Thursday, 31 December 2009

NYE 2009 - I Would Ride 9000miles

2009 had been an eventful year, my first season as a sponsored rider, lots of great rides and exciting races, more podiums than I dared hope for and many hours in the saddle and riding with good friends. I also clocked my largest MTB mileage for a year, at just over 9000miles, a total I would complete on the end of year New Year's Eve 2009 celebration ride with my friends. 

I can't wait for 2010 now. :-)

Happy times on the Downs - Spinning up one of the many hills between us and lunch 
Yes, it's still uphill, how can this be so?

Almost the top now...

With parnters, wives and girlfriends permissions gained we set out on New Year's Eve morning for a ride to the pub, the pub being 25miles away with a couple of good hills in between. Heading out over the Downs it was soon clear who had been having an "off season" and who had kept the miles going, but we plugged on, smiles all around, with the exception of Jon, who was clearly cold but who refused to blame his kit (comprising of denim and cotton t-shirts!))

Jon, who we at least managed to foist a jacket onto!
Me and Lea, quite excited about the food's arrival

Once the hills and downs ridge were dispensed with, and slightly later than planned, we arrived at the pub in Firle just in time to beg some food before they stopped serving and all that remained was to drink as much beer and eat as much fod as we could as quickly as possible, to try and make it back before dark. Oops! This was all supposed to be done and dusted by mid afternoon after a quick, early lunch.

Good food, good friends, GOOD TIMES!
After lunch we had no choice but to head up the ruthless Firle Bostal road. Having just eaten a pub meal and with a few beers sloshing in our stomachs we managed to exercise self control for about 30seconds before the race was on. Ouch. Not a happy feeling in side one's tummy, but smiles all around as gamesmanship and manoeuvring were the order of the day.
Post lunch formation hill climbing - That's pro-peloton that is
Crash dissected, all regrouped and ready to start again

Once back on top we opted for the scenic way home, along the clifftops from Newhaven to top off what had been a grand day out, a few chaotic moments on the helter skelter off the tops and through town and we reached the old fort where a few pseudo-tirals moves were pulled and soon abandoned

As we rolled through Newhaven's salubrious industrial estates next to the port, my 9000th mile for 2009 ticked over. A total not uncommon among the most committed CTC tourers & Audax riders, but as those were almost all MTB miles I was pretty chuffed. It's certainly my largest 12month mileage to date and I'll be scheduling more again next year. We paused for a group photo to celebrate and I was presented with a plaque (or L plate found in the gutter marked up with a pen Rory had in his pocket) to mark my "achievement"
9000miles and still smiling :-)
Unfortunately the beer soon wore off and the reality of riding home along the cliff tops into a headwind after a long day out hit home. It didn't dampen our enthusiasm, just our legs though and we span on with big grins all round. Eventually we realised that we wouldn't beat sunset so we dropped onto the undercliff path and were rewarded with a flat concrete track back to the centre of town, the sound of crashing waves and the odd spray from the biggest waves as the hit the sea defences to our left.
Spinning along the clifftops - Hilly!

The final leg - Ahhhhh....... and relax.
What a great way to end a year, good friends and a day out on the Downs on our bikes. May 2010 bring more of the same and if it does I'll be a very lucky rider indeed.

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