This is one of those events which seem to pass folks by – at the fag end of the year when everyone is preoccupied with buying pressies and laying down a good winter coat of fat to be worked off early next month. This was certainly the case with Pete and Alison, particularly the bit about the fag end.
So Alison entered followed a couple of weeks later by an optimistically recovering Pete.
The day was better than last year apparently – it was very cold, with a biting NE wind, but dry at least. Glinting in the low sun, the industrial estate in Peacehaven was doing its level best to look enticing as we set off through the back streets and soon out on to a steady climb on to the Downs proper. It’s a lovely route although Pete was a little at sea, trying to decide what pace to adopt, wondering if pushing it would cause damage to sensitive areas. He opted for low gear, plodding uphill and lolloping down to recover time – pretty much normal for those who regularly have to put up with this behaviour.
There were a couple of wannabee SAS types, carrying 40lb packs, yomping round in preparation for a full SAS stylee jamboree in January. Alison got into the Christmas spirit by seeing how many layers she could squeeze under her new Aldi gilet – answer sufficient to make her look like… well have you ever overstuffed then baked a sausage roll?The St Moritz look was set off with a bobble hat. Making the singlet and flared short bound “club runners” appear to be a different species entirely.
The course took a wicked turn, literally on the return leg from Saltdean – up and up and up. But once up, the down was delightful. Pete came in to the finish tunnel and for the fourth time this year, sprinted past someone who thought that their 135th place was secure. Mine! Overall, 1:33:39 was quite respectable for 3 months minus one day after hernia op.
Alison said that she would be a while and Pete got cold waiting, little suspecting the cat & mouse drama being played out on the Downs. It was nip and tuck with the SAS crew until they apparently failed to follow the (very well signed) route and got lost. Alison was really suffering from low blood sugar and had to run/walk but seized the opportunity and sped ahead. She came, not last and minutes ahead of Britain’s best defence against the forces of tyranny.
Crossing the line – the only thing that bothered her was the fact that the goody bags had run out. Lord preserve them if they had run out of medals!
Pete the Bike