After very little training from all parties involved in this years 10th anniversary ride, Adam L, Adam W, Elliot and Stevie set out on their bikes from The Royal Marsden Hospital in Sutton riding to Brighton on the hottest day of the year.
Knowing that the ride was going to be a hot one, it was decided that with lower than usual numbers and with all riders having previously ridden the route, it would be best to set off earlier in the day, skip any major lunch stop and instead head straight to Brighton.
With Elliot on his new bike, quick progress was being made and things were going very well for the group. Slowly the temperature began to rise though as the sun came out and so a stop at the top of Turners Hill to top up on water bottles and suncream was required. It was 10.30am by this point the earliest that we had ever made it to The Crown Pub with the temperature already at a balmy 30 degrees. Sadly it was too early for the pub to be open! Alas, on we went and with the unusual sound of stomachs starting to rumble (after all we hadn’t had the usual lunch), we all decided to have another impromptu stop in Lindfield to grab a few snacks in the local co-op.
With the heat already getting to us it was yet again a quick break, with all of us now wanting to get to Brighton quickly. The temperature continued to climb and we knew at the back of our minds that we still had to do a lot of climbing ourselves. So we pedalled on to reach the bottom of the infamous Ditchling Beacon.
By this point it was hot, really hot, too hot, with the time telling us that it had just passed midday. The garmin was reading a melty 39 degrees as we began to climb, so it was a very long and hard climb to the top. The temperature eventually peaked at the top of the beacon at 39.4 degrees. This was a very different story to previous years riding, the worst of which required multiple layers of clothing and a cup of tea at the top to warm up. This year however with it being so hot and us all sweating, it was ice creams all round (thanks Paul) before we decided to set off again.
As anyone that’s done the route before, Ditchling Beacon isn’t the final climb. It’s actually a sneaky uphill just after a downill blast and past a golf course which seems to go on forever. By this point you know you’re nearly at the end of the ride though, so in high spirits we all carried on knowing that the luscious downhill into Brighton was calling.
While we tried to enjoy the final descent down towards Brighton pier, we couldn’t fully due to lots of traffic. Passing this we did have the luxury of the police providing us with an entourage on a closed road. It turned out a protest was taking place as we were arriving, which we ended up in the middle of. After we’d battled our way through, we eventually got to the pier to be greeted by Elliot’s family, girlfriend and her family too. Other partners and family had aiming to greet us too, but given the protests and the heat, parking was almost impossible, so they weren’t able to make it in time!
However they did help us to celebrate at our usual pub, Brighton Rocks, where we toasted our 10th anniversary ride, reminisced on rides gone by and all raised a drink to Emma.