Five members of the Lewes Wanderers team headed out to Bethersden on Sunday to take part in the Kent CA 12-hour event, one of the most arduous and testing rides on the time trialling calendar.
The basic tenet of a 12-hour event is brutally simple – riders are set off in one-minute intervals and have to cycle as far as they can in their allocated 12-hour period.
The complex course consists of several interconnected loops, including some deceptively taxing circuits around the marshes at Camber. Although the course is relatively benign the devil of the ride is the wind factor, which sweeps across the marshes and forces riders to battle against nagging headwinds for large stretches of the course.
After a stiff climb up Hamstreet, riders are turned off into the Ivychurch circuit, flat but very exposed. At the finishing circuit, riders completed nine miles loops until they heard the welcome shout from the timekeepers to stop pedalling. The biggest challenge of the day for many riders was to get off their bikes after 12 hours locked into an extreme time trialling position.
For Lewes top rider, Rob Pelham this was to be his first taste of a 12 ride, but his performances in the 100-mile event suggested he had the power and the stamina to do well. He certainly lived up to his reputation and recorded an unconfirmed distance of 267 miles, which looks like placing him at the pointy end of the leader-board, a magnificent achievement on his first attempt at the distance.
Micky Turner, fresh from his long distance ride from London to Edinburgh and back, certainly reaped rewards from his extreme training by covering some 248 miles. Micky was set for the magic 250-mile mark before a last gasp puncture forced him to ride on a deflating tyre for the last 20 minutes of his ride.
Chris Martin had a strong start to his ride covering the first 100 miles on a schedule which would have seen him notch up over 240 miles, but a severe case of cramping forced him to slow down to eventually record a distance around the 228-mile mark.
Sam Ramsey was another newbie to the distance and did well to notch up a distance of 224, a near identical distance to your correspondent, Alan Lloyd, whose final mileage was shortened due to a puncture within the last hour of his ride.
Although these distances are unconfirmed, it appears that Lewes may well have retained the team trophy and broken the club’s 12-hour team record. Two nail-biting decisions await the recorders’ final definitive distances: who will be the third member of the winning team to join Micky and Rob, and will Rob’s distance be enough to break Tom Glandfield’s recently set club record of 267.4 miles.
The club would like to express heartfelt thanks to Esther and Tim Carpenter, along with a massive array of cheerful helpers, who organised this most complex and demanding of events with mind boggling professionalism.
More details of all these rides and other club activities can be found at www.leweswanderers.co.uk
Above: a photo of Rob Pelham taken during Sunday’s Kent CA 12-hour event. Picture by Adrian Hills.