Challock (SFA)

Distance: 59.5 miles. Elevation: 2699 ft.

Another ride with the Sunday Intermediates. It was a chilly, misty morning with the promise of sunshine later. As I cycled down into the Vale of Kent on my way to Marden the mist got thicker, enough to get me and the bike wet. My fingers were also cold for the first time since last Winter. The upside was that the misty landscape provided plenty of evocative scenery.

I met the others at Marden as usual. There were seven of us on the ride. As we made our way to Challock Glider Club, the mist gradually cleared and the sun did indeed come out. It turned into a lovely morning. A couple of miles before Challock, the group split to take two different routes. Two of the guys were on fixies and wanted to take a less steep, off-road route. The rest of us took the longer, steeper, on-road route. This caused a bit of confusion in the numbers and when the group I was in arrived at the glider club, we realised that a rider had gone missing (we had become quite stretched out on a steep hill about a mile beforehand). Two of the guys went back to search for him but returned about 20 minutes later empty-handed. Luckily, the missing rider turned up about five minutes after that. So we all sat in the sunshine watching the gliders being launched into the blue sky as we scoffed our grub.

Some Fairies (not today's ride) at the glider club
Some Fairies (not today’s ride) at the glider club

On the way back, I left the group to take a more direct route home, instead of going to Marden. About three miles into my solo journey, I took a wrong turning. I realised that I was heading too far to the South, so I turned around to retrace my steps back to a turn-off I had missed. As I was making my way back, lo and behold, the rest of the group came up the road behind me! I rode with them for another couple of miles and peeled-off again, for a more direct route home. Joking, one of them shouted after me “see you in 5 minutes!”. But they didn’t. This time I didn’t get lost.

I was really flagging over the last few miles. I struggled up Barn Hill, recording one of my slowest times for ages! Maybe it was yesterday’s hilly ride that had worn me out.


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