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Southdowns Challenge 2011

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1 Southdowns Challenge 2011 on Tue 20 Sep 2011, 02:22


I flew the flag for the club by riding the local sportive, the Southdowns Challenge this weekend. It's a decent 80 mile circuit starting and ending at the D-Day Memorial Hall in Southwick. The highlights are the steady climb up to Ditcham Park School along Newbarn Road and the twisty descent down the otherside, the climb out of Petersfield that a believe has been dubbed 'Little Switzerland' and the final, fast run to the finish incorporating the back-end of the 15 mile TT route and the 10/16km run to the Southwick roundabout.

I rode this route last year and finished in 4 hours 47 minutes, and was using this as a bit of a test to see how I'd progressed over the year and started off at about 9.30. I wanted to get off to a good start so went out pretty hard for the first 15 miles averaging just under 20 before settling down ready to take in the climbs. There were a lot of punctures out there and I passed numerous riders changing tyres, I stopped to lend one poor guy my phone who'd called it a day having already suffered 4 inside the first 25 miles! Luckily the cycling gods were on my side though and things were going pretty well by the time I got to the the first feed zone at about 30 miles and I saw a fellow PNE'er, so hope you had a good ride also!

I pressed on and despite not climbing as well as I'd have liked in some areas things were still going well at the second feed at around 60 miles and I was still on the edge of the gold time. I was ready to push hard and hoped to average about 19/20 through the final sections to make the time. However, about 10 miles from home the rain came down, and it really came down. From Droxford onwards it was like a monsoon, you could barely see up the road and had to concentrate hard on avoiding the deep puddles forming accross the road. At this point all thoughts about time were out the window it was really just a case putting my head down, pedalling and getting back safe and inside soon as possible. I hadn't even looked at my computer since Droxford, mainly because it was so wet I couldn't see the numbers! So when I crossed the line I made straight for the hall to get my coffee and a current bun! I was then very suprised to see I'd finished in 4 hours 12 minutes, 35 minutes faster than last year and making the gold standard time!

I was very happy with this and all in all it was a really good day on the bike. It was a really well organised event with a nicely sign-posted route and good food and coffee at the end so chapeau to the organisers.

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2 Re: Southdowns Challenge 2011 on Tue 20 Sep 2011, 06:44

The other PNE rider was me and I was with the guy who had 4 punctures. He had a double puncture after about 20 miles. One of us was complaining he was hungry so we said we'd meet at the feed. I saw you at the feed, you jumped off your steed, grabbed a banana and zoomed off again. 20 mins later my mate turned up to say he'd had another two and was waiting for a lift to pick him up.

We pushed it to the finish but got a woeful time for the 50 of 3hrs 13. Which was worthy of a merit, even lower than a bronze, this was a shame as our actual time on the road was 2.46. Avg 18.7 which would have given us gold but waiting 1/2 hour put pay to that.

My mate I was riding with said he was riding with you for a bit Andy but on the climb to Buriton you left him for dead.

Luckily we got to the finish before the heavens opened. All in all though a good day out.

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3 Re: Southdowns Challenge 2011 on Tue 20 Sep 2011, 06:56

F*cksticks, I wanted to ride that one but hadn't realised it was this weekend. Perhaps it was for the best being the weekend after the Southern.

Glad you had a good ride guys, despite the weather.

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