The Surrey Hills.

Well I could have stayed in and stuffed myself full of Easter Eggs, but I felt that was not going to help my training efforts (I can always do that tomorrow) So I decided to pack some miles under the wheels and try all of the hilly section of the ride London course in a single ride. The weather was looking like it might stay clear and was probably the best opportunity I was going to get.

I ticked over the first 20 miles to pick up the course at West Byfleet, and then the familiar route down to Ripley and onto West Horsley. Then onto the Surrey Hills and Newlands corner. The first climb up and over Newlands corner was not too bad, I managed to get into a nice rhythm and got myself up and over. The lack of traffic was a bonus on Easter Sunday as there is nothing worse than cars screaming past you while you are slogging your way up some hill.

Down the decent on the other side and onto Gomshall, where we turn right and onto the bottom of Leith Hill. (There is a little climb here they don’t tell you about – but there is a chance to rest the legs with a nice run down to the base of Leith Hill.) I drag myself over the leg burning climb that is Leith Hill and down the suicidal descent on the far side back to the A25 (This road is very narrow, has blind corners and very steep sides – so you have nowhere good to crash if you wanted). Turn right at the end … and we are down through Wescott and on to Dorking. North out of Dorking and we turn right for our nasty little detour over the Box Hill circuit.

I flicked the helmet camera on and videoed this little guide for anyone who is interested in what is in store for you.

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After I got off the Box Hill loop, I headed back via Cobham / West Byfleet and immediately got a puncture. (To be honest I was glad of the excuse to stop)
A quick tube change and 10 mins of “pumping” and I was back up and running.

So a total round trip of 70 miles (not too bad) Although the phone ran out of battery before the end of the ride (I am working on a fix for that)

Details of the route here.

Monsoon Riding.

It may have not escaped your notice that spring seems to be hiding at the moment. Still, as the car needed the MOT doing, I got on the bike and cycled into work. Not a bad ride in (although it was a bit cold). Then come lunchtime the “isolated shower” that was forecast came over. Well the so called “isolated shower” was still chucking it down by 6pm. All I can say is the ride home was awful, every pot-hole was full and the road was like a river. When I eventually got home the bike went straight in the garage and I went straight in the shower to warm up. This better not be the normal weather pattern again this year. Time is ticking to get some miles in.

My ride home looked a lot like the Tour of Britain last year.

Cycling or Boating ?

Cycling or Boating ?

Meanwhile, while we are all waiting for spring, please take a look at what Mind are all about and consider sponsoring me.

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Bees and Bikes don’t mix.

Not much training this week, it has been too cold and wet again. I have the usual commutes to work and on the new bike as well. We have had a few breaks in the cloud so my attention has turned to the bees and making sure they are all in good stead during the cold. Regular trips to the apiary at the moment to keep them topped up with sugar (the energy they need to keep themselves going throughout the winter months) Usually this just involves checking the weight of the hive and if it is getting light, add a few blocks of bakers fondant (that white stuff on iced buns) under the roof of the hive. So I decided to combine the cycling with the beekeeping tasks and cycle down to the Apiary to feed them. It was a nice bright evening although a bit cold so the bees should all be asleep. I cut up some fondant ready for the ladies and then realise that I am dressed in Lycra. YELLOW AND BLACK LYCRA !! I must look like some very large bee to them. This is not really going to provide me much protection against a hive of bees.

The Apiary

So the 1st three hives are nice and quiet, just a few cold looking bees who are very welcome for a bit of sugar. The fourth hive, is obviously doing very well as when I pull the lid off, there is an explosion of bees. Obviously pulling the roof off someones house is not going to put them in the best mood. I throw the fondant under the lid and shove the roof back on quickly as I can, but it is too late.

The next scene is of me, making a rapid retreat across the field followed by angry bees. I got a total of 4 stings, which obviously went straight through my cycle clothes. After 100 meters the bees give up and leave me to nurse my wounds. One very painful ride home later and I break out the anti-histamine cream.

Wiltshire Wildcat Sportive.

The wildcat Sportive

The wildcat Sportive

1st big ride of the year, on a freezing cold morning I drag myself out of bed, put the new bike in the back of the car and head down to Salisbury race course for the start of the Wiltshire Wildcat sportive. On a nice warm day this 62 mile ride through the lovely countryside of Wiltshire would be a fantastic idea. As I get out the car, I am starting to think this is not going to be fun. I go to registration and get my rider number, free bag of goodies etc etc. There is a freezing cold easterly wind (obviously Sian Lloyd’s weather machine is malfunctioning again as it is blowing freezing cold exhaust across the countryside – someone needs to have a word.) I set the bike up, and ponce around for 10 mins looking like I am warming up like some professional, and then think, SOD this wind !! and I go get a big warm cup of tea and a doughnut. I finish up my tea and sort of think about getting actually getting ready to start, looking for some evidence the wind is going to die down. I pull up to the start line and who is sitting right in front of me getting ready go? – Olympic Gold medalist, World champion, Tour de France stage winner etc etc Chris Boardman !!. It seems my run of luck with riding with the cycling elite is continuing very nicely thankyou. I follow him out of the start gate and we end up having a really good chat about all sorts of stuff. Chris Boardman is a really great guy, he chats to all the fans and is really passionate about promoting cycling. He must have had his photo taken a 100 times and he signed a ton of T shirts. I saw 2 young kids about 10 years old and they were just over the moon when he signed their cycle jerseys. (The next Bradley Wiggins / Mark Cavendish maybe ?)

Chris Boardman, riding out at the start of the Wiltshire Wildcat. (Note the freezing idiot in black)

Chris Boardman, riding out at the start of the Wiltshire Wildcat. (Note the freezing idiot in black)

Here is the footage of the start of the Wildcat Sportive with Chris Boardman
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I got round the 62 miles in 4 and a half hours with a couple of 10 min food stops, so I was happy about that. The going got really tough later on as the course turns back east, right into Sian Lloyds weather machine’s exhaust. A freezing cold wind in your face is not nice on a bike as its like pedaling uphill all the time (I did make it a bit easier on myself by finding a rather portly gentleman and sitting on his wheel for 15 miles. If you are interested in the route / cycling stats they are here.

Still it was a great day out, and a good training ride for the 1st one of the year. Next one is a few weeks time.

Both of these people have medals. One is Olympic Gold the other is a "Cycling Weekly Sportive completion medal" Can you work out who ?

Both of these people have medals. One is Olympic Gold the other is a “Cycling Weekly Sportive completion medal” Can you work out who ?