Milder conditions prove to be a false dawn as flooding troubles riders

Mick Kilby
Mick Kilby

After the Arctic blast of the last few weeks’, members of the Lewes Wanderers Cycling Club were relieved to see milder conditions prevail as they set out on the club’s

annual Reliability Trial ride, writes Alan Lloyd.

Organiser Stuart Anderson had devised two testing routes of 35 and 53 miles, which threaded through remote Sussex lanes taking in the tough ascent by Ardingly reservoir to return to Chailey via Partridge Green.

In a reliability event, entrants have to navigate around the set course in a prescribed time, with riders in this instance being offered a choice of three to four hours to complete the course. Under normal circumstances these time scales would not prove to be a problem, but as the cyclists were to find out, these were not normal circumstances.

The milder weather proved to be a false dawn as the rising temperatures conspired to bring about a rapid thaw, which, accompanied by torrential overnight rain, resulted in severe flooding on the course.

The conditions forced riders to dismount at several points to wade through icy water.

The loss in time meant only 21 finishers out of a field of 44 completed the ride in their prescribed times, a telling reflection of the tough conditions on the day. However, all the starters deserve praise for their valiant attempts and thanks must go to Stuart and his team of helpers for promoting such a splendid, if somewhat challenging event.

Last Sunday the Surrey and Sussex Vets group hosted their annual Luncheon and Prize Presentation at Rowfant House near Turners Hill. Lewes riders Peter Baker, Horry Hemsly and your correspondent picked up certificates and medals for their performances over the 2012 season. Nick Dwyer was awarded the Robin Buchanan Memorial Cup for a splendid ride in 25-mile event and, along with Baker and your correspondent, was awarded the Pound Hill trophy for the top team in the 25-mile event. The Wanderers scooped team awards for the 30, 50 and 100 mile distances.

In the 100-mile event, Baker, I and John Mankelow were honoured to be crowned as team winners in the National Event.

Highlight of the afternoon at the Surrey and Sussex Vets’ annual Luncheon and Prize Presentation at Rowfant House near Turners Hill was an honorary award presented to Mick Kilby (above) by Sheila Hardy, Chairman of Cycling Time Trials. Sheila had made the long journey from Birmingham and, after an entertaining speech, sprung a surprise on Mick by awarding him the RTTC Badge of Honour. Mick is widely recognised as one of the most senior and reliable timekeepers in Sussex and members celebrated his success with a rousing reception as he stepped up to collect his prestigious award.