Hot pace

LCC London 100 training ride 3/8

62mi (100km), Climb (745m), Av speed 16.8mph (27km/hr)

Well, summer’s here! The temp soared for the third ride of the LCC training season. Sunscreen and lots of water being the order of the day. 

Simon came out again this week with new faces Alex and Rob. To be fair Rob was actually pretty well known to Jim — being brothers ‘n all. Andy was also out today after last week’s Sportive diversion and keen for a good tempo in the perfect weather. After last weeks zippy ride with Jim, Simon seemed on for a quick one and Alex’s carbon steed suggested he’d be quick too. 

We headed off at a decent clip keeping the pace up, and as we headed out of Weybridge the pace warmed up further. It became apparent that Jim was serious about schooling his brother after an earlier urban commuting ‘loss’. Enjoying the quicker pace, Andy enthusiastically held the wheel at the rear. 

We had decided to stay on the official route and climb Newlands Corner. In the end the A246 traffic wasn’t too bad and Andy even found himself on the front pulling (he was tricked!). The climb up Newlands was marked by repeated ‘mechanicals’ for Andy which keep him behind Jim’s wheel until miraculously the problem sorted itself and Andy snuck though for an historic KOM. 

The team arrived quickly at the top and looked fresh. Jim resolved to work harder. 

A quick pic and bottle fill, and off the group shot toward an off-route coffee stop in Shere. Andy showed some decending skill, but no navigating skills by taking the wrong turn as usual. 

Coffee was great, with flapjacks, brownies and a huge ginger cake slice (for Alex, who may have regretted that choice later). Soon the group were back on to the route and raced off to the bottom of Leith Hill. 

As Leith Hill is inclined to do, burn was duly dished out to the group as they steadily paced up the hill. At the top we all looked a little more knackered. Jim seemed cheerier. 

Riders on Box Hill

Andy ‘putting in 110%’ while Simon looks on in relaxed amusement.

A fast decent into Dorking and a relaxed climb up Box for another bottle fill-up, finished the days major climbing. At this point our group were considering the wisdom of the morning’s pace. 

We decided to head ‘off-course’ to avoid traffic and head back to Kingston via Epsom. 

A beautiful, quick day out. By the end of the ride, Jim had exhausted his brother and we had a great training ride. Perfect! 

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LCC Training Ride. Ep 2

Jim Writes:

Only two riders today for the ride out. But I don’t want to give the impression that the enthusiasm is waning. Today was also the King of the Downs sportive and I know that a number of the team were going in for that rather grueling ride.
Simon joined Jim for today’s ride. Simon has done the Ride London previously and so we agreed that we would alter the route a little to avoid some of the busier roads and to concentrate on the Leith to Boxhill stretch. The photograph shows Simon smiling at the top of Staples Lane with a great view of London in the background I had thought that he was smiling because he made it to the top of the hill I now realise that he was smiling because of my appalling “helmet hair”. Next time I’m taking a mirror.
After a coffee stop in Shere and a fast ride back to London we were in Richmond Park by 1 o’clock.

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A sensible pace…

Mick writes:

With the yoof off messing about at the King of the Downs (or whatever), the grown ups voted for a sensibly-placed two hills this morning. The plan was Effingham via Plough Lane, then Critten Lane to Ranmore Common, Westhumble, Box Hill and back via Epsom and the roundabouts. 

The weather was very pleasant and it was all going so well until the gentlemen got a bit excited across Ranmore, sparking a minor domestic amongst the Shortlands Road contingent. 

Criticism of the elevated pace was clearly justified, but hey, what do expect when the sun’s out. 

Decorum was restored for the descent to Westhumble and some of the ascent of Box, before it all got out of hand again. Only Robin could be accused of sticking to the original plan, while everybody else pushed hard with previous discussions of ‘suitable pace’ entirely forgotten. 

After refreshments at the top of Box, the descent to Epsom via Headley went smoothly before another bout of high jinx broke out through the Chessington roundabouts. 

Altogether a very enjoyable morning with very few responsible adults involved.

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North Side Story — Sun 28 May

55 miles, 2 Dance offs

Jim writes:

The scene is set on the Upper North Side (of Combe Bottom). The sultry summer heat had brought all the gangs out on the streets. KR(upke)MCC arrived at the top of Staples in the nick of time The Dynamos and Wheelers were facing off at the top of the Downs. I’m sure I heard some finger clicking. Had we not sent them fleeing then, who knows? With the tension in the air, it could easily have turned into an elaborate dance number. And there’s always some wise-guy who thinks he’s handy with a tyre lever who‘ll cause trouble.It was a gorgeous day. Frank, Joe, Karen, Andy and Jim (note – all now in training for Ride London) joined NickR for a ride out into the Surrey Hills – and beyond. As Billy Ocean once said, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going”. At the first sign of hills, NickR turned tail and headed for home. That answers that question.

It seemed a little unfair to drag Franck up Barhatch, as he expressly said he did not want to go that far, or steep. Jim listened carefully to his concerns, and decided to go up

KRM riders at the top of Barhatch

All smiles at the top of Barhatch

Barhatch anyway. Down the lovely Cranleigh Link, through Cranleigh (stopping for a De Moulin) and on to the dreaded left turn and the “21%” sign. In fairness, I didn’t hear Franck complain, and as you can see in the photo, we were all smiling at the top.

The descent into Shere is one of the great roads of the Surrey Hills, and the flapjacks and coffee in the Dabbling Duck were spot-on as ever – and so reasonable. There was no hurry to climb back up Combe Bottom, but we had our duty to keep the warring clubs at bay so made our way up. Andy led but made the rookie error of staying in his granny gear as the road levelled at the top, so Jim stole the KoM points. Back down the hill (yes, OK, not quite the route I intended) and the direct route through Cobham Estate and Hinchley Wood. A lovely ride out.

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The long one — Sat 20 May

90mi (145km), 6750ft (2058m) 6.5hrs ride time. 

So it seemed like a good idea at the time…

Andy and Tony thought that a look at the lesser known eastern section of course for the King of the Downs Sportive prior to the event would be a sensible move.

Turns out that this was a long day in the saddle.

Meeting up in Wimbledon Chase at 7:30, we headed south to Sutton and Chipstead to get to the start of the eastern loop. The weather was lovely and sunny, and the headwind wasn’t to bad.

Navigating was accomplished by Andy with a phone hanging round his neck, due to Tony’s Garmin taking a break from normal operations.

We cruised on down some nice roads with long descents and gentle rolling terrain until a warm up slog up Turners hill (from the west).

Kidds HillSooner or later the terrain had to go up hard and out first leg burner was the double ramp of Kidds Hill. Lovely surface, wide and straight it wasn’t too bad, but we took a note to save something on event day for the steeper second ramp.

Soon came the short steep Beech Green Lane and an aggressive climb between Bradley Rd and Bassetts Ln.

Tony and Andy have coffeeBy now we were really hanging out for some coffee and cake, but couldn’t find anything like a cafe. Eventually we had to settle for a pub and some instant coffee in Chiddingstone Hoath.

Next on the list was the climb up to Goathurst Common. Now this was a real test with multiple ramps and a last bit of the sort that leaves a memory in the thighs.

A last test up to Hawley’s Corner left us feeling like it was time to head home. Andys phone had died by this point so we had to rely on Tony’s deranged Garmin to get us home. This we did with a stiffening tail wind via Biggin Hill, New Addington and Croydon.

It was a long day out, but the weather was pretty good and it was good to have a feel for the challenge that approaches on June 11.

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Early birds only

29mi

While Kevin, Karen, Joe and Tony headed down to Brighton on the Pearson’s Sportive, a few remaining riders went out for a club spin. 

Life admin meant a couple of us needed to be back for 11am so Jim suggested park laps followed by a local coffee stop. This meant a 7:30 start and a half asleep Andy showing up just in time. Stefan and Robin completed the group of four early risers as we warmed up around the park. 

KRMCC cyclists at Teddington lock bridge

Is that a double chin?!

After about 1.5 laps we headed out through Ham Gate, across the river at Teddington Lock and out through Sunbury to Walton for a cuppa joe at The 1955 Club. A steady medium pace was kept up, helping us stay warm on an overcast, breezy and not so warm day. 

Coming home we took the loop through Bushy Park and into Richmond. Andy was the only one to take on Nightingale Ln today for some reason, though Stefan was on his single speed. 

Nice morning out for a quick cuppa and flapjack. 

PS. Lil’ Nick got out of bed finally, after a very late night (working he said) and headed out to Windsor. Apparently he did not wheelsuck anyone and recorded 5 Strava KOMs. This has yet to be verified. 

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A long ol’ road to the coffee shop

The players*: Capt. Kevin, Lil’ Nick, N-Dog (Big Nick), Andy (the compass), Renaissance-man Stefan, Prof. Karen and Smokin’ Joe with a special guest appearance from Carbon Jim and padawan Katie. 

The route choice was a bit chaotic today. The original proposed lumpy route fell out of favour as we started off, possibly due to Lil’ Nick’s over excited warm-up pace. 

After some on-the-move discussion, acting road captain Lil’ Nick declared the route to be out to Ramore Common via Cobham and returning via Headly Lane / Lodgebottom Road instead of the usual Box climb. A cafe stop at Bike Beans in Ashtead was planned. 

KRMCC riders on Ranmore Common

In the bluebells

A nice rolling, but somewhat windy route out to Ranmore was finished off with a fast run along the Common to the Church. We paused to admire the bluebells while we recovered our composure and Smokin’ Joe took a work call. (Fortunately not a video call as SJ was wearing his lady tights).

Joe takes at work call on Ranmore Common

“You’ll need to do a cold restart” — Smokin’ Joe in his lady tights

Bypassing the congested entrance to Box Hill’s zig-zag we shot up the quieter and rolling slopes of Headley Lane / Lodgebottom Rd. Stefan’s lack of road time was absolutely not apparent as he toyed with Lil’ Nick out of some sadistic pleasure. (Andy may have joined in, but is easily led, so can’t be held responsible). 

Around about this time (23 mi in), there appeared the first signs of the ‘hunger grumps’ from N-Dog. The problems of choosing Ashtead as the cafe stop were laid bare. Even Prof. Karen looked a little fraid at the edges. 

We eventually made it to the fast run in to Ashtead and the welcoming oasis that is Bike Beans. We were happily surprised to find Carbon Jim and his young padawan holding a table. Coffee and cake was eagerly scoffed by the hungry group before heading off for a more relaxed journey home as one group. 

Last sprint of the day was in Chessington, where N-Dog put the hammer down at 35 mph (all be it with a slight wind assist). 

So want have we all learned today? 

  • Carbon Jim is generally needed for proper route planning, 
  • Stefan with low miles in his legs still has enough in his legs to make us all hurt. 
  • Andy (the compass) cannot find his own arse even when given directions. 
  • N-Dog needs coffee at ‘proper’ times during a ride. 
  • Lil’ Nick will generally be located on your wheel when you think you’ve ‘got away’. 
  • Karen’s white leg warmers don’t look good on Smokin Joe… actually, possibly ever, on anyone. 
  • Karen has a mean sense of humour (see above).
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Walton warm up

30mi (48km) climb 623ft (190m)

Kevin, Lil’ Nick, Big Nick and Andy decided on a flat spin out to Walton via Hersham. This made for a nice route out and some good roads esp. Burwood Road, a long straight drag with a little double rise to hurt your legs if you push too hard. 

Four cyclists at The 1955 Club

Enjoying coffee and snacks at The 1955 Club

The coffee stop was ‘The 1955 Club’ for some apricot flapjack (croissant for Big Nick) and coffee outside — continental style. 

We returned via West Molesey, but felt fresh enough for an extension through Bushy Park and Richmond Park, with everyone’s favourite little Richmond ramp — Nightingale Lane (at least for Lil’ Nick and Andy — Kevin and Big Nick were on a recovery day). 

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Strength = 7(!!)

41mi (66km), climb 787 ft (240m)

Ok, so the news is Pinnocks Coffee House now does a number 7 strength coffee! I’m not sure that the scale has been recalibrated to accommodate new divisions within the same strength range or that a new kind of unearthly coffee — the kind that the UCI would need a TUE for — has been found. 

Jim, Andy, Tony, Mick and Robin met up at the usual spot and Jim suggested we head out to Ripley for a quickish, flatish ride. Jim was on his single speed, which prompted a lively, but needlessly technical discussion about gear ratios and gear inches. 

We figured a route via Brooklands would get us to Pinnocks at opening time (10:00 am). Well, that was the plan, but it seemed we all had a a good breakie and so set a quicker pace than the race plan — sorry, ride plan.  We arrived 20 min early and decided to extend the ride a little further to kill time. Such is our dedication to our sport. Mick has to take most of the responsibility for the excessive speed up front. 

Lots of riders on the road today. The sheep seemed a little friendlier though. Quite a few ‘game faces’ out there and fewer ‘morning!’s. 

KRMCC Cyclists in Pinnocks Coffee House

The team at Pinnocks Coffee House

Great food and coffee today as usual from Pinnocks. Tony had some interesting insights into bar/cafe service and the parallels with dominoes (The game not the sad excuse for a pizza company). You’ll have to check back with him on that one. The sun came out too, brightening our moods further. Tricky to get a good selfie in the window glare though! 

Nice chatty cruise back with a gentle tail wind and warm sun to see us home. 

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The only way is up

Karen, Joe, Andy, Mick and Franck came out on a dull and cool Easter Monday for a trip down to Box Hill. Rumour had it that the zig-zag had gone one way (up) for the weekend. 

The route out decided on was via Cobham, up Staple Lane, on to Crocknorth, over Ranmore Common and up Box Hill. 

Quiet roads made the journey out pleasant enough, though the chilly damp air wasn’t ideal. Andy added some humour when he managed to take a tumble by forgetting to unclip at West End. The training wheels go back on next week. 

Staple Lane came and went with beautiful fields of Rapeseed fields to brighten up the dull weather. As it turns out Green Dene was closed so a trip up Crocknorth was mandated. 

Photo of team at the top of Box Hill

The team at the top of Box Hill

The group stayed together for the most part, pushing up at a steady pace. Some geezer on a triple passed us, but we didn’t bite like amateurs — our egos stayed strong just like our climbing legs. We had some miles to go yet. 

We pushed over and headed for Ranmore Common and a speedy run toward Westhumble and Box. The one-way setup on the Zig-zag was good, but clearly not setup perfectly with some traffic coming from the wrong way. Joe pushed up at pace and Andy chased him down. 

Not too busy at the cafe and we quickly got coffee and flapjack. The sun even tried to come out a little. 

Soon we headed off to come home via Epsom. A nice run home with a trip around the west of Epsom along Horton Lane (thanks Mick!). 

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Early season seaside visit

As the Easter weekend approached Jim suggested a trip down to Brighton for a fancy lunch at Carats. To keep things reasonable it was proposed to drive part of the way and do a Rusper return. 

Two keen cyclists / foodies decided to join in and so on Friday morning, Jim, Lil’ Nick and Andy loaded up the bikes on Nicks car and headed  south. 

We nervously started. Nick’s Garmin battery was flat leaving Jim in sole charge of navigation. (Andy is clearly not ready for such a navigational challenge). 

A slight headwind was nothing to worry our team and the roads were lovely and quiet for the most part. We kept a good, but civilised pace as we headed south-east towards Pease Cottage and the lovely lakes (or is that ‘waters’?) near Balcombe. 

Soon the South Downs appeared on our horizon. We approached with purpose and executed a textbook threshold climbing effort until a sprit finish to the top — on the first go — followed by two threshold repeat efforts*. 

Photo of heros

At the top of Ditchling Deacon. The first time.

Climb dispatched we disappeared down the road towards beautiful views of the sea and on to lunch. Now this turned out to be a little further than we remembered. It always is. The last mile of coastal headwind was… challenging. The three of us spread out across the road to all equally take the wind, proving our manhood and preventing Jim from feeling Andy and Nick were taking advantage of his billowing jacket. How smart are we! 

Lunch was fab, disappearing faster than Chris up Barhatch Lane. Jim took on a full breakie, Nick a baked spud (with free repeats) and Andy a monster omelette. After lunch we took some time to take in the sights of Southwick and let Nick and Andy play in the surf… er, paddle in the channel. 

Suitably refuelled we headed north to Devils Dyke Road for Jim’s gravel section. Andy spent some time identifying potholes while on front (yes, on front! It does sometimes happen!), but he still needs practice. 

The wind was at our backs for the return trip so it all felt just lovely. The sun was out and the riding very pleasant. We quickly arrived at Rusper for an emergency fuel stop and the end of the pedalled powered section of our journey**. 

Big thanks to Lil’ Nick for driving and Jim for the mapping/ navigating. 

* May or may not have happened. I’ll never tell. 

** Andy still had a couple of miles to go and so he takes the longest day award this time. 

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Kingston – Windsor – Paris – Roubaix

46mi (74km), Climb 787 ft (240 m)

Best weather of the year so far and the biggest spring classics race on the same day meant the group were keen to be out, but also on for a shortish ride. The Windsor loop fit the bill nicely.

Big showing today. We had: Captain Kevin, Big Nick, Mick, Carbon legs Jim, Karen, Joe, Tony, Franck le frog, Andy and two new-comers, Rosemary and French Nic.

An easy steady pace had the group warming up out past Hampton Court and through Sunbury.

The only real climb of the day came at Tite Hill — the ruin of many a ‘went to early’ hopeful. Carbon Jim selected the right gear and proceeded smoothly at the head of the group. When Andy threatened to pass, CJ helpfully advised him on ‘proper’ pacing. All in all everyone took the intense warm up climb in their stride, though Rosemary was no doubt rethinking the wisdom of bringing along a Kryponite lock and chain.

Early matches burnt, we headed into Windsor Great Park for a gentle spin through and the obligatory team photo. A friendly stranger helped out and we got a full team pic for the memories. Rosemary related to Andy her worries about being clipped in which turned out to be prescient.

After the gentle wander through the park the group arrived at the Windsor approach of the A332. The pace increased as the group anticipated a high speed run for cake. Jim, Tony and Andy made their move, Andy took the lead hoping to drop Tony and Jim, but eased up and Jim came through to take over. Getting a second wind Andy pushed over the top, only for Tony to come through at the last and take A332 honours. Meanwhile, Big Nick took the peloton for a Carry-On movie location tour. Important work, as Joe is working on a script.

Cinnamon Bun wasn’t too busy and had installed a handy bike rack. The early arrivals soon commandeered most of the spare tables and chairs and ‘booked’ the team space. Rosemary arrived and duly experienced an unplanned lateral impact injury with a mistimed clip-out. Coffee, flapjack, cinnamon buns and happy banter was had, and grins a plenty when some Japanese tourists mistook us for Team Movistar and made sure they got a few selfies with the big stars.

The run home was punctuated with a passionate debate on the merits of going off-road on the Thames path. The cries of ‘no’ took the day and we proceeded as God intended — on perfectly good paved roads. Andy got a little bit excited and took Tony for a completely unnecessary (but fun) sprint through Shepperton, mistaking it for the Sunbury sprint / Lower Hampton Rd (sorry Tony!). Luckily there was enough time to recover, regroup and go at it again for real. Because Andy is writing this report the record will hereby say Andy destroyed all comers and sprinted to victory in Sunbury.

A nice run through Bushy park to warm down ended a beautiful spring day of riding.

For the record Greg Van Avermaet came through for a well timed sprint victory at Paris Roubaix 2017 and Chris has a large stock of razors.

Safe riding!

 

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