Preparation for the Howler

So I’m looking forward to the Wiggle Haywards Heath Howler sportive in Sussex this Sunday, especially if the weather keeps warming and brightening up!

In preparation for this sportive, as well as a little turbo trainer on weekday mornings, I ventured outside last weekend and did one of my usual local routes, about 46 miles. This is one of my favourite rides and incorporates both Toys Hill and Crockham Hill, both fairly well known within the Kent cycling population for being a bit of a test. The route also has quite a bit of fast flat in it too to make up the time and get the miles ticking over. If there’s interest, I’ll do a specific post detailing the route, please do leave a comment if you’d like to see this kind of thing on the blog.

I had planned to head out about 08:00 on Saturday but the fog put paid to that, so I waited for it to clear a little before going. It made for an atmospheric but not dangerous ride, and actually brightened up as I came through Groombridge heading back towards home. 

On top of making sure I and the bike still worked, one of purposes of the ride was to test out my new saddle, a Charge Knife. It looked good but I just couldn’t get on with the standard saddle (Giant Contact SL) and, after the Kentish Killer, I knew it had to be replaced. I’ve used Charge Spoon saddles on both mountain and road bikes for years (I did LEJOG on one very happily) and have found them supremely comfortable whatever type of riding I’ve been doing, so I thought the Knife would be a good option for the TCR. Lighter (with titanium alloy rails and less padding) but with the same finish and shape as the Spoon, I thought it’d be the perfect choice for this bike. It’s also only £40 depending on where you buy. I got mine from Triton Cycles as they were the only place I could find with a black one in stock and the service was excellent and the postage good (via DPD). Conclusions after the one test ride are that it does feel very similar to the Spoon, but the reduced padding is more noticeable than I thought it’d be. I won’t hold that against it though as, if I was worried about that, I should’ve just bought another Spoon! Overall, very good impressions and it looks to be just as well made as the Spoon so hopefully it’ll last me a good few years too. 

IMAG1175

It looks like I’m all set for Sunday then. I’m looking forward to trying Ditchling Beacon again, as I’ve only ever done that once on the London to Brighton several years ago and it was too packed full of riders to ride up it properly. The rest of the route will be all new to me, so should be fun, will let you know! 

Jack

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