Last weekend, one of my friends had got in touch and told me that the Hever Castle Triathlon was on Sunday (http://www.castletriathlonseries.co.uk/) and that he was off to watch it. Hever Castle is right in the middle of my usual training area and to be honest I never gave it a thought as I left on Saturday morning. However as soon as I got close to Chiddingstone Hoath I saw marshalls and plenty of triathletes on bikes riding towards me. In the space of about 1500m I probably passed about 60 riders who were going the other way. I got to my meeting point a bit late and Warren was waiting.
It was a nice morning but it was cold and it was my first ride of the year with Bibtights and my fantastic Gore Phantom Jacket, which is my favourite piece of bike kit. I was sporting my basically brand new (one ride in the spring) DHB Merstons, which are a terrific value mild weather bibtight – so they were perfect for the cool rather than cold conditions.
As we were about to ride off from our meeting point Warren discovered what would turn out to be his first puncture of the day. Changing a tyre is always a hassle and time consuming so this cut into our riding time. We both wanted to be home by about 1pm so the ride distance was shortening by the minute – but these things happen. We set off via Hever through the Triathlon again (this time going the same way and overtaking lots of people, which was fun) uptowards Cowden via Bassetts Lane/Moat Lane. We then rode through to Dormansland and round to Edenbridge (where there always seems to be some idiot in a car who’d be quite happy to run your over).
At this point we knew that we’d have to plan B which was to not ride over to our regular cafe at Brasted as we couldn’t do this loop and be back home for 1pm – so rode from Edenbridge towards Bough Beech and along here Warren had his second puncture of the day. At least they were both front wheel flats which are a bit easier to change than the rear. While Warren was sorting himself out again a South African woman stopped and asked us where Hever Castle was as she’d gotten lost on the Triathlon. In the end we rode with her back to Bough Beech (Warren had turned off before that) where I pointed her down the road to the castle. I think she’d done about twice the distance she was meant to and look tired and a bit emotional – so I didn’t mind riding slowly back with her to get her back to the castle.
After all that excitement I rode back home as fast as I could and missed my 1pm deadline but not by too much. It had been a disjointed but entertaining ride. Although it wasn’t a vintage run, it was still 75km with 850m climbing, which all helps.
Thanks for reading.