Much as everyone liked my picture of Lyndon adjusting his brakes readers have asked what the race was like, so here is a report.
The best way to describe the start of the Evans Ride It event is very rearly. There has to be a pretty good reason to set the alarm for 0500 on a Sunday morning and the King of the North Downs was to prove worth it.
It was a truly beautiful early summer morning with the faintest nip in the air. Once the sun rose it was like a full-on summer's day.
Before hand Lyndon. Nigel and I had agreed to set off at 0630 so we were ready and waiting by the start, with a sea of others.
Afetr a few mobile phone calls I arranged to meet Lyndon and Nigel just beyond the start line and we were off.
The opening Western Loop of the KOTND start slowly with a gentle amble through the Sussex, then Surrey countryside. This brings the riders out to the base of Leith Hill where the climbing can start in earnest (451ft climbing in 2.1 miles). Clearly some of the riders were keen to get going and many of those flying past early on were soon overtaken. Lyndon, Nigel and I took this climb in our stride with the biggest problem being the noise from Lyndon's grumbling derailleur. A superfast descent, approaching 40 mph, down Leith brought us onto the slow drag of Pitch Hill (559ft climbing in 2.1 miles). This marked the deepest countryside part of the ride, once the top is reached the route starts the drop into Albury through some very countryfied lanes verging on off-road in places. The food station proved timely for Nigel who discovered a puncture just yards from the stop. At this point we met up with Steve, the husband of former Optician ironman Team member Emma Saville, and agreed to meet again at the top of Box Hill to see their new son. In betweeen were Combe Bottom (422ft climbing in 2 miles), a nice slow climb with a sharp sting in the tail and a scary-fast decline and Ranmore Common West (271ft climbing in 1.5 miles). This was the turning point for many and where I saw my first 'walker'. This was understandable given that many of the riders would be finishing at 56 miles and not attempting the 118miles the Optician team had in mind.
Box Hill (567ft climbing 2.6 miles)came next and proved a bit of a bike jam. Waiting at the top were Emma and baby sone Ben enough to bring a smile to the tiredest cyclist's face ( Ben that is --sorry Emma).Mrs Optician Editor was also there with a selection of food for me as I was not using the events food stations having failed to register for the event.
Dropping off the back of Box Hill proved another quick one which I particularly enjoyed. Not the cleverest idea but I just can't help letting the speed run and stay off the brakes when a good hill comes along, I touched about 43mph before deciding enough was enough.
The run back to Crawley took the riders past at least one other sportive and a couple of 10K runs before the crunch turn. Go for the full distance or head for the start and call it a day at 56miles.
The first two Eastern loop climbs came in quick succession Tulleys Farm (252ft climbing in 1.8 miles) and Weir Wood Reservoir (342ft climbing in 1.3 miles) before the The Wall (406ft climbing in 0.9 miles). This was the point at which many riders must have thought they had bitten off more than they could chew, and they had. Walkers were everywhere as the gradient dragged and climbed and increased a little more.
The views at the top of hill were worth it with Exmoor-like vistas across the Ashdown forest (I think). Next came a long slog with various climbs which didn't even get a mention as hills but were tough climbs nonetheless. The gap to Yorks Hill (394ft climbing in 1.1 miles) seemed never-ending but when it came everyone wished it hadn't. This is a monster of a hill but after 90-odd miles it just seemed impossible. Sheer willpower kept me on the bike but Nigel and Lyndon were off and away. Both protested fatigue but they both showed they were forces on the bike. The feedstation at the top was a lifesaver.
The final section to Titsey - Bec CC Hill Climb (386ft climbing in 0.8 miles) was completed in a noticeably quieter air with thoughts of what the climb would hold dwelling on the riders' minds.
It was indeed as impossibly steep as expected and again it seemed the majority got off and walked while the Optician trio dug in and stayed in the saddle.
There was a distinct peloton feeling to the long downhill run home and a link-up with several other riders created some pretty speedy sessions with riders taking it in turns at the front. Before we knew it the miles had been covered and we said our goodbyes and headed off home.
It had been a good ride and a real achievement on such a hot day. Perhaps next year I'll sign up before the event is sold out and enjoy the goody bag and post-race pizza.
Tuesday, 25 May 2010
I'm not too sure what happened here but my shot of Lyndon and Nigel from the Optician triathlon team taking part in the Evans King of the North Down sportive looks a little French impressionist. This was Lyndon making one of many adjustments to a niggling back derailleur. Later on in the day I would have welcomed as many mech stops as possible.
Sunday was a real scorcher so the 10 climbs and 118-odd miles of the route were tough going. Excellent practice for the Alpe D'Huez but at a little over two miles none of the climbs in the South East of England have anything like the relentless climbing of the Alpe.
Well done to all who took part.
Friday, 21 May 2010
Thursday, 20 May 2010
Welcome Lisa. Here is our newest team members in the team kits. The Rupp + Hubrach trusuit is under there somewhere.To be fair it is still a bit cold for trisuits.
This weekend sees the team heading out on the North Downs for the Evan's King of the North Downs sportive. After a soaking last year I am keeping my fingers crossed for some good weather.
Not too sure how many will be in the group, more importantly how many will stay in the group.
Monday, 10 May 2010
Nigel has won first prize in getting a photograph of himself in the Rupp+Hubrach kit.
After many requests this is all the team have sent in apart from Fee's tomatoes.
I can only think the rain at the weekend has put most of the team mates off from standing outside with a trisuit on. You may have noticed the picture of me is cropped at the waist, say no more.
Tuesday, 4 May 2010
After an eternity waiting for the kit printer to get the logos to stay on the kit ( it's a very high tech kit) the Optician Team trisuit have finally arrived.
All that is left to do now is to get the team to put together their sporting CVs and take some pictures, my middle son took this one so it isn't difficult, of them in their kits. It was a bit chilly for the R+H trisuit so it was quite handy to have the Transitions long sleeve jerseys around to change into.
I also took the oportunity to swicth around on the eyewear front. I have some digitally surfaced Maui Jims on in this shot but I have also been trying out some Sauflon Clariti monthly lenses and shortly some CIBA Vision Night & Day lenses to see if CLs can cope with the rigours of triathlon. This provides a great opportunity to try the Oakley Jawbone Activated by Transitions sunglsses I have in plano.
R+H has promised some R+H lenses in Adidas frames so that is also a combo I am definitely looking forward to.
As soon as the rest of the team make their contribution I can start to publicise the Alpe D'Huez project in Optician and start raising some money fopr Vision Aid Overseas. Watch this space.