Today was the Sigma Sports South Downs Spring Sportive, starting from the lovely Plumpton Racecourse, just north of Brighton. The weather was looking much better than in previous weeks, with low winds, reasonably warm and a low chance of rain.
I arrived just after 8am and had to park up in the middle of the race circuit before wandering the short distance to the grandstand and meeting up with Andy. I went off to register before we headed off to join the line for starting the ride.
Like last week, Andy and I got a shout-out in the pre-ride safety briefing, which was lovely. The first part of the ride was pretty flat and reasonably easy going with my legs warming up nicely and ready for a long ride.
The first feed stop at 20 miles in soon came and we stopped to top up with water, eat some food (I was getting pretty hungry, despite having breakfast earlier) and have a chat with fellow riders.
The route trundled on as before with some gorgeous countryside, before the first split off to the Epic Route. This immediately went uphill and my front disk brake started squealing like crazy as with riding uphill I was putting more pressure on the front wheel.
After a while trying to work out exactly where the noise was coming from (it was not happening on the flats) I stopped and used my car keys to try and pull the disk callipers apart a bit. This sort of helped but did not fix things that much and the noise and extra effort to get up hills continued – ouch!
As we were coming back out of the hilly Epic section, the BikeFixer.com van drove past and he asked if I was ok. I explained what was wrong and he said he’d pull over in a safe place to look for me. Turned out the brake callipers were slightly out of alignment with the disk and a quick tweak by him fixed the issue. As soon as I got back on my bike I could really feel the difference!
The course was still a bit up and down for a while but gradually settled out to a more flat route and we started to eat the miles up.
The second and final feed stop was at 58 miles and we spent way too long chatting and admiring this gorgeous vintage 1962 bike the mechanic had on show by his van.
As we neared the final Epic Course split, not far from the venue, we noticed the Epic sign had been turned around the wrong way and nearly missed out the last Epic Course extra miles. It was only when we spotted a UK Cycling Events guy nearby that he explained what had happened and said to carry on the Epic Course as normal as all the signs were still out.
We arrived back at the venue with just over 80 miles on the clock and a really good ride with some testing early season climbing in the bag.
Another fabulous sportive from UK Cycling Events and all on roads I’d never cycled before.
Route: click here