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4 Rides 3 Weekends

4 Rides 3 Weekends

Taking the opportunity to ride when you can in different places is always a winner. In this story I managed to help a friend to move house and ride back home, do a local re-invented Audax, support and ride a charity ride, and tick of this month’s RrTY #5 with a TT thrown in at the beginning for good measure. 

Story and photos by Rupert Robinson

Milton Keynes to Hurstpierpoint - Pt. 1

Core Bike 2024 which is held at Whittlebury Hall, near Silverstone is a show for people that work in the cycle industry. It draws a great crowd and allows distributors to showcase their items to the shops. I had helped Gilly move some stuff into his new house in Sheffield from Sussex and he was due there on Sunday morning. This gave me the opportunity to ride back as he had picked me up with my bike. Route planned, just over 200km, and submitted for RrTY #4 and off I went. I’d made the route extend West to avoid London and hoped the weather would be kind for me as there had been a lot of rain lately. Opting to ride the GTD with mudguards was a great choice as it was so wet at the beginning down the back lanes. Not knowing the area provided to be a little tricky when I came across a river that had burst its banks within the first 45 minutes. Normally if I can see the exit point I ‘might’ risk it but this time there was no chance as there was a fast-flowing river at the furthest point I could see and so I had to back track and add a further 10km to the route.

Milton Keynes to Hurstpierpoint - Pt. 2

Eventually I got back onto the route and headed South towards Thame, Marlow, Bracknell, Farnborough and Chiddingfold. I was now in familiar territory with 40km to go. Surely, I’m nearer home than this? I’d wanted the ride to be over 200km and it dawned on me now that I wasn’t going the most direct route back to where I was staying and this became a little annoying. Note to self – add the extra on at the beginning! What I did manage to do was arrive back at just after 6pm when it was getting dark but thereabouts on the timings, I thought I’d be able to do. A decent route on some new roads. Winner!

Total for this one ended up being 213km - Core Bike to Hurst | road ride | Komoot

The Winter Warmer 100 km Audax - Part 1

The following weekend I had entered a local Audax run by Bob, the chairman of Brighton Excelsior. It had been mentioned to me at the new year’s day time trial that club offers and I wanted to show some support for a local event that hadn’t been run in a few years. To my amazement there were 150 riders signed on and it felt like a sportive of old rather than 30-40 people embarking on the normal Audax. Good numbers but I felt we were going to annoy some drivers on the smaller roads. Luckily, I had hooked up with local rider Jez Shotter who dragged me along ahead of the pack, so we missed a lot of the bunching up getting to checkpoints before most riders did. The weather was on and off and we had a good amount of rain in the second half. As with most of these calendar events they are not easy and are often lumpy as part of the ‘fun’.

The Winter Warmer 100 km Audax - Part 2

The roads can be challenging when on back lanes and hills. The route took us north towards the downs via Billingshurst with the turn point around Ewhurst after the biggest climb of the day. West towards Rusper and the through the back off Horsham/Roffey and looping round towards the start/finish. Just over 4.5 hours was the official finishing time but with the ride to and from to Dial Post it made the ride around 125km.

Route here - Winter Warmer Audax | Ride | Strava

The Doddie Ride - Part 1

I saw on the Crawley Wheelers Facebook Group that someone from the Doddie Ride had been in touch to see if we could accompany the ride from Groombridge to Lewes Rugby Club as part of their ride across to Rome. What an amazing cause and opportunity! I offered my help, and a plan was hatched for a few of us to ride up from Lewes meet them and guide them home for the night. Here’s the link to donations and some further info (doddiesgrandslam.com)

Following the successes of the DoddieCup 555 in 2023, Rob Wainwright has set the biggest fundraising challenge yet with All Roads Lead to Rome to 2024, in aid of My Name’5 Doddie Foundation.

The Dodd1e’5 Gr4nd S7am Team has been brought together using experienced Doddie Cup riders along with new riders. Roger Bairs (ex-Scotland Rugby and British Lions) , along with co-captains Ian Barr (ex-SRU President) and Rob Boyns (D555 elite squad), head up the team. The 20-plus-strong team is from Scotland, Wales, England, Northern Ireland and South Africa, and we will feature many guest riders along the route.

The All Roads Lead to Rome challenge allows teams to be creative on how they will get to Rome. The Dodd1e’5 Gr4nd S7ammers will visit all 6 Nation Stadiums, kicking off at Murrayfield on 28th February, visiting Dublin, Cardiff, Twickenham, and Paris before the final whistle on 8 March in Rome.

The Doddie Ride - Part 2

Our Team members are representing not only those players affected by MND in the Rugby community but also those players across all sports, along with our friends and families affected by this ravaging disease. The My Name’5 Doddie Foundation has made huge progress in recent years in the research and a cure for MND, always relying heavily on fundraising efforts from all of us.

During the day, the timings and meeting place changed, and we were told to meet the leading group at Crowborough Rugby Club for around 20.30 and then it would be about 35kms or so back. We turned up ahead of time luckily enough arriving at the new meet point at 20.00 when the van rolled up and 4 riders got out. The way this was working from what we gathered is there was always 4 riders riding and the were 4 groups so not on the bike all the time.

The Doddie Ride - Part 3

That was good as the temperature had dropped and they started in Cardiff that morning so that would have been an effort to ride that distance in the time allowed. There was three of us and 4 of them. We were waiting for another couple of Wheelers but due to the time change they hadn’t quite got there so we had to leave without them as they wanted to crack on. Our fellow Wheelers eventually caught us up.

We quickly heading south with lots of bants and the kms rolled by easily. It was definitely night-time riding now and it became apparent that you needed good lights to see the pot holes on the back lanes. The way we went to Lewes was out of the back of Crowborough and towards Buxted, Etchingwood and to Halland. Here we go onto a busier straighter road and hit the Broyle into Ringmer and then Lewes. We were trucking along as a little group towards the end goal and once we crested over the A27 out the back end of Lewes we were greeted to a Scottish piper playing us into the rugby club. Proper goose pimples!

95.5 km for this one - Doddie Ride | Ride | Strava

Ride Round The Year #5 - Part 1

On Sunday morning following Saturday nights Doddie ride I had entered a road bike 25 Time Trial. I knew it wasn’t probably the best preparation getting in at half 10 before being up at 6am but as mentioned opportunities and all that. Lucky or unlucky for me I was first man off which meant I could get the race out of the way and take a loop back and get the Randonneur round the year ride #5 for the month early doors. Ideal!

However, it was much colder than expected and leaving home at 6.30 to ride to the HQ 30km away proved to be somewhat Baltic. Arriving with minimal time to sign on and ride to the start, I was told the course had now been shortened to 31km due to some roadworks near the finishing climb and was also setting off 30 minutes later for the roads to thaw out a little.

Ride Round The Year #5 - Part 2

A small breather, I was a little relieved as I was close with the timings but cooling down and then riding a descent to the start certainly woke me up again. The TT went well, and I was under the hour as I’d thought I could do for this time of the year. After finishing the TT I headed north towards Crawley/Rusper and Horsham before taking the route southwest down to the coast via Billingshurst, East Dean to Chichester. There were a few little stinkers in regard to climbs on some new roads, but the weather had warmed up and was bright. There was still a good deal of flooding around and some roads were showing the washed about debris.

Once reaching Chichester it was flat roads home, hoping for the prevailing wind to push me and along to Lancing and then Brighton.

Strava details for this one - Long Way Back From TT | Ride | Strava

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