GLORIOUS late May weather set the backdrop for a full and action packed weekend of racing for members of the Lewes wanderers Cycling Club.
Many of the elite riders in the team had spent the week on a cycling holiday in France, but the Wanderers illustrated the depth of quality in the squad by still being able to field strong team in the races entered.
The weekend kicked off on Saturday with Nick and Kaye Dwyer heading out to Farnham to compete in the Farnham RC ten. The sun was a blessing, but a stiff headwind on the return leg rather made the conditions far from ideal. Nick put in yet another splendid ride finishing in a time of 20:41, which secured him second spot, trailing behind Richard Prebble by an agonising three-second margin. Kaye completed her ride in a solid time of 29:26.
Sunday saw the real fun begin with Wanderers venturing out to Stenying to enter a bewildering selection of rides over a ten-mile course. Some of the events are devised so that riders are limited to the gears that they are able to employ on their rides. It is a similar principle to those who run the London Marathon encased in a heavy metal diving suit.
Adrian Hills and Simon Yates rode in the bizarrely named ‘Tin can’ event which is run on a Hub Gear. Adrian had a disaster when his chain slipped and jammed some 300 metres from the start, resulting in him having a lonely walk back to the HQ with his bike. Simon had a great ride and secured third place with a time of 28:33, no mean feat on a heavy steel bike featuring three gears.
The next event to set off was the ‘flat bling event’. In this ten miler, riders could race on full TT bikes featuring all the usual time trial accruements. Nick Dwyer had another fabulous ride but was somewhat thwarted in his efforts by getting marooned behind a tractor for a mile of the race. Despite this he posted a rapid 20:32, some 12 seconds behind In-Gear’s Pete Tadros. Mark Paton missed his start which incurred a considerable time penalty which effectively ruled him out of the reckoning on the honours board. Michael Valk (23.22) teamed up with Nick Dwyer and your correspondent (24:26) to capture second team prize behind the In Gear squad.
More great news for Natasha Fuller. Despite suffering a heavy cold Natasha tore around the course to post a fast time of 24:39, rapid enough to lower her own club record by a significant nineteen second margin. Natasha agonisingly missed out on being the top Lady rider by a three second margin, coming home second to Eastbourne Rover’s Emma Richardson.
After their lung bursting and sinew stretching efforts the last thing most riders would wish to do is to relive the pain and agony. Several riders elected to subject their bodies to more torture to ride again in the legendary hilly ten. Promoter Robin Johnson, of Brighton Mitre likes to set riders a challenge. This ride starts off with a flat out sprint of eight miles retracing the start of the flat ten.
This fast start to the race lulls many riders into a false sense of security for the last two miles of the course consists of the brutal climb up to the top of Stennying Bostal. This climb is so steep that some riders have been unable to make it to the top; so to subject your body to this torture requires physical and mental fortitude of the most extreme kind. All the Wanderers who had ridden earlier went to cheer the riders on, for they were all heroes on the day. As a spectator sport, sitting at the top of the Bostal on a glorious May Day, watching the incredible efforts eked from wracked bodies and souls was memorable. It was doubtful if the riders fully appreciated the stunning vistas.
Duncan Fuller was the only Lewes soul brave enough to attempt the ride and he was rewarded for his courage by securing third place in a splendid time of 26:45. The startling news of the day was the Pete Tadros; in the process of winning the event he knocked nearly 30 seconds off the course record in an astonishing time of 23:28.
More details of all club rides and activities can be found at www.leweswanderers.co.uk