King of the Downs
Myself and Bob Sanders took part in this years King of the Downs on Sunday 22nd May 2011. This is a tough event with some proper climbs with a distance of 113 miles albeit we did 115miles! We left Folkestone early and drove through heavy rain for a 7:00am start. Knowing it was inevitable that we would get a good soaking. Fortunately the rain had stopped when we arrived but the roads were wet.
We set off with Bob leading only to find ourselves back at the start a mile later, having missed the sign at the first roundabout (there were a few with us!) . Back off we went, undeterred, the first real climb was Leath Hill, this had an adverse affect on Bob who was struggling from this point on, which was around 15 miles in to the ride. The cause of his dilemma was blamed on eating too may do-nuts the day before. With Bob unable to hold the pace on the flat, it looked like we were in for either a very short or long day.
We stayed together and rode at a steady pace, a few long climbs came and went. The ride then went up Box Hill which is the planned show piece of the Olympic Road race. This seemed to inspire Bob and he began to increase the pace and recover from this point on. We then caught up with a fast moving group and headed for the half way point. With 50 miles completed and a stop at the feed station, Bob was feeling better and keen to continue. Within 10 miles it was normal service resumed with Bob heading into the head wind. Next into Ashdown Forrest and up the Wall for a third time this year!.
With both of us working well together, we began picking up a number of riders in front of us and dropping all that we swept up. At around 85 miles we hit Yorks Hill, which Bob confirmed is the worst hill he has been up, it makes Lympne Hill look positively easy! A quick feed stop at the top we set off with 20 miles to go. With one final nasty climb tackled, Testy Hill, we pushed for home only to miss a sign with 8 miles to go. Again there were a few who had done the same. Reversing the route we picked up the missing turn and joined a fast moving group to the finish.
With heavy rain now falling, the finish was looming. I stuck in a long stint at the front to represent Thornton; which drove us back to the finish. My time was faster than last year where I went too hard early on, so something to lean then!Robert Sanders 07:04:31 16.3mph
Refuelled by pasta and drinks we agreed this was a good test for the Pyrenean Raid which is now 2 weeks away. Asking Bob if he fancied it next year, his response was probably not! So who was King of the Downs, we will give it to Bob for persevering from Do-Nut poisoning!
The results are below:
Danny Frost 07:04:02 16.3mph