Whilst the majority of the country lay cacooned in a nice warm duvet on a winters morning, there's a unique group of cyclists braving the elements and living by the mantra, 'the weather is only as bad your kit'.
Adhering to Velominati rules #5 and #9, not to mention Ripcor rule #1, a selection of Ripcor’s finest took to the Surrey Hills for what would be a morning of focused hill climbing. With a calendar being increasingly filled with events for the year ahead, school is very much back in session as far as training is concerned and it is clear to see that many members are putting the miles in early doors in order to be well prepared for the season ahead.
Unlike the pro's the majority of us don’t have the pleasure of a warm weather training camp in Majorca but the Surrey Hills offer plenty of scope for specific training that is not only effective but most importantly, fun!
Aptly named 'The Surrey Seven', the ride took in 1,200m of climbing 7 of Surreys best hills across a route stretching 70km, starting with a descent of Box Hill to blow the cobwebs away. We were then led up over Ranmore Common, down through Abinger and over the northern side of Leith Hill where the route would begin to loop back. After a few predictable ‘Garmin GPS Fails’ we got back on track heading north, climbing Holmbury Hill, Combe Lane and Crocknorth Road.
With the majority of the climbing done, we were left with a swift, sweeping descent off Ranmore Common (remembering to avoid the rough concrete in the middle of a blind patch this time) arriving in Dorking before the final climb up the ‘conveyor belt of bikes’ that is Box Hill.
Climbing hills in a repetitive fashion is not only good for fitness and building strength but also mental toughness. Paying particular attention to giving a measured effort from top to bottom, heart rate and cadence, this type of riding is as good for training the mind as it is the legs. That said, rider feedback suggests that despite this being a challenging route, it’s not to long to engage ‘sense of humour failure’.
The Blue Ball Pub was very accommodating for post ride beers and has a fantastic beer garden, which may make this route a summer time feature with 2 routes of differing difficulty.
You will also be pleased to know that Greengrass made it home by his 12:55 curfew in time for his Sunday lunch engagement much to the delight of Mrs Greengrass.
Ride time: 03:00hr
Distance: 70km (43 miles)
Average Speed: 23 kph (14 mph)
Elevation Gain: 1,200m (4,000 ft)
Course GPX: https://connect.garmin.com/modern/course/11639011