Shaun took part in the Wiggle Ashdown Sportive in 2015, I sat in the campervan in the warm, drinking tea and reading my book while he did 50 miles around the Ashdown Forest ..... in the cold. When he spotted a new addition to the event he was pretty keen for me to join him, and let's face it in the scheme of the mileage I've got planned, 18 miles is a good chance to fit in a training ride away from our usual routes at home.
The #TeamJordan Charity Ride is in aid of the Great Western Air Ambulance Charity. The air ambulance service was crucial in the survival of a cyclist involved in a freak accident when he was taking part in the Cotswold sportive. The family of Jordan had set up a charity page to raise funds for the service which currently (at the time of writing) stands at £2,307.
I'd been checking the weather forecast all week - it had been a real mix of weather during the week and the last thing I wanted was a wet ride. On Friday night the forecast looked like it was going to be very cold and raining at about 10-10.30am - the ride was due to start at 10! So, big girl pants pulled up, cycling clothing layers ready to go together with a waterproof jacket we were ready to go. I had so many layers on my top half I could barely breathe!
When we arrived at the South East of England Showground at Ardingly there was quite a lot of cyclists getting ready to head out on the 71 and 53 mile rides, not as many as last year presumably a lot had been put off by the forecast. It was actually lovely and sunny, but quite cold, at 8.30. We got changed, headed to registration where we received our free #TeamJordan buff and Powerbar pack and then down on to the start. We weren't supposed to start until 10am but luckily we weren't stopped.
The early part of the course was fairly busy with traffic but it wasn't long until we turned off the main road and onto some lovely country roads. Some were a bit wet from the overnight rain and it was very hilly - far more hilly than I'd been lead to believe - a total elevation of 373 metres (1,223 ft). It was quite technical too, but if you remember that for every lovely downhill there is going to be a horrible uphill section. Unfortunately I totally misjudged one uphill and very soon came to a complete standstill, and ended up walking. There was a well stocked feed station at about 8 miles - I didn't really need to stop apart from having a quick slurp of drink but Shaun wanted to stop for a hot drink and pick up his free gel and a piece of flapjack. One thing you can't fault on these sportives is the feed stations!
I really wanted to finish the ride within 2 hours so we pushed on and about a mile from the finish it started to get cold and then it started to spit with rain. Our unofficial time was 1hr 58, not great but it was within the 2 hours, unlike the official time which added on another 8 minutes!
We collected our medals and free finishers t-shirts plus some other freebies and headed back to Tribby to get changed and more importantly warm.
|Inside Tribby waiting for the heater to get going before we got changed|
Back home we collected up all the freebies - quite a haul I reckon!
|Very proud of my new medal & t-shirt|
|bit of a fraud though - cos you get these for riding 71 and 53 miles|
What's next ? Shaun has decided we're doing the South Downs Spring Sportive again - which was my first sportive in 2014 - it will be interesting to see if/how much I've improved! I've also signed up for the 68 mile Davina Big Sussex Ride in June.
A massive thank you to those who sponsored us for this ride and for all the well wishes from fantastic family and friends. If you fancy adding some pennies to the #TeamJordan page feel free to click on the link above.