08/07/2012: Soggy Sunday Surry Sportive!

Took a trip to Surrey this morning to take part in an Evans Ride-It sportive. Waking at 6am to get ready, it was dark, wet and had already been pouring rain all night so I almost bailed out. I'm glad I didn't as it was a great experience! No Box Hill due to National trust hiring costs, but still a top route with some interesting challenges.

Setting off early from Dorking it was drizzling, but not enough to dampen the mood! The first 15 miles felt great, but the roadside looked like a war zone with dozens of riders succumbing to punctures. The amount of debris washed onto the roads was incredible. Stopping in at the first feed station, one rider had already deflated twice!

I was feeling good at this point and after hitting the High5 feed zone, thought about doing the longer ride. As if to deter me, the heavens immediately opened - hard and heavy! I spied the split for the shorter route and stuck to that instead.

Right after the split the single-track road immediately pitched upwards, eventually bullying me into my lowest gear. I say road, but due to the monster downpour it was more like cycling upstream through white water rapids! A fast flowing two-inch deep river gushing downhill through my wheels. Stomping on the pedals my back wheel began to skip so in the interest of safety I uncleated and walked the last section (or at least that's my excuse).

Afterwards on the fast descent I feathered the brakes trying to keep my speed slightly below insane until my pads disintegrated, leaving me with a stopping distance to rival an ocean liner. With braking now hardly an option I was making excellent time and thankfully avoiding the puncture fairy. Low over the bars, flying downhill, rain splattering my chest, massive grin across my face! Superb!

Back in Dorking I got within a quarter mile of the finish and took a wrong turn! I spent the best part of the next hour negotiating Dorking town with two other lost riders until we got directions using an iPhone (there's an app for that, apparently). All up it was a thoroughly enjoyable ride, the rain adding to the adventure! I can't wait for the next one!

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