I was glad to see the sign post at the top of the climb out of Jevington. 3.5 miles and I could stop. Just 2.5 miles more of side wind buffeting, a steep down hill and then on to the gradually sloping promenade road along Eastbourne seafront. On the top of the downs it was cold, overcast and windy but as I hit the tarmac lower down the sea and Eastbourne glistened in the evening sun like the quintessential seaside town should. Beautiful.
My ride started a good few hours ago at Hassocks, and had taken me along the top of the South Downs, past Jack & Jill, over Ditchling Beacon, through Southease, up Itford Hill, over Firle Beacon, though the picturesque Alfriston, up and down Wilmington and finally though Jevington and up to the top of the downs again.
My total ride distance for the day was 38 miles with 1450 m of ascent. Not quite as far as last weekends ride, but with more climbing. I was pretty pleased. It feels like it was a good few years ago since I had achieved a similar mix of distance and ascent – my longer rides of late have had a number of flat, easy miles at the end to cool down on.
The ground was treacherous in places, with slippery roots and slippery chalk making traction nigh on impossible in a couple of shaded steep climbs – and it caused several ride stopping wheel slips – but no injuries! While for much of the ride I also had a heavy gusting side wind to contend with – cycling leaning sideways into the wind at 75 degrees was the order of the day. Having said that it was a great ride – slow climbs, nice downhills, and no photos of my wind distorted face looking like Woody’s or Buzz’s.