The Burgess Hill Classic

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Yesterday’s 114km sportive, my 3rd of the year, marked a new milestone in my training calendar. At just 4km longer than the Puncheur a fortnight ago, the Burgess Hill Classic was significantly hillier, with Kidds Hill after 45km and (contrary to what one rider was saying at the first feed station) a draining series of short, steep climbs from about the 80km mark. 

Millsy and I set off briskly. After about 5 minutes my heart rate was up in the 160s where it stayed until the 39km feed station (I really tried to chill out but it didn’t work). About 45 mins in I took off after another rider in a Geneva Investment Group (GIG) jersey on a fast downhill run. Mills remained with the peloton. GIG and I put in a strong leg together before joining the back of a larger group, with whom we rode at a good tempo up Kidds Hill (HR 176) and beyond. The next climb blew our group apart, and I ended up stranded between a faster group and a slower one, playing cat and mouse with some guy wearing Ron Hill tracksters. GIG was toast – I didn’t see him again. 

After the first feed station I should have tried to join another group but ended up solo again. I had a couple of chances to latch onto quick riders, but one duo just blew me away, and another I missed in a moment of minor route confusion at a triangular T-junction. 

In retrospect, a critical stage of the event came at the final feed stop in Ardingly. Earlier, I had mistakenly refilled my bottles with water instead of energy drink, and by 92km I’d finished all fluids and my head was pounding. What I didn’t know when I stopped into the hut for a refill was that I was then in 18th place overall. A decent-sized group must have passed me at that point, although I never saw them. 

Back on the road, I finally caught the wheel of a fast rider who passed me with about 10km to go and together we ripped along to the finish. Final time 4hrs 18, 26th out of 232 – although missing out on Gold by 3 minutes. 

Meanwhile, Millsy had encountered a cruel mechanical banana skin, blowing out the sidewall of his back tyre shortly after Ardingly. This effectively ended his ride, but luckily his Dad drove out to the rescue from Henfield. Unlucky Millsy: based on his splits he was on for a 4:40 finish.


4 Responses to “The Burgess Hill Classic”

  1. Legs, Feeling No Pressure » Recovery notes March 30th, 2009 at 6:02 am

    […] couple of notes to self on recovery. Since the Burgess Hill Classic a fortnight ago, I haven’t felt above 80% on the bike – in terms of my energy levels and leg […]

  2. Burgess Hill Springtime Classic 09 « Ironman365 April 10th, 2009 at 9:06 am

    […] But disaster was to unfold. Half a mile past the checkpoint and my rear tyre made a loud bang before flapping against the rim of my wheel. Simple tube change? If only. The bang had been the puncture tearing through the tyre wall, leaving a two-inch shredded hole; the cruelest of luck. Sadly the mechanic car was at the back of the field some 50mins behind. Race over. Little did I know, but I was in 56th of around 240 riders and on for a 4h40 silver category time. Al – meanwhile – was on his way to 26th and 4h18m. His own write up can be found here. […]

  3. Legs, Feeling No Pressure » Prince’s Gold May 5th, 2009 at 5:29 am

    […] time target by a decent margin, doing 126km in 4hrs 20, the same time as I posted for the 114km Burgess Hill Classic in late March. The BHC was admittedly a lot hillier, and that day I spent a fair amount of time […]

  4. Legs, Feeling No Pressure » Mid-March block March 27th, 2010 at 2:33 pm

    […] good thing is I’ve started to feel the fluidity and turn of speed I started to feel around this time last year, when I rode the Burgess Hill […]

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