(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.

Group Riding.

I nice 100KMs clocked up this week, that takes me to 500.2KM this year. Am happy about that – feeling good on the bike already, the legs haven’t completely forgotten everything it seems.

Training for last years Ridelondon was pretty hard work. It takes a lot of effort to drag yourself out each week and cover the distance as a solo rider. I spent many many hours just me and the bike, going over similar routes in all weather just to get the time in the saddle so I could cover the distance. Its so easy to find excuses to cheat on the distance or time you have done, or make yourself “go up that hill again”.

It is much better to try and find people to ride with. Having a group of riders gives you a load of benefits.

  • You get some protection against the traffic.
  • It is a great motivator to get out. (you don’t want to be the one to no show).
  • You learn skills to ride safely in a big group.
  • You get to find the best coffee/cake stops

Typical club activities are shown in this video.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=sLMRJqSkjgE width=”320″ height=”180″]

New 2014 Route is posted.

News this week – The 2014 Ridelondon 100 route has been posted. A few subtle changes, but the main bulk of the route is pretty much the same as last year.
The course takes in the 3 climbs of Newlands Corner / Leith Hill and Box Hill as well as the sneaky one in Wimbledon near the end (save some legs for that one people)

The changes are:

  • Out of Leatherhead there is a cross country route to Esher via Oxshott (rather than the main road) which should be a nicer route.
  • Some changes around Kingston on the way back, routing through the town centre.
A few changes at Kingston and Oxshott

A few changes at Kingston and Oxshott

New route available for Garmin devices here….