Finally, the three of us riding in the big ride managed to get out together this weekend. And we were heading for the hills!
The Prudential Ride100 route is big on hills. Following the Olympics route, the ride includes the joys of the twin peaks of Box Hill and Leith Hill, Surrey’s highest point. So, that’s what we decided to tackle.
We set out on a lovely sunny Sunday morning and were quickly in Dorking, after which we hit our first big hill up to Westcott. This is a nasty steep hill but, thankfully, over quite soon.
A few miles later, however, we approached the run-up to Leith Hill. The countryside in this area is fantastic, the small country road lined by trees with the sun glinting through. But the hill goes on, and on… and on! And with two extra steep inclines towards the summit, just to make sure you know just how high up you are!
800 feet done, we then whizzed back down the other side. I always find it really frustrating that all of the effort to climb a hill can be undone so quickly on the descent – is this a metaphor?!
Having just about recovered from that climb, we hit the Newlands Corner climb (previous readers of this blog will know just how much I loathe this hill!). So up we went again. At the top, thighs burning, we stopped for a well-earned coffee to survey the view.
Suitably refreshed, we meandered our way across to Polesden and then to the famous Box Hill. Box Hill, the scene of the famous ‘incident’ in Jane Austen’s Emma; Box Hill, the Sunday motorbiker’s destiny of choice; Box Hill, the cyclist’s Olympic challenge!
The climb up the ‘Zig Zags’ of Box Hill, still showing the road graffiti encouraging Team GB’s road race cyclists, is one I always relish. Don’t get me wrong, it is truly horrible! Two miles long and a climb of 700 feet is never fun.
But it is always worth it. Other than the physical challenge, the views at the top are truly outstanding and there’s something very special knowing that you are literally following in the tyre marks of cycling’s greats.
The only downside is the feeling of inadequacy as you are overtaken by super-fit youngsters (I can accept this) and super-fit pensioners (not so easy to accept!). But we did it and I even beat my personal record!
Which left me just a ten-mile ride to my in-laws for a family get-together. Having completed just shy of 50 miles, I felt entirely justified of taking full advantage of the buffet lunch to the max!
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