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Eastbourne and Back
22 June
The Old Ports inaugural ride to Eastbourne and back was an unqualified success.

Eleven intrepid riders gathered at Corkscrew - Julian, Michael F, Michael H, Clive O, Steve, Pat, Sanjay, Sonny (Cat 2), Andy, Say and guest Mark. The weather was fine; not too warm and little wind. Julian knew the route (sort of) and we made it safely to the Ashdown where we paused for a short comfort break. The rest of the ride proceeded smoothly except for a couple of unshipped chains by Julian and Michael H. Sanjay was suffering with cramp as we reached Eastbourne but struggled on (like a true Old Port). A cafe hadn't been identified but Mark, who lives down that way, suggested a cafe in Pevensey Bay so we had a short windy ride along the coast to reach it. And a true find it was too - plenty of garden space to put the bikes, friendly staff and decent grub. Fuelled up we made to head back. Mark carried on to St Leonards and home, Steve decided to watch some tennis and Sanjay was suffering more with cramp so decided to catch the train.

Eight riders headed back - banter was a bit less than on the ride down but the pace was decent. At Horam Sonny decided to test his Cat 2 legs and raced on alone so we were now 7. We eschewed Ide Hill and went via Edenbridge and Four Elms where Andy and Say chose Crockham Hill for their return. Five now headed up past Chartwell where Michael F experienced some cramp. However Pat's healing hands and some Tiger Balm helped him and we paused in Westerham where Pat bought us all copious amounts of fluid as we were running low. It started to rain as we headed up Clarks and the pace noticeably slowed. Michael F continued up Clarks so 4 of us raced up Church Hill. Pat and Mike decided to miss the turn to Rag Hill so it was now 2 - Julian and Clive to ride back through Biggin Hill. Pat and Mike caught us on the road so it was a weary and damp 4 who rolled into West Wickham with 120 or so miles under our belts.

Good route, decent weather (for the most part), great cafe, a friendly bunch who stayed together (except when we didn't), no punctures, endurance miles for all - what's not to like? I can see this being a regular fixture in the club calendar and even happening more often.

For myself, I now fancy a 150 miler - anyone want to join me?


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