Wednesday, 26 May 2010

King of the Downs is Michael Pumphrey

Three Thornton members, Michael & Rachelle Pumphrey and myself took part in one of southern England’s toughest sportives on Sunday 23rd May 2010; which was the hottest day of the year so far. With two routes to choose from 113 or 56 miles; this event is best described as Hell of Ashdown for “Big Boys” in that it is like doing that route twice! Add the heat factor in and this event was a true challenge.

The whole route was undulating most of the time with 10 big climbs and numerous others that they did not count for reasons only known to the organisers. The first and western part of the course took us up Box Hill, which will form part of the Olympic Road Race course and was a great climb with an Alpine feel with hairpins and around 5% grade,;well worth doing if you are in the Dorking area.

The eastern part was tougher and resulted in the third time I had climbed the Wall this year, with 80 miles in and 28 degrees heat the cramp kicked-in big time. Worse was to come with Yorks Hill which was like riding up Lymne Hill for a mile and then went to 33% for the closing 200m. The final climb Titsey Hill was not a lot easier.

Well how did we fair, myself and Michael set off together with another rider ,Austin who met up with us on the Kent Sportive. I was chasing anyone in front down for the first 70 miles then cramp set in big time and I said goodbye to Michael who continued at the same speed we set off at and has what best can be described as Duracell properties in that “he just keeps on going at the same pace”.

Rachelle opted for the shorter route which she seemed remarkably untired at the finish as she kindly got Michael and myself Pasta and drinks as we sat on the floor recovering.

The decision to ride the route was training for the Pyrenean raid, time will tell if it did the job and for Michael it was a warm up for the