Group 1 report, by Ride Captain Steve 'Flash' Jackson
A whisk is a cooking utensil used in food preparation to blend ingredients smooth, or to incorporate air into a mixture, in a process known as whisking or whipping. Most whisks consist of a long, narrow handle with a series of wire loops joined at the end. The wires are usually metal, but some are plastic for use with non-stick cookware. Whisks are also made from bamboo.
But in Group 1 we had two forms of a whipping, the first coming in the shape of Ironman David "the Whisk" Sidgwick who was freshly (way too fresh) back from some "man of iron" event in the US of A!!
You could not confuse him with bamboo whisk! His whip came in the shape of our fast pace setting to Brighton and back. No complaint from our strong Group as David is what you would call a XL "Rouleur" which you could compare to riding behind a large wooden gate! This of course makes a change from the missing in action Ride Captain Blann, which you could also compare to riding behind a gate, but a 1-inch high metal gate that's been left open...
Our second beating came from that lovely wind! Nothing to add other than to say "it makes you stronger...!"
So our Group of merry men all rode well, with the added knowledge of knowing that you don't drop that wheel in front and to fight hard, hang in out of the wind and keep the fast tempo. We did lose a few on the way, (no names!) but Ian from Sigma did post on twitter "that was the hardest ride" he has ever been on and was "in bed by 8PM!" And he is no slouch on the road.
But as someone was in a good mood? We did wait after all the big climbs, except for Jimmy (skin beast) as he was hanging and made the excuse of a puncture, just before Box so he could orchestrate a quick rest...we did not wait (of course) but the Group did slow down 2km before the end so Pete his loyal domisiqiue and he could get back on...;-) don't worry guys he is not doing the event so wont hold us up!
Group 1 is now riding smooth and we have one last ride before the big event so new rules have been added.
The first rule of Group 1 is that you don't talk about Group 1.
The second rule of Group 1 is that you do sing in Group 1.
The third rule of Group 1 is that if you do sing you pay a fine and then ride at the front for 20 minutes.
The fourth rule of Group 1 is if you can't ride at the front for 20 minutes without dropping the pace you clean my BIKE!! And buy the whole group a coffee! ;-)
See you next time enjoy the rest.
Group 2 report, by Ride Captain Will Watt
The Pearson 150 makes a welcome return to the Sportive calendar for its second year, and again Will and Guy Pearson gave us the opportunity to participate as part of our training build up for The L2P in just 4.5 weeks time.
The event helps to raise money for the Royal Marsden, which provided invaluable care to the great Roger Pearson (4th generation to run the business) in his battle with cancer.
There is nothing quite like a run from London to the play ground of the south coast and back again, and the 150 km route was better than ever with improved road markers, increased marshalling and an additional feed stop.
A check of the cyclist's best friend, the BBC weather site, made for some interesting reading; 27mph winds and heavy rain showers. Flash and I rode the 15km to the Royal Marsden and enjoyed the pleasure of these elements, but by the time we arrived to catch up with our Groups and sign on, the rain had passed and it would be the last time we would see it that day. That wind would however be quite a different matter!
Our friends in Group 2 arrived well prepared with fresh legs, and some dialled bikes to shake out in preparation for our trip to the Gaelic capital; a beautiful new pair Mavic R Sys SLRs were spotted and set our Mavic loving Ride Captains drooling! We rolled out from Sutton with the Bull at the helm keeping us all to a strict Group 2 pace. Despite the rules for the day, both Bull and I wanted to keep our group together for as long as we could, barring any mechanicals and some fun and games within reach of the finish.
Despite Surrey County Councils creative road surface maintenance, our run to the foot of Ditchling was smooth with great rider discipline within the Group, and plenty of banter.
At 60km, the climb to the top of Ditchling muted the conversation as we all dug deep. The amazing views to the coast were also joined by that 27mph cross wind as we prepared ourselves for the real challenge of the day, the fast descent down to the Lewes Road and then Brighton sea front. With my beloved deep sections and 65kg, I did my best to just keep my bike on the ground. Rumour has it that even Big Murph in Group 5 allowed the wind to show him the hedgerow in more detail than he would have perhaps chosen.
All those who started in Group 2 arrived together at the welcome feed stop on Dyke Road; credit to the Pearson Cycles team for a great spread, I will second Captain's acknowledgement of a great jam roll. As we headed back over the exposed South Downs the cross winds continued to play with us, but everybody held their lines and kept together as the rolling hills to Rusper started to test tired legs.
The consensus was that the cakes were so good that it would have been rude not to enjoy the second feed stop in Rusper, so that we did to give us the fuel for the final push to the North Downs.
At the foot of Little Switzerland and within 25km of the finish, The Bull uttered those words immortalised by Scott Sunderland; 'let's put the hammer down'. So, in reach of home, the pace started to wind up as we set the marker for our own yellow section.
With a few beans spilt, we pushed through Epsom Downs and headed back to Royal Marsden for goodie bags and massages with the fantastic TheTriTouch team.
Big thank you to Will and Guy and all of their team for a great, and well organised event.
Group 3 report, by Ride Captains David Kirkby & Mike Attenborough
The longest and toughest stage in a tour is known as the Queens stage and has nothing to do with Pricilla Queen of the desert!
The Pearson 150 on Sunday was really tough and all those riders in G3 that rode to Ditchley Beacon together in the buffeting wind and sharp climbs are definitely fine for G3 come London-Paris. The Ride Captains Capt and Doc rode off the top of Ditchley and to the feed station in the cross wind and our large Group formed smaller groups in the heavy wind.
The feed station provided a welcome relief from the coastal blast and a regroup had the Group well watered and fed by the Pearson's crew (thank you, great jam rolls by the way). Smaller groups of G3 riders headed off back towards Marsden Hospital while we waited for our final few riders to arrive at the feed station and check everyone was ok. So not to plan, we had our Group up the road in smaller groups, new plan, set a solid tempo form a train of riders and regroup most of our riders.
Well we were impressed at how strong this bunch was, as over the next 40 mins we collected passengers on the peloton train.
G3 were riding a very solid pace with our average speed climbing all the time to our target of 27-28km/hr. With 30kms to go, as we rolled through Rusper, not stopping for a break the heat was turned up in the kitchen and the final dig towards home with some gusty tailwinds speeding us on, the long distance and the very difficult conditions had the Group break up a little towards the end of the ride, which we finished right on the average speed. On reflection the Doc and I concluded that the average speed for this ride although achieved would represent a group higher and all G3 riders rode well and looked organised.
We hope all recovered well and ate plenty of food as probably 4000 cal were used (love those jam rolls).
Doc and Capt
Group 4 report, by Ride Captain Rachel P
There were certainly two Group 4's on the road for the Pearson ride. I had a particularly eventful start to the ride when I had to attend to a crash less than 10 miles into the route. I can report that there are no serious injuries to the two riders involved but we did have a bike in a state beyond repair and an obviously distressed rider who's ride ended with a sugary tea at Fanny's Farm whilst Aurelie from TheTriTouch came out to collect her.
Two of the Ride Captains had taken the Group on towards Brighton and the remaining two of us had to put in a Group 1 speed ride to Brighton in order to catch up with our Group.
We found a few stragglers before Ditchling Beacon, which proved to be a long slog. I was feeling it by then and my riders certainly were. With a great effort by all we expected a nice roll over the top! The wind proved to be the biggest challenge of the day and my beautiful Mavic wheels certainly showed me just what can happen when the wind catches them! Once again my girls from Group 4 showed me grit and determination as they battled the conditions and existing strains being made worse by the challenging terrain.
The feed stop in Brighton was well received and a regrouping with a mixture of Group 4 and 5 riders (now with 4 Ride captains) set out towards home. More hills more wind and a hale storm plus a slight de tour by half the Group were but a few of the highlights. The final big climb at Headley, Box Hill was definitely a challenge for all but we had the end in sight.
I heard lot's of advice being given by all the Ride Captains. It was pleasing to know that the riders are taking such an interest in all aspects of their riding and how they can improve. Recovery is important after a ride this demanding. Take care of yourselves and we will see you all fitter and stronger on June 12th for the final Spring Ride.
Group 5 report, by Ride Captain Ian Lobley
The Pearson 150 provided Group 5 riders with a real test to benchmark their fitness and stamina. For many, it was their first ride well over 150km and so in both distance and terrain it was the ideal preparation for the first day of L2P 2011.
As planned, Group 5 rolled out last and was in fact one of the smaller groups. We had not really planned to ride together as one group and soon the frequent hills, road junctions and the presence of dozens of other riders soon meant the group was spread across a few kilometres of road.
The temperature was comfortable and the sun came out from behind the clouds enough to convince most riders that shorts were warm enough - but only just. The strong westerly wind was the dominant weather feature of the day and this provided plenty of challenges - of this, more later.
Sub-groups formed and broke as we headed south, the rolling countryside between the Downs provided a gentle prelude to the main event of the first half - Ditchling Beacon. For Ditchling Virgins the gradient was something of a shock and the way you ride towards the sunlight, thinking it is the top, only to find there is still a third of the climb to go, tested the resilience of many.
The wind was howling across the top of the Beacon as we headed towards Brighton but we all enjoyed the decent and a fast paced ride onto the seafront. The first feeding station was very welcome (and had some excellent cake and nuts) and Group 5 and some Group 4 riders re-grouped and headed back out of Brighton.
The strongest sidewind of the day was experienced as we went over the top of the Downs - we had to lean into the wind from our left - a new experience for many riders. The ride towards the Surrey Hills was steady and without incident. Group 5 riders had the advantage of 'route knowledge' from the last Spring Ride as the route retraced our path through Little Switzerland and Headley Road - everyone coped well with the climbs and we all headed towards Epsom and then the drop into Sutton.
With only one mechanical, no (reported) punctures and all riders coping well with a challenging day, this counted as a very positive step towards L2P 2011 and Group 5 riders will take away plenty of confidence, valuable experience as well as some sore legs.
NOTE TO ALL RIDERS:
The combination of the exceptionally windy conditions on the very undulating course for the Pearson 150 Sportive made for a very difficult ride indeed. While the Ride Captains pushed hard to keep within each of their Group's published speed zone the conditions really made it like being in a Group above. Making it to the feed station just out of Brighton with or very close to your Group is a confirmation that your training is on target and you are in the right Group. If you made it all the way back to the finish with your Ride Captain this was a fantastic effort. We encourage all riders to persist with the Group they started the Sportive in.