The third edition of The Sussex Mystery Tour set off on Saturday 16th of July, with around 100 riders participating. The challenge was huge and so daunting that a few, after looking at the profile and the weather forecast, opted out in the days leading up to the event. The forecast said 30 degrees and we were set to ride 270km off-road across Sussex with 4,700m of climbing.
I was on my new Reilly Gradient T47 gravel, adventure bike so I was feeling good about the climbs and the rolling tracks of The South Downs. I’d only managed a quick 30 minutes on it pre ride, so I was really going to put it through its paces!
As tradition dictates, we set off at 4am from Forest Row and having only completed this ride once before, I was excited for what lay ahead. It was up and down all day with some lovely views of The Downs, but it was tough! The hardest part for me was between the check points at 100km and 200km which was at the hottest part of the day and the terrain was relentless. I was drinking and eating as much as possible to help me along. I was so impressed with the T47 which was just so fast uphill. I passed so many mountain bikers who were finding the hills extra hard going. On the descents I was a bit more cautious. I didn’t have suspension or time to set up tubeless tyres pre ride, so I suffered a few pinch flats. I was super lucky to be in a bunch with guys to help sort my punctures as I didn’t bring enough tubes!!
Towards the end I was in a good group but my puncture patch gave up. My brother Liam gave me his pump and left me with 15km to go. I had to keep pumping up my wheel every few minutes to make it back, I scrubbed off the last 3km off-road section to get to the finish as I couldn’t bear to pump the wheel up again!
I crossed the line at 9pm, 13 hours after starting. All in all, it was a fantastic event and great fun. It was so cool to try the Gradient T47 on The Downs, I was blown away at how weightless it felt on some mega climbs.
Here’s to the next one …..
Stats from my day -
Calories burnt -9,000 est
The SSX Mystery Tour by Josh Reid click here.