The extended Bank Holiday weekend gave several members of the Lewes Wanderers Cycling club the opportunity to spurn the usual domestic rituals and obligations in favour of bike related diversions.
The action started on the Saturday with the running of the Sussex CA event based around Loxwood. The course is an eclectic mixture of narrow country lanes interspersed with technical twisting sections and hair raising plummeting descents. The sting in the tail is the cruel steep climb near the end of the ride, which tests riders resolve to the limits. Nick Dwyer (23:02), Matt Coombs (24:07), and Peter Baker (25:10) scooped the team prize for the best team of three on the day. Peter’s performance was remarkable as the week before he had successfully completed the Paris-Brest-Paris Audax event. Peter covered the 1230 km in a fast time of sixty-five hours, a truly legendary performance. Peter later stated that in his thirty years of cycling that this was by far his greatest achievement and the event that he has enjoyed the most. Other times for the ten were Michael Turner 25:32 and your correspondent 26:49. The event was won by ex Lewes rider Felix English (Science in Sport) who smashed the existing course record in an incredible time of 21:46. Felix will shortly be competing in the World Championships where he is representing Ireland.
The following day four Wanderers rode in the VTTA Wessex 25 around the fast Bognor circuit. Young Tom Baker, no doubt inspired by his father’s heroic performance, sliced two minutes off his previous PB to record a time some twelve seconds over the hour. Peter could be forgiven if he had elected to put his feet up for the day but elected to ride and was some five seconds behind Tom. Jamie Lowden crossed the line in an impressive 57:29.
Away from the rigours of time trialling a large group of thirty riders gathered en masse to ride in the club’s annual jolly out to Box Hill near Dorking. This is the second time the club has run this extended club run and has become a popular event on the calendar. After a forty-five mile journey the riders faced the climb up to Box Hill, which forms part of the Olympic road circuit for 2012. Breaking off for the obligatory tea stop gave the Wanderers a chance to mingle with the large number of cyclist from other clubs before setting home, via breathtaking vistas, to complete a tiring but memorable eighty five mile round trip.
Some team members possibly strained domestic harmony to breaking point as they ventured back out to Loxwood on the Bank Holiday Monday to take part in the SCA 25 event, which retraced the 10 routes for two and a half circuits. In a mirror of Saturday’s result Lewes captured the team prize with Jamie Lowden (59:51), Duncan Fuller (1:01:54) and Peter Baker (1:03:53) featuring on the honours board. Felix English had another stunning ride and underlined his international class by winning the event in a stupendously fast time of 54:44. Adrian Hills rode in the rather esoteric Hub Gear event where rider’s bikes have gear restrictions imposed, not an ideal situation considering the sporting nature of this tough course. Adrian rode well and recorded a respectable time of 1:22:36.
Next Sunday sees the running of the Kent 12 Hour event. Three Wanderers appear on the start sheet including the powerful Tom Glandfield, the omnipresent Peter Baker and your correspondent. The battle for team honours looks to be fierce with three teams, including the Wanderers, in with a fighting chance of grabbing the Bray shield for the best team of three.
More details can be found on the club’s web site at www.leweswanderes.co.uk