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Interest in the 2014 WHITE CHALK HILLS ULTRACROSS was a little higher than normal – Gavin’s film probably having a lot to do with that – interest in the film not literally translating into entries for the UCX however, but a greater number of postcard entries were received.

Norovirus and other winter ailments decimating the usually buoyant crowd who turned up on the 27 December. Pre-entries, then, not quite translating into actual attendance, but no matter. My own energy levels dipping as I offered the rider briefing (what, no heckling at the back?), and those that made it through, a decent crowd (at least half of those new to the ride), turned up with just the right amount of resolve and determination. It was dry day but the temperature had dropped and the wind was blustering, the landscape at its bleakest best – it wasn’t going to be easy.

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As usual the route had been tinkered with a bit, to a point where, at last, I am finally happy with the way the north scarp is now traversed… no threatening looking men with shotguns this year at least…

Still recovering from my Christmas Day gift, a hefty dose of winter vomiting bug, my bail point came near 5 Lords Burgh to Bo Peep Bostal – a great shame because I was enjoying the ride immensely, though the side of my face was frozen from the prevailing wind – whilst the others battled on into the grey/green.

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I returned to the Belgian Café for 14:30 to find that a good proportion of riders had already made it back, Kris and Shane getting there first and rewarded for their efforts by sharing the two mixed cases of beer from BeerBods – who knew the thing could be finished in the daylight? Jim and Neil followed in not long after, though their ride cut slightly short, then John and a slow trickle of others later joining the party.

Thank you to those who sent me a postcard, and thank you to those who turned out. Thank you Lois, as always, for the brevet cards and special thanks to Simon for his help setting out the stamps, BeerBods for the cases of beer, KinesisUK and LezyneUK for the spot prizes. Grateful thanks to and for hosting us as usual.

The calendar is lightly pencil marked as White Chalk Hills UCX 2015 on 27 December, though that may end up being pushed into early January 2016.

Best wishes for the New Year.

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