King of the South Downs sportive-Sunday 1st June

If you're getting into longer distance cycling this is certainly a ride to pencil in your diaries for next year. Stunning route and brilliantly organised by Evans cycles ; it sets off from their headquarters in Crawley and you have a single loop 55m or double 110m choice , with an opt out clause half way if not feeling good or too slow to make the 2nd lap cut off time of 12 noon.

Its worth paying the entry as you get a good map (not needed cause well signed), goodybag and breakfast and pasta lunch and food stations x 3 ( if your a real porker!!) Slimsters , Kim and I just had the post ride pasta!

A very hilly course so best on a road bike , 2 bottles if you drink a lot and take some gels!

The highlight for me was my first ever roadbike climb up the lush smooth tarmac that is Box Hill. (only ever done the off road version).This was of course the Olympics route hence the tarmac , but well worth a visit. I did this at race pace tucked in neatly and determinedly ( and typically!) behind a bloke of similar age on a tt bike absolutely nailing it up hill!! We still managed to chat along the lines of " bloody hell , youve got calves like my hubbies- like those cured hams you see hanging from the ceiling in French Boulangeries!!!!"- it had obviously been identified before coz he didnt flinch much!- I then released him from the pain of having me clinging on at the hill  top and waited ( thats a lie!!) slightly....slowed down for Kim who caught up and had had an equally joyous climb up the winding tarmac , though possibly not quite such a good view!!!???

There were assorted cyclists we caught up with and rode with over the 55m route , significantly "The Green arsed Hulk" and "Pink stick" who clung to his rear (and rear tyre) and did very little peddling!!!(not that this annoyed me at all!) , the "3 young Cadence Freaks" and the 6 fit blokes I rode with for the last 10m ( probs much to their annoyance too) and the wobbly skinny bloke in black n white who was more intent on pointing out irrelivant holes than cycling in a straight line.My advice being keep your hands on the bars and cycle straight as he nearly knocked his very lovely "friend in white" off at one point.( sticky was also "pants"at climbing hills- just a word of warning to all you blokes out there getting tooooo skinny!!)

We were very glad to have pushed the pace over 55m and to not be taking off for another lap. I crossed the finish in just over 3hrs with a very pleasant young cyclist who was recovering his confidance from a bad crash a few months before.

Kim finished shortly after with an equally "pleasant to the eye" and chatty (and young!) cyclist.

Pencil it in the diary for next year!

Ps very hill and beautiful scenery - could have talked about this more but its far more interesting analysing other cyclists!! We averaged +17m/h so a good pace. Dont let that put you off though , coz it "wasnt a race" you know!!