Last Sunday the East Sussex Cycling Association promoted their first time trial of the season, the ESCA Hardriders event, ably run by Peter Moon of the Eastbourne Rovers Cycling Club, attracting a class field of 90 riders.
The nomenclature of Hardriders encapsulates the essence of the ride: it does what it says on the tin, it is hard! The brutish, technical and hilly course pushes riders to their limits with its heady mixture of lung bursting climbs interlaced with twisty technical sections through bucolic lanes. The capricious nature of the British climate was reflected by the fact that this year’s blazing sunshine was in polar extreme to the conditions from last year where waist high snowdrifts lined parts of the course!
After a fast start riders reach the five-mile point with a mixture of fear and apprehension as they near the first tough climb of the day up the cruelly but appropriately named “Agony Hill”.
What follows in an tortuous grovel up to Woods Corner; hereafter the agony of climbing is replaced by raw terror induced by a jaw clenching descent which sees cyclists plummeting into the swirling valley at breakneck speeds with twitchy hands balancing the need for safety over speed as fingers hover close to brakes hoods as speeds touch 50mph. The welcome respite of gravity-powered propulsion is replaced by more toil as riders inch their way up some deceptively tough inclines to Three Cups Corner before heading towards Rushlake Green. After this section riders are rewarded for their investment of pain as they push on at incredible speeds over the final stretch to reach the welcome sanctuary of the finishing line, all but spent from the severe examination that the course has inflicted.
Tom Glandfield was the top Lewes representative whose time of 38:35 placed him fifth in the overall classification, a splendid achievement in the face of some stiff competition. Tamar Vanderhaas celebrated her first ride for the Lewes team by sweeping to a magnificent victory in the Ladies competition completing the course in a fast time of 45:48. Peter Baker continued his extended run of success in this competition by grabbing the 55-59 age group award posting a fast time of 45:14. The final prize winner on the day was John Mankelow who won the plus sixty five age group prize with a time of 50:01. Special mention should be extended to Paget Cohen who posted a commendable time of 48:16 on this his first venture into an Open Time Trial. Overall winner was Pete Tadros of In Gear (36.01).
More information of all club activities and events can be found at www.leweswanderers.co.uk