather window had blown the rain away and the sun shone intermittently between blustering grey clouds. Marc and me had endeavoured to ride the full route and put out the stamps the day before; rain lashed against our cheeks and the wind blew Marc from his bike 3 times, yet we got all but one stamp out (Windover Hill was impossible to mount as the weather had closed in), and so riders were offered a gratis stamp (a yellow tug boat) for Winchester Pond. I may have put the Long Burgh stamp in the wrong place.
We had pinned Sam’s OS map to the Tri Store window – “watch it here, mind how you go there” “There be beasties along this bit” “smile at the sheep and the dog walkers” etc, etc, and at 09:10 “GO”.
Click, click and riders were off.
For added fun we had placed some self inking stamps at various trig points along the route and recorded the start and finish times of riders for reference. I did say that failure to stamp the card at the check points came with a 3 minute time penalty and not doing the “optional” Bostal climbs and the ‘Info Control’ at the Red Lion Trig point came with a 10 minute penalty – in retrospect I don’t think that was entirely fair and, as there were no rules to begin with, I have decided to change the rules to 5 minutes and 15 minutes respectively (nice round numbers).
I don’t think British Cycling or the UCI will mind if I do this – with that in mind the below table shows the start and finish times of those riders that made it to the Belgian Café and handed back their control cards (I will be returning these to riders in the next few days as keepsakes).
|Name||Start. The Tri Store||1.Friston (red and white poles 8.1 miles)||2.Snap Hill (17.0 miles)||3.Info Control – Red Lion Trig Point (19.6 miles)||4.Firle Bostal (optional) (23.7 miles)||5.Bo Peep (optional) (27.9 miles)||6.Long Burgh (optional) (30.5 miles)||7.Winchester Pond (36.7 miles)||8.Trig Point TQ5700 (39.3 miles)||9.Ringwood Bottom (42.3 miles)||Finish. The Belgian Café (47.1 miles/4758 ft of climbing)||Finish Time|
|Nigel F.||09:10||YES||YES||YES||YES||YES||YES||YES||YES||YES||17:00||7hrs 50mins|
|John (Lemons)||09:10||YES||YES||YES||YES||YES||YES||YES||YES||YES||17:00||7hrs 50mins|
|Kris. F||09:10||YES||YES||YES||YES||YES||YES||YES||YES||YES||15:55||6hrs 45mins|
|Dan. H||09:10||YES||YES||YES||YES||YES||YES||YES||YES||YES||15:55||6hrs 45mins|
|Rob. P||09:10||NON||YES||NON||NON||NON||NON||YES||YES||YES||13:50||5hrs 45mins|
|Simon||09:10||YES||YES||YES||YES||YES||YES||YES||YES||YES||15:30||6hrs 20 mins|
|Andy||09:10||YES||YES||YES||YES||YES||YES||YES||YES||YES||15:30||6hrs 20 mins|
|John (the Plummer)||09:10||YES||YES||YES||YES||YES||YES||YES||YES||NON||15:30||6hrs 25mins|
I took to my car soon after everyone left to do some race chasing – meeting riders at various places to point a camera at them. Our good friend Gavin, massive kudos to him for completing the route (see above) having never ridden a CX bike before, will be editing together footage that he took from a GoPro helmet cam and what pictures I managed to get – he is a talented fellow. Hopefully this will be available in a few weeks.
A spontaneous occurrence from the house hold of Tom – the route happened to go passed his house and riders were invited to take water and have some biscuits from the generosity of Tom’s wife, a friend and what seemed like hundreds of children all keen to see the riders and offer support. Absolutely unexpected and I really can’t find the right words to express my gratitude. The ride was unsupported but there was still space for treats; I found myself at the top of a blustery Firle Bostal handing out Curlywurly’s.
As riders finally arrived back at the Belgian Café; glass of fine Belgian beer in hand and pommes frites, 1000 yard stares, battle weary, coming to terms with the abuse their bodies had just received and colour slowly returning to cheeks. Smiles soon appeared and chatter about the days adventures began – a lifetime of anecdote and stories from a single but epic day in the saddle.
We pulled off something special – riders completed an achingly hard ride in the most robust of gusty winds, but for the most part the rain held off for a day (as I type it is now pissing down again) – Biff said “we have taken cycling futility to a new level”…and I don’t mind that at all.
Thanks to all the riders who turned up, Sam Winter for his invaluable help with the route, Lois May-Miller for her graphic design skills and Marc, Kris, Ady, Matt and Dan for their unequivocal support.