Given 2 Distances, the 2nd VC Oyster Sportive opens up to a few more budding cyclists, and with this in mind Tiptree Velo took a squad of riders to compete in both distances and bring home the spoils!!

As there were no prizes on offer, we attempted to eat all the cake (and jolly good they all were too!) and drink all the available tea, coffee, coke and Monster Drink!!

This action was of course after all the action on the road so this is how it went…..

A few hardy souls decided to cycle over to Mersea, the more sensible ones took the easy option, drove, heaters on for the warm up, music to get in the mood and the ability to turn around and go home if the weather looked too bad!!

A bit chilly to start but it soon warmed up, Abdu, Steve H, Trix, Nairo, Steve, brother-in-law of Steve H (to be known as SBILOSH), Alan and John B took on the longer route, The Dadds decided on the 39m route avoiding North Hill. Helena and Steve put in a good ride averaging just under 16mph without a stop. ‘No cake or coffee’ I hear you shout, yes the excitement of a fast time pushed them on and they decided to try and consume the spread VC Oyster had out at the finish before we returned!

The long distance brigade pushed on, plenty of banter going on, John B got over excited and sprinted for the 30mph sign at the top of Peldon hill, that would be his downfall at the latter stages of the ride! Around the back of Messing, we got in with a few others, the group strung out as the pace went up to 20 mph+, at Inworth a small select group formed but decided it would be better to wait and regroup at there was still 40 miles to go. At the foot of North Hill with just 2 miles to go until the refreshments stop, SBILOSH punctured (2nd time in 2 outings) unknown to everyone as he was picking daisies out the back. Steve H went back to look for him and they repaired said inner tube failure. Meanwhile, up front, John B, in the big ring had crept off the front in a bid for North Hill glory. With Abdu in hot pursuit, followed by Trix, Nairo and Alan, there was nothing the chasing group could do and the old boy was victorious although not by much!

After cold drinks and cake and with the group all together again, the final 30 miles beckoned but with the rest of North Hill followed by a quick decent into Woodham Walter where Abdu fought off Steve H to take all 3 village signs (no lies like last years ‘Bidongate’ affair) it was always going to be tough. As the group got together on the Langford Road, it was clear that there was a strong group and as we turned into Mayploe Road up to Wickham Bishops, the final split occured and Steve H, John B, Abdu and Trix pushed on alone. The work was shared along the Peldon Road but as the group crossed the Strood with 3″ of water slowing them down, the road went slightly up hill and John B suffered his earlier antic and was blown out the back. Abdu led the remaining 3 up the hill and across the island where he was set upon by his co-riders who sprinted for the line!

No one knows who crossed the line first, photos were inconclusive, did Steve do the honourable thing and allow Trix (in training for her Tour of Cambridge ride) to win or was she just too strong as she had put in no effort during the whole ride..

Who knows, the Jury is out……..

A great ride, well signposted, good food and drink at the half way point and the finish and all for a tenner, cant be bad! Try it next year, we’ll be back!

Chappeau VC Oyster