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Farewell White Chalk Hills Ultracross

Since 2012 there has been the annual tradition of the stupid cyclocross ride across the South Downs, usually on the Saturday between Christmas and New Year. I missed the middle year but turned up and tried my best all the other years. The first two years I was on borrowed bikes with road pedals and cleats. There are crumpled brevet cards where the stamps ran in the rain in a box somewhere, and a hand painted race number on a bit of cloth. I filmed it in 2012, wrote about 2013 , made a film for 2015 and then wrote about the ride too. I think I even completed the ride twice. Not this year though. Missed out the last climb and found an easy road back to the ride HQ. However keeping with tradition I finished in the dark again. Other traditions were also maintained; riding with the same friends, a ridiculous number of punctures (mainly John, until he went home, then Jim picked up the baton), rear mechs ripped off, beer and chips at half distance, David from Stoemper Bikes came all the way from Belgium with a singlespeed (and bought a spare tub this year, finally learning his lesson about Sussex flint). Thanks to everyone I’ve ridden with over the years – Jo, Biff, John, Jim, George, to name but a few – and for waiting at the tops of hills more often than you should have, but in particular to Mark for organising a beautifully stupidly fun day out on bikes.

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