www.dadswell.co.uk  Mostly cycling records, mostly on three wheels

It seemed like such a good idea ……                  Mar 2001       Back to Rides in 2001

... several weeks ago.  But today, it was raining.

At 0930 today, we should have been powering away from the start line, astride a tandem tricycle.  But the weather was awful, so we decided to delay the record attempt.  Unfortunately, the heavy shower then stopped, so we made our way to the start.  At 0933, we were despatched into the murk.

The timekeeper was Don Glover, and I was teamed up with Marina Bloom (Crawley Wheelers) to see how we coped with the 99 miles of Surrey and Sussex which is the Purley to Eastbourne and back.  To establish a new Southern Road Records Association record we needed to beat 5 hours.  This might not sound much, but it's a tough old course.  And I'm not in very good shape.  But at least Marina is.

We had started from Blindley Heath, about 11 miles south of the northern turn.  So we climbed and descended the North Downs and were fortunate to be 2 minutes up on schedule at Purley.  The schedule was for 4 hours 55 minutes, so we had five more minutes to play with.  The return section was quite grim at times, but we eventually got back to the start point with a three minute advantage.

A few miles later at East Grinstead, we had to change the front wheel, and hence handed back some of our advantage.  After Forest Row, we were climbing for a couple of miles, and it was grim.  When we were finally past the Ashdown Forest, we were two minutes late at Nutley.  Fortunately, the terrain is much easier as you pass Uckfield, and we clawed the deficit back, despite battling against a fairly stiff breeze (but no rain).  At the end of The Dicker, we were 4 minutes up.

After negotiating roadworks at Polegate, there were then a few lumps and bumps before the run in to Eastbourne.  We were back at a 2 minute advantage when our turn was witnessed by Mike Hayler and Charles Robson, but we were moving into a tail wind situation.

After the Boship roundabout, we started back along The Dicker with a 5 minute cushion on the schedule.  I was getting a bit tired, and we were a bit erratic for a few miles.  By Uckfield, we were just 6 minutes up, despite a reasonable amount of wind assistance.

By Nutley, the advantage was 8 minutes, but we had some serious climbing ahead of us.  It was bottom gear for a good five minutes, as we crept towards Wych Cross.  But when we got there, the speed just went crazy as we flashed down into Forest Row.  And then, just as we'd got used to moving well, there was another mile of uphill before East Grinstead.

With 5 miles left, we still had 8 minutes.  We found a couple more in the last segment, to finally record 4h 45m 20s.

This was our longest tandem ride to date, and has confirmed that we are capable of working together.  We have a few longer rides planned for later this year, so (subject to me getting some proper training in) you can expect more messages like this one!


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