Wye Wednesday 200km

Tim Wainwright has sent through his account of his first 200km ride since last summer.

Five WCC auks sneaked out of work on Wednesday to ride Tom Jackson’s Wye Wednesday 200. They were Mark Brooking, John Hopper, Bob Macdonald, Mark Green and yours truly.

The start was only a hour’s drive from my house, but within minutes we were in dense fog on the high ground and into torrential rain ten minutes later. Mark G was rather concerned and asked if we should continue, but the weather forecast had predicted a reasonable day by mid-morning, so we carried on.

There were at least 50 starters, many of the usual faces from this area, plus a few newcomers. I guess most were aiming for PBP qualifying. “Rainlegs” were quite evident on a few riders – well worth the investment for this time of year.Once we had cleared the few hills of the North Downs and well into Kent, the terrain was surprisingly flat, the sun was shining, there were some large puddles to dodge and there were punctures all along the route for some.First control was a garage at 37k, so not worth stopping there apart from filling a borrowed bidon as I’d left mine in the car. Even the windswept Romney Marsh looked attractive in the sunlight.

Next control at 107k was the well-used Hythe Light Railway cafe, bit of a greasy spoon but quite cheap prices. I arrived about midday and got away in about 20 minutes.

Bit of a nagging headwind on the way back turned some areas into a grovel, especially when you’re tired and it’s your first 200 since last August.Next control (167k) was a local store, so a much-needed coffee and a sit-down was out of the question. Had to do with a bottle of water and some flapjack, then drank down a gel (that seemed to get my legs working again).

Turned on the Schmidt about 5.30 and promptly blew the bulb, and after a tremendous fast descent to the M2 Medway crossing I replaced the bulb before it got dark and immediately missed the L over the cyclepath on the bridge. Climbed a long drag through the village of Borstal with Mark chasing me from afar. He didn’t catch me till I’d reached the summit – it it had been flat, he’d overhaul me in about 50 yds.

Most unusal info on the M2 bridge – name the restaurant seen from the view. There it was, a MacDonald’s shining through the murk about a km away.No more mistakes were made following the lanes in the dark and we finished with 217k on the computer at 6.40, making it 11hr 10 min – about an hour quicker than I had originally estimated.

Didn’t see Mark B or John H at the finish, so hope they made it OK.

Next two rides are the Denmead 200 and El Supremo’s from Hailsham (followed by a week in Italy at a super-sounding bike hotel, along with Mark Green and Dennis Falvey). Anyone fancy joining us? Flights from Stansted about £10, hire your carbon bike there.

Tim Wainwright

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