The G5's were led on one of Johnny Mac’s specials to Petworth commencing with a delightful, flat warmup ride through Charlwood and Rusper. This was my first ride with the group for a while and I was intrigued to find out how they manage to maintain such a high average speed. By the end I found the answer but by then my legs were run more ragged than I’d expected. To be fair I had given them a fair old bashing this week with race training on Tuesday night, the TT on Wednesday and then an Over the Hill Gang ride on Thursday. Just getting my excuses in early!. I love the route to Petworth though today we did it in reverse to the one I normally do, travelling through Kirdford and Balls Cross before climbing up into Petworth. There was a welcome respite that became doubly so when we had our first puncture and then second outside Forest Green. Coincidently we found ourselves outside Redhill Cottage and I hope the owner was not too upset finding so many cyclists resting their backsides on his verge.
The usual crowd was in attendance, Steve D and Dave E doing most of the work on the front with Johnny Mac doing a good impression of a sheepdog! We were joined by Mark who’s race only joined the club three weeks ago having come back to cycling after 20 years away. For someone to only have been been in the saddle for six months he showed impressive strength and stamina so chapeau to you Mark and welcome to RCC. Martin B and Charl joined us for a good part of the ride. Good to see Mr B losing the pounds and gaining the miles, impressive work sir.
With the early loop it was about 40 miles to Petworth House and coffee was most welcome, made even better by the good lady on reception who suggested, quite against the rules apparently, that we take our drinks outside and make use of the tables and chairs outside the main house entrance.
Our return was puncture free though Lottie managed to drop a bottle on one bumpy fast descent. We took a parallel eastern route back home that has quite a decent climb along Kingspit Lane to Foxhill. Its about 0.7 miles long with a maximum gradient of 9% or so. Coming soon after coffee it was a testing heart starter.
So how does the group maintain its high average speed? Much credit must go to the aforementioned Steve D and Dave E for their hard work on the front that drives the group at a fairly constant pace. It’s not lung rasping but the effort is steady keeping the variation in speed down and the average up. I was also pleased to see that the group is riding well together and keeping a much smaller footprint on the road. OK there were some lapses from time to time but well done guys, keep the good work up.
I peeled off at Capel for Dorking but the ride stats were 75 miles at an average of 18.6 mph and approx 3,000 ft of climbing.