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My decision to undertake this epic was made months ago, as soon as I heard of the ride. However the final planning and commitment wasn’t made until the night before.
Work is currently a nightmare, life in general is getting too much, I need to slow down and participate in leisure activities with friends; but feel that I don’t have the time to do so! Every time I go out I feel guilty that I’m not doing the things I’ve committed to.
Anyway, back to the ride.
My original plan was to make a proper weekend of it. I was going to leave home about 6am, cycle to Kathy’s home to dump my luggage, and then ride to the official start with that group. As it turned out, I was slightly awoken at 8:30 by my wife leaving for work. I got up about 9am, after a good 9 hours sleep, which was only slightly less than the entire week’s sleep supply up until that point.
The morning was then spent in a panic mode of tidying up and making the Brompton roadworthy. Then it was time to jump in the car and head for Kent. Panic returned soon after I left the M25 when I came across Road Closed sign. Maybe I should have remembered to pack a map? Fortunately one of the diversion signs mentioned Edenbridge and I was back on track. Well, back on track until I found I was leaving Edenbridge and hadn’t found the station I was supposed to be parking in. Turning around I backtracked and found that my memory of the map was flawed. I remembered the road being straight (I’d wondered if it was an old Roman Road) and running through the town centre; in reality they’d changed the road so it bypassed the town.
From the car park it was a simple blast down the main roads in the hope of shortcutting the route and catching the rest of the riders at their lunch stop. I couldn’t believe how slippery the roads were though. On the uphill sections I had to stay sitting and trying to pedal smoothly; as soon as I stood up the back wheel just spun and the bike kicked out sideways. One downhill in particular was particularly hairy as I had a car following, my speed was high, and the road surface was broken and subsiding away towards the hedge. All that was going through my mind was the image of the bike sliding out and me going down in front of that car.
Finally I was at the crossroads that AeroFlash had described to me. This was where I stopped, and although I fully expected the group to still be at lunch I rang him to check. They were there. They were also confused as nobody knew the mobile number I’d called from and the line was too bad for any communication other than “Are you still at the lunch stop” “Yes”.
Confusion for me then reigned soon after I pulled into the pub car park and saw Kathy’s bike with no back wheel. I’d seen her bike, recalled her comment about Tim’s dodgy knee causing them to use their solo bikes, but then I saw their tandem. Mind you, apparently the other riders were confused by “Kathy” and Tim riding the tandem with Kathy looking nothing like her profile picture. The answer for everyone was that Kathy wasn’t Kathy but Kathy had taken her solo bike so Kathy could have a ride on the back of the tandem to make up for her lack of daily mileage. I hope that clears everything up.
Inside the pub it was time for my pint for the day (no more, I was driving back later) and time for me to renew conversations with forummers I hadn’t seen in real life for a little while. Kathy was easy to find as she was mending the puncture.
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