With less than a month to go until the big ride, the last two weeks’ training rides have been focused on hill climbs – and dealing with some serious heat!
Trying to fit training in between work and family commitments is tough. which is why last week, two of us went riding instead of cheering Andy Murray in the Wimbledon Final. We set out at 2.00pm in the heat of the sun. It was seriously hot! Despite that, we decided it was time to tackle Leith Hill, the toughest hill on the Ride100 course and the highest point in Surrey.
The ride up is just shy of 2 miles with an ascent of 513 feet, at an average gradient of 12%. We did it 10 miles into our ride and it hurts – a lot! On the day, we’ll reach Leith Hill after 55 miles – gulp.
Having made it to the summit, we were (between gasps) telling ourselves what fun the descent would be. But, no! They have resurfaced the road – not nice smooth fast resurfaced road, but tar and chips, 2 inch deep gravel resurfacing. On a road bike, that is lethal. We actually went slower downhill than we had up the hill!
Frustrated, we decided to add Box Hill to our ride. Box Hill is a great ascent, but not in 30 degree heat. But we did it!
We had proved to ourselves we could do the two biggest hills of the Ride100 route back-to-back and live to tell the story. Just!
This weekend was my birthday so four of us set out for a beautiful 40-miler across the Ashdown Forest to the National Trust’s Sheffield Park & Gardens. It was proper hot but the route was idyllic; beautiful countryside, fast roads and good friends. We had one major hill to tackle three-quarters through, but this felt fine.
The ride really was cycling at its best – and a real treat for my birthday. We met our families at the other end, shared a relaxed picnic, opened some presents and, followed by an amble around the beautiful grounds. A great day!
For the next few weeks, the prescription is healthy food, smaller rides a couple of times a week and prepare myself for the big day! It all feels very real now!
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