All decisions made, it’s going to be the Grin Machine. But just before I set out, large drops of rain and then a thunder clap make me pause for thought. I could wait and hope it clears up and head direct to Horsham. However it quickly stopped and I was off, only 10 minutes later than I had wanted to set out. So a race to get to Godalming on time. Hope the jelly has turned back to muscle. After Artington I spot three riders – Heidi, Martin and Peter – the chase is on and the muscles are working fine. The catch is made and we make it in plenty of time. It’s good to see a large crowd and that others have decided that their muscles are working as well, nice to see you Mark, Nick, Chris et al. At 9:09, according to Heidi’s watch, no sigh of our leader – but that is no surprise, Clive times it to 9:10:59 with such regularity that you could set your watch by him. Once he has rolled in and said hello, 10 of us set off for Horsham.
There are two things about the Grin Machine – it is such a joy to ride, just makes you want to ride fast, and leaves me with a great grin on my face. Sorry everyone. Secondly it has a very large hub with the current wheel set. “What’s that?” asked Nick, “It looks like a Sturmey-Archer 3 speed hub gear.” It’s not an electric motor, it’s a PowerTap power metre – measures all sorts of interesting stuff.
The ride to Horsham was brisk and whilst we found many wet roads we managed either by good luck or good judgement to miss the rain and as a few had said that there were leaving us at Horsham, there were no complaints (that I heard) about the speed. I had resolved to have a scone and clotted cream but was seduced by the amazing coffee and walnut cake. Sometimes one’s will-power is not up to much.
A little cold was the verdict on leaving Café in the Park so an extra layer was called for and we headed off. No indecision at the turning in Warninglid this time but Mark kept saying that I was dropping everyone – that’s the Grin Machine for you – it just begs to be ridden fast. At Fulking we had the first glimpse of blue sky and everyone had warmed up. The extra layer was shed and we admired the hills. No Clive, we are not going to climb them today. Instead that gravel path along the River Adur and horrible it was too. Mutterings that the Hummingbird Café at Shoreham airport can be very busy were ignored and our luck was in – it was not, we were served quickly, had a table in the sun but a relatively long wait for our sandwiches to be delivered. There was the usual discussion about the light aircraft. I missed last week’s ride to Lasham – seems like we are turning into plane spotters. Average speed over the morning of 14.6mph – well within the proscribed limits for the group, if a little faster than usual.
Mark asked for some consideration on the way back, so I tried hard to be accommodating. But Clive reminded us at Adversane that this was the road were we had fun with a couple of riders a few weeks earlier – no time trialling please! Don’t say that Clive, I have this thing about authority, there are times when it just should be ignored. Thank heavens I never made into the Navy as was my childhood dream for I would have be thrown out for insubordination. I gently wound up the pace. And here’s the benefit of the power meter. I have a vague idea of what power I can sustain over a period of time so all I had to do was keep to that power output. The previous time, on the Luxo Cruiser, I set out at too high a power output and could not sustain it. This time I was in control with the data under my nose. As Dane wrote in an email late on Sunday evening: “At tea I guessed that we had averaged 15.5mph from lunch. It turns out that I averaged nearly 15.7mph. Looking at just the section from Wiston (where we turned off the A283) to Wisborough Green, I see that I apparently averaged 17.0mph. You guys were probably at least two tenths of a mile per hour faster as that was the section on which I got dropped.” For the two miles up to where the B2133 splits off, just before Wisborough Green my power meter said we averaged over 21 mph and hit a max of 25. And guess who had latched onto my wheel and was thoroughly enjoying himself being pulled along? Yup – Mark. I could tell without looking that it was him as his freewheel is particularly noisy. And sorry, Peter, when I got to the Café I did have the last shortbread – hope you didn’t want it.
It was the usual route home from Wisborough and the parting of the ways at the appointed junctions. For me, one final burst along the A246 from Clandon and then down The Street in West Horsley. No surprise, I arrived home with a huge grin on my face. And as Dane also wrote, “Not only was that probably the longest Sunday ride this year (at least since I’ve been up to speed to do the rides), it was definitely the fastest Sunday ride that I’ve been on this year.”
Total distance 109.7miles, total climb 6,027ft, average speed 15.17mph. max power output 861 watts (for less than 5 seconds), max power held for 5 seconds 789 watts and for 5 minutes 286 watts. (And if I remember right Wiggo can hold over 400 watts as he climbs those alpine cols – I can barely hold that level for a minute!) As well as the usual plots this is my max power output over time period.
The route can be viewed in detail here: https://www.strava.com/activities/339756953