Spring Lambs with Grit

9 April 2018 - By James Montgomery

As some were elsewhere up the country relishing the thought of 26.2 miles in the cool and damp condions on Sunday, several members of Witham Running Club were not so boyed up by the conditions and the prospect of cycling 150kms (92 miles) in the said same damp conditions. Particularly as we’d been momentarily fooled by the warm sunshine the day before.

And so it was that Andy Notley, Andy Lager, Lee Pembroke, Lee Blake, Trevor Johnson, Rachel Pearsons and myself lined up at the start of the Essex Roads Spring Lambs Cyclo Sportive at The Brentwood leisure centre in full wet weather gear, with one notable exception as Alex Stuckey had looked out the window and decided “not today thank you”.

Trevor had done the right thing and had bought out his winter bike, within a few miles I think a few us also wished we had the advantage of disc brakes – since riding around the back roads of Essex out towards Harlow and returning via Pleshey, Great leighs, Danbury, Hanningfield and Stock was like rubbing cutting compound on to the chain and rims and anything else that moved on the bike. The grit thrown up off the road was unbelievable.

Many were suffering punctures along the way, I don’t recall seeing so many in a single sportive and Lee Pembroke was the first victim of our group to the dreaded “P” word. Unfortunately it ended his day as he suffered a rare case of the double puncture. Rachel fell victim next and somehow coerced me into getting my hands mucky and changing the tube for her…

Meanwhile Andy and Andy were keen to progress and were soon out of sight of Rachel, Trevor, Lee Blake and myself and so the four of us worked together as group for the next 50 miles making swift progress, until Stock, where it all went wrong. Or rather Trevor and myself did. With one pair thinking the other pair was in front and the other thinking they must be behind, we didn’t meet again until the finish.

The finish times reflected the conditions and “events” of the day, but smiles all round expecially from Lee Blake who had doubled his previous highest distance and Andy Notley also notching up another longest ride.

It was all quite gritty and epic stuff, well done all!

Finish times:

Andy Notley: 5hrs 52mins 34secs – Looked strong and could easily have latched on to a faster group
Andy Lager: 5hrs 55mins 15secs – Just disappeared up the road and into the distance…
Lee Blake: 6hrs 44mins 01secs – Top ride – twice previous best distance
Rachel Pearsons: 6hrs 44mins 06secs – Ironman training well underway.
Trevor Johnson: 6hrs 50-ish mins – No time recorded, but quicker than me as he dropped me at 85 miles.
James Montgomery: 6hrs 51mins 54secs – At least I made it to the start, the finish and everything inbetween!



  1. Colin Short Colin Short says:

    Well done everyone – impressive!

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