Isle of Wight Randonnee 2014

Round the Island
IOW Randonnee
Last Sunday was the first testing ride of the year, the Isle of Wight Randonnee. This is a great event run every year by the Wayfarers CTC on the island. Free to enter, and you can show your support by donating to the various schools who provide refreshments at various checkpoints around the island.
You can start at any of the checkpoints and are given a check card which you get stamped on your route round. IOW Checkcard
I started at Yarmouth at about 8:30am after a beans on toast brekkie at the Jireh Guest house where I stayed the night before. (check them out if you are on the Island, a family run very friendly B&B, Gary and Jan are excellent hosts and the cream teas are the business).
The 1st part of the route was very quiet, as most people start in East Cowes. I followed a recumbent cyclist along for the first 8 miles or so playing games on the hills. I go up them quicker on a normal bike but he would come thundering past on the downhills. The weather was perfect, not too hot with blue skies and a bit of high cloud. There are no flat bits on the Isle of Wight, you are either going up or down a hill and some of them are steep. I got round the course in 4 hours 40 mins, 10 mins faster then last time including puffing my way up Niton Hill, chasing a cyclist to the top. I almost got him before the top and was about to congratulate myself but then noticed he had ridden up ahead of me with one leg !!.

Video of the event sums it all up.

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Woking CC – Hill Climb

Oh and as from the date of this posting its……


So last weekend was the Woking CC – Hill climb, A crazy event where we set off at 2min intervals to blast up a local small hill and see who can get up to the top in the fastest time. Its all friendly competition and the only prize is bragging rights. It was a great, well organised event (kudos to the events committee and official timers etc).

I took number 2 (which was the 1st one off) as I saw there were a few fast guys at the end of the list and I didn’t want the embarrassment of them coming past me at high speed…:-)

The trick with these events are not to go off too fast and make sure you have enough in the tank to maintain a reasonable pace all the way up the hill. I gave it all I had and got up in a time of 4 mins 41secs which put me about 2/3rds down the running. I was perfectly happy with that – me being a fat old guy on a bike. I leave the glory to the youngsters. I did try and provoke a bit of banter and intimidation by sporting the “Polka Dot – King of the Mountains” jersey.

I feel I should hand that over to the real mountain men.

This sunday is the first big ride – Round the Isle of Wight.


(Half) The Leith Hill Octopus

Too many legs !!

Too many legs !!

Nothing too mad to report, just a few rides / spins out and about. This weekend I went out for a bit of a challenge. I thought I would have a go at the Leith Hill Octopus. It’s not a long ride on paper and it was looking like a nice day so how hard could it be. This crazy beast of a ride consists of 8 ascents of the highest point in Surrey, from every available route up the hill. I dragged along a fellow idiot from Woking CC. We parked the car at the summit of the hill and cycled down to Dorking swimming baths to the start – a chilling 10km down the hill. The first ascent is straight back up the road we went down, so we turn around and start the demoralising climb straight back up the road we just flew down (this was the start of a familiar theme). After the 1st summit, the route descends down the other side before turning back and straight back up to the top again. Over the far side of the hill, down a different descent, a short left and the left again and back up the hill to the top, back over the other side and down another route – I think you get the idea by now. Although the sun was out, it was freezing under the trees and in the shade, the uphill climbs are enough to get you warm, but the descents are freezing. We did 3 climbs of the hill and stopped for some lunch at a local pub. The gourmet burger was too good to pass up, and we succumbed. The clouds were now building and the temperature was getting very chilly. We were a bit under-dressed for the weather, so we made one more climb up the hill back to the car to call it a day (frozen and cold), having completed half the challenge. I will have to go back another day and have another crack at it.

Next big ride is the “Round the Isle of Wight – Randonee“.

Interesting points to note…

1: You get to know every pothole and inch of road on the route, as ride over everything again and again.
2: I passed the same dead pheasant 8 times.
3: Wearing a polka dot short sleeved jersey may have seemed like a good idea from the forecast but it was freezing.

Half an Octopus

Smashed Legs.

Sun !!! yeah, temperature is up above 15 degrees. On with the shorts and the jersey and I am in the mood to do some further distance. I nice gentle ride is the order of the day, following the 2012 Olympic route. I climbed up and over the downs for a very nice coffee and cake at a very nice coffee shop in Shere. This is where the day goes “wrong”. The coffee shop is full of cyclists (as they are all out with the weather) So to get a seat in the coffee shop garden, I park myself on a table with a group of other cyclists. It turns out they are from Dorking cycling club and are following a route over towards Box Hill. Well as the day was nice, I asked if I could follow along and they readily agreed.

What followed next was two hours of leg smashing hill climbs, up and down everything they could find in the Surrey Hills (a few of the routes I had already covered earlier in the day). I eventually ended up at the top of Box Hill with my legs in a lot worse state. This would not be so bad except I still had a good 40/50km to get home. The ride back was a bit more subdued.
Learning point of this tale is… don’t let your brain overrule your legs.

Up and down a lot

Up and down a lot

Total distance ridden this year is 698.2 km
which puts me about… halfway across Europe.

698km ridden so far this year.

698km ridden so far this year.