Monday, 28 May 2012
KOTD has become a hidden gem of a ride (see last post) and although there are supposedly 10 climbs I would argue that it's at least 13. I'll be a little controversial here and say there are two types of rider on the day. real cyclists and wheel-sucking bandits. I have never seen so many groups riding with so few people taking a turn on the front. I regularly found myself with a long tail of riders, when they finally overtook me they invariably slowed me down. Having had that moan I have to say it is one of hardest, yet enjoyable, days on the bike around. I thought I would start with the numbers because the rest of the story of this ride is pure emotion. 10,000+ calories burned. According to Garmin but given the amount of flapjack, gels, malt loaf, peanut butter sandwiches and energy drink I consumed but still felt empty, I can well believe it. 115 miles; they say 113, the last 20 miles from the official final climb felt neverending. This wansn't helped by a smiley face sign saying 'no more hills' only to be confronted by at least one really sharp little hill. I was asked by a South African chap if were had gone the wrong way when the third feed station just didn't seem to arrive. Although we were given maps I have opted for Johnson and Johnson Trueeye contact lenses and adidas Evil Eye Half rim pro sunglasses (Sorry chaps). I paid for it thought as I couldn't read the map with the CLs in as they were single vision. Luckily I didn't veer off course. Max speed 45mph: doesn't sound fast but you can bet your life it was on a twisty tree-lined descent. There were a few fallers too. Max heart rate was 174, for me that's on the limit. Ride time 7hrs 23mins: It felt like more. I did stop, so my official time will have another ten minutes on it. Perhaps I should have stopped a little more. As I approached the first feed station I swallowed a fly and spent five minutes choking so i'll claim at least five of those back. 9,000ft of climbing: I managed to stay seated for the first 8 climbs, but (Paul take note) I had no choice to get out of the saddle for the last two. I really thought I was going to have to get off and walk at one point when a 4x4 came down a tiny lane at one of steepest part of York's Hill. If I had I wouldn't have been alone, There were walkers everywhere. I certainly missed the last two low gears on my old Pearson bike. But it was a hard day. From around 90 miles my lower back and neck were really beginning to ache (I had spent Saturday decorating so I blamed that). After the final climb the un-numbered hills brought on bit of cramp and the power was really dropping off. I would be fibbing to say I wasn't wishing for it to end. As ever the memory rewrites feeling and I am enjoying that post-event euphoria, wearing my cycling jersey tanlines with pride and waiting for the next big event. (I'll post some phots if there are any of me from the event photographer.)
Tuesday, 22 May 2012
In a fit of pique some weeks ago I put my name forward for the King of the North Downs. This is an epic Sunday in late May covering 115 miles of South East countryside and every hill the organiser could muster. The South East is pretty flat but with 9,000ft of climbing this ride is not for the faint hearted.
Wednesday, 16 May 2012
I spent all of last week painting. I had taken a week's holiday specifically for that purpose but assumed I'd get out on the bike at some point, but it wasn't to be. As it turned out the weather was shocking and I had seven rooms, two landings and 11 doors and doorframes to paint. By the weekend I was beginning to succumb to the paint fumes and go snow blind (everything was brilliant white). I had noticed the previous week that Box Hill had been resurfaced. Although I had passed by it was still being worked on for the Olympics so I had to wait to actually get the tarmac under my wheels. Now given a chance to get out on the bike this was the place to go. It was a superb sunny Sunday morning so I got out nice and early hoping to miss the crowds of cycists now to be found on the Olympic route. It was so early that the mist hadn't quite risen out of Mole Valley as I crossed Ranmore for the ascent. The recent poor weather has hampered the road resurfacing and the Italian women's cycling team travelled to the UK in vain to ride the hill. They arrived only to be sent away by the road menders. But for the rest of us it was worth the wait, the new surface is fantastic. As smooth as a baby's bum and free of potholes and speed bumps. As I climbed the Scalextric-like zig zags I could almost see the mist rising with me. Sadly as I reached the summit I caught the mist up and everything became shrouded in a white blanket.