South Downs 100 or is it 160?

My season is coming to an end. This is depressing but for the first time ever I have a planned sojourn from riding. Tomorrow I’ll miss the Tuesday ride, next week I am away, I could do Tuesday 5th November but on the 6th I have a hernia operation, six weeks later (the recovery period) it’s skiing at Christmas. I am already hyped about the riding that I’ll be doing in the New Year.

Harting Hill - best descent in Sussex! JP, Jes & Bing
Harting Hill – best descent in Sussex! JP, Jes & Bing

In an attempt to finish on a high I did the South Downs 100 yesterday. I started badly but that was down to a technological error and finished storming much like the weather, again down to technology.

The start was delayed because visibility was down to a metre in the rain storm. When it stopped it was really mild, mild enough to ride in shorts (Endura MTR bibs), Quest Adventure jersey, Pearl Izumi Transfer lite base layer and arm warmers. Who’d believe it was the end of October?

My technological blip was caused, probably by my blindness, to my Garmin changing from metric to statute. I ride on numbers and expect the speed to be over 30kph and the average around 30kph. I was lost. And the first 50 miles was hell. It took so long. The second 80km was easy as those Ks pass so quickly. I changed the settings at a feed station.

As far as I am concerned all measurements in the UK are metric – it is 2013! The only thing that isn’t, bizarrely, is the way that we treat our roads. Drivers use miles per hour (so do time trialists), the rest of cycling uses kilometres per hour. So really I did the South Downs 160.

The next bit of technology was the Zipvit Nitrate Gel. I don’t know whether they do anything other than turn your poo red but on the two long rides that I have done this year (South Downs Way and South Downs 160) my engine was firing on all cylinders, especially on the hills. Just like the South Downs Way, the longer the ride went on the better I felt. I took 3 on Saturday and two before the start. It could be that I’m just good at the longer distances and the gels were like a placebo. I’ll need to do more research. I had 2 regular and 1 caffeine gels on the ride.

South Downs Sportive 2013
Firing on all cylinders. South Downs 100 – Butser Hill

After about 5 hours of blissful and pleasant riding the skies opened and it was like riding through Armageddon. I donned my Pearl Izimi P.R.O. Barrier Lite rain cape, put my head down and swam back to Chichester. My rear light (Lezyne Zecto – recommended) died, it probably wasn’t fully charged, and the Knog Blinder Road 2 (incredible light!) also packed up but it did do 6 hours and I should have turned it down when the low battery warning came on.

All in all it was a great ride with great company. The whole of this route is worth repeating so down load it and do it in sections if the whole thing looks too long. The event was very well organised with excellent signage and marshals at all junctions. There were handfuls of well wishers in some villages and the few idiot drivers didn’t detract from a great day.

Here’s the ride.

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