Monday, 9 September 2013

Circuit of Kent - OPCC Club Sportive


Not sure whose idea it was. I think it was Northern Jon who suggested it one night over a beer in the Blackheath Harriers. But after a big turnout from the Old Portlians in the Castle Ride, Sunday’s Circuit of Kent was designated the ‘Club Sportive’ for 2013.

The Circuit of Kent is ideal for this kind of things. At 130kms, (with an 80km option) is challenging enough for the fast boys without being a masochists’ slog fest. It has been up and running for years and I believe has been attributed as being the inspiration for many British Sportives. Run by the Sevenoaks Rotary Club to raise money Macmillan and Hospice in the Weald they have got just about everything right.

Having well stocked feed stations in one thing, but at the Circuit of Kent you can tuck into cheese baguettes, soup and Bakewell tarts at the finish. This is a big plus in my book. I had one particular grim experience on a well know multiday sportive a few years ago. Having rained solidly all day at the finish we were soaked and frozen. All they had were some very pretty, but very small cakes made by the local WI.

Anyway, back to the Club Sportive. The idea was something that would bring the club together, on the start line at least. It was great we had riders for whom this was their first sportive through to road racers. We had guys who have been in the club far longer than they care to remember, and guys who joined this year. In no particular order it was great to see Alan, Dave T, Oz , Kev, Paul C, Say, Peter, Rosie, Iain, Julian,  and Austen there together with friendly fellow travellers Joe McRae and Alex Le Bicycle. It is just a shame that the event clashed with the SCCU 25, or there would have been and even stronger contingent.

Any talk of riding round as a club was clearly only in jest as the fast boys buggers off up the road from the gun. That my friend is the Old Ports way.

I have ridden the event half a dozen times, normally in sunshine. Yesterday did bite back with some cold autumnal rain but we were all counted in by the time it really tipped down. But still a cracking event.

Special mentions for Alan Dock. He is quite new to the sport; more accustomed to the pace of the Saturday club run, but finished the 130kms in a very respectable time. Also, mention to the Iain Hawthorn my 2 up partner. Despite having a 12 hr in his legs from Thursday he was not shirking as we worked together along the lanes. Great ride.