Wednesday, 19 May 2010

KOTDs Preride!

Myself and Mike spent yesterday in the saddle riding the route for Sunday, what a great day it was. We set off from Gatwick at 9.30am and after a couple of miles skirting around the airport, were in the countryside. The whole ride is two loops and the first (Half ride) is basically a warm up section, 5 hills and a warm down back to the start. This does mean that on the way out you are heading for the North Downs and you keep catching glimpses of those hills through the trees!

The first hill comes up about 11 miles in and sets the scene for the next 3 climbs with only Box Hill and its switchbacks differing in style. After all the hills there are some fantastically fast descents, we hit just over 45mph on one of them, but please be careful of approaching cars, hairpins and rough patches of tarmac. Non of these were a problem for me. A small speed bump on the flat however was my Nemesis. I think a combination of being out of the saddle, hands over the bake hoods, on a peddle stroke and not expecting a speed hump caused me to slip off the bars and slide along the tarmac. I hit Mike with my head as well!!

White line is my pedal, black line is my knee.

Isn't bartape and skin brilliant!

Box Hill

Half way up Box Hill, how considerate.

The top of Bow Hill

We arrived back at Gatwick in a time of 2 hours 50 minutes, which pleased me as I'd spent the last 5 miles or so holding mike up by refusing to cycle as fast as him. An advantage of having the route on the MM Adventurer unit and being the only one knowing where we were going!

A breather at Gatwick and the off to do the second loop. Now I know this loop, it's a bit like worlds strongest man where they lift barrels onto podiums starting with the easiest first and ending with the biggest. Tulleys Hill is a constant but ultimately easy hill, followed by the climb up to Ashdown Forrest. Then come the last three. The wall is a straight road and gets its name due to looking like a wall of tarmac from the bottom!

The Wall

There is then a fantastic descent and a rest before Yorks Hill comes into view. Now, last year we had a timed section on this hill, this year we dont. This is due to not wanting to upset the locals. They already have enough cyclists riding this iconic hill every weekend and I didn't want to cause more disruption with stopping and starting 1000 riders on it! The Hill itself starts off easy but just ramps up and up until it spits you out at the top where we conveniently have a drink station and a rest!

Then on to the last hill of the event, Titsey. What can I say, just a slog to the top and the satisfaction that there is no more!! I mean that as well, after the final descent with a dodgy hairpin, which will be signposted, it's a flat run back to the finish. Over the last 8 miles Mike tore my legs off. We averaged 16mph with most straight bits at 20 and topping out at 26 on the flat - after 107miles!! I just hung on to his back wheel with grim determination and when he stood up to sprint, with gritted teeth. ( Not literally!)

The carpark at Gatwick was a welcome sight and as I collapsed on the floor, heart thumping and face covered in sweat and salt, Mike, as ever, was still smiling and a mentioned that he'd missed the start of his time trial.

It's a hard, but ultimately satisfying day in the saddle. Beautiful scenery, big hills and fast descents. It's not easy, but then we've never billed it as a bimble on the country lanes.

Good luck and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.



Patrick said...

Really glad I'm just doing the Western Loop, thanks for the heads up about the speed bump!

The Ride It! Team said...

Thing was it's only a slightlump across the road you can only see it if you squint!!

More of a culmination of all of the above.