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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Get ya legs out!

The sun came out today for a glorious warm, mostly wind free day. Big Nick, Kevin, Andy and Stefan got their legs out for a quick spin to Walton in the early spring rays. Well, Andy and Nick did. Kevin and Stefan played it safe in the early chill and kept their lilly whites covered.

A civilised pace was the order of the day as the group made their way through Esher and Hersham toward Cafe 1955. Stefan had a bacon croissant on his mind as he pushed the pace a little on his single speed approaching the coffee stop. Kevin blew a valve at this point and paused to replace some lost air.

KRMCC riders at Cafe 1955

Stefan and Andy give Kevin a lesson in self-sufficiency

Good banter at the cafe, though we were forced to sit in the shade outside to keep Kevin company. He was replacing the inner tube on his rear wheel (yes, he blew that valve). In return for this sacrifice the rest of us did precisely nothing to help our team mate with the repair. There were mutterings of ‘encouraging self sufficency’ to assuage any guilt we may have felt.

A lovely trip back via Richmond Park, with a trip up Nightingale Rd for Nick and Andy thrown in for kicks. Stefan raced a TT bike for a wee bit to test his legs before the group split up and headed off on their seperate ways home.

As a post script, Andy decided to cut through Wimbledon common on his way home — for some bizarre reason — and got his seasons quota of off-road cycling over with. Oops!

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Gentle Spin to Pinnocks

Sunday 26 March

A breezy, chilly, but sunny Sunday saw Jim, Franck and Andy out for a gentle spin. Franck was keen to test his legs at the start of his return to regular cycling after a period off the bike with work commitments, so the trio kept the pace gentle out towards the popular Pinnocks cafe in Ripley.

KRMCC Cyclists at the cafe

Coffee in the sun

Avoiding the runners on the Portsmouth road, they headed out past Hampton court, through Sunbury, West Byfleet and along the beautiful Newark Road. Andy tried to stretch his legs a bit here, but found his endurance lacking a little.

Great coffee as usual, at the cafe, but it sure got busy! It also started to get hot as we sat in the window and Jim even shed his jacket on the way home!

Just a minor, but quickly fixed, tick on Franck’s bike to see to and a small detour from Jim’s normally flawless navigation to interrupt a gentle cruise home via Cobham and Portsmouth Road.

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Gatwick Road Sportive

Tony took on the tough Evans Gatwick Road Sportive on Sun, 26 Mar.

Tony writes:

Evans cycles HQ Gatwick, boy is it chilly!

Has anyone noticed that the cars at a cycle event always seem to be mid to high in value? and they are always extremely clean. Is that a cyclist thing?

I get my free high five bottles and gels for early sign up, I’m just saying Andy’s idea. Oh wait, I don’t see Andy???

The ride starts badly, I’m at the front miss the turning as cycling into a head wind. Garmin starts screaming ‘off course’ which translates in my head it ‘must be wrong way’ — take no notice, ride back to around the start line, start over.

I start to pass a few back markers. In my head I’m Valverde and the Movistar team penalised at the beginning of the race. Head down, my average mph is going up. Then there are a series — no a combo — of hills that just seem to be higher than anything KRM train on. There was one, it just went up in steps for ages! 10%, 14%, 15%… then when you thought you were at the top 8% turn the corner 6%. That was prelude to Cob Lane.

The start of Cob Lane climb starts in a basin you come down pretty fast then the road bottle necks and you have to slow down to a crawl. Oh my God! 20%!

I try… the front wheel keeps lifting up… got to get out of the saddle, lean forward, only problem is, cramp has hit me on the hill in both calfs and thighs they are locking. I just manage to clip out. I’m in the middle of the peloton, in the middle of the road. That’s a first. I’m so glad to see others dismount.

After that there was another hill —14% — legs cramped and I just got off the bike and walked up. It’s becoming a habit. The end was pretty flat and I overtook a few back markers.

Thank the heavens for the finish line.

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Spring madness

108km (67mi), climb 1,219m (4,000ft)

An over enthusiastic Bob* decided mid-week that he quite fancied a Friday ride into the hills to celebrate the start of spring and looked to the team for some support. Andy and Lil’ Nick stepped up and soon had a GPS route file showing just how enthusiastic (and slightly mad Bob) had become. A warm up of Chalk lane and Hazelwood Lane followed by the main course of Leith Hill (S–N), and Whitedown Lane over a 108 km(67mi) parcours. Spring madness indeed.

It was chilly, breezy and overcast as the trio headed out through the morning traffic through New Malden and Epsom and on to Reigate — where Bob’s navigation skills may have been questioned a couple of times on unfamiliar roads. Needless to say he keep us on track for the most part, though we did have to pass a group of ladies out on a leisurely ride twice due to a slight detour.

We soon turned south toward Gatwick with a growing need for a caffeine hit and a bit of cake. A few grumbles (a lot of gumbles) from Lil’ Nick and Andy (mostly Andy) later we arrived at the Tanhouse Farm Shop in Newdigate for a cup’o’joe and a cheesy scone. The ladies we passed (twice) back in Reigate soon arrived (!). Thoughts of our (lack of?) pace ran through all of our minds but were not given voice. Replenished and much happier after fueling (and freshening) up we headed back into the wind.

Lil’ Nick’s suggestion (twice) of a Dorking Gap return route was ignored (twice) and we headed for the classic stepped climb of Leith hill. The trio stayed together for the most part with Bob and Andy competing in the classic male cyclist game of ‘appearing to breathe in the most relaxed fashion’ and with Lil’ Nick making sure his companion’s climbing form was good from a more rearward location.

With Leith dispatched Lil’ Nick was feeling particularly aggressive for the 18% slopes of Whitedown Lane and we quickly made our way north. We paced ourselves up steadily, accompanied by a constant gentle moaning sound from Lil’ Nick and a distinct wheezing sound from Andy. Andy managed to get far enough ahead to be out of sight — to be able sneak an unseen foot down (but did he…? He’ll never tell!).

As we raced off home, thoughts turned to how our performances would be recorded in our memories — and this report (epic), and what we’d have for lunch (everything). Bob also finally cracked, revealing that he felt Lil’ Nick and Andy had not spent enough time in the wind (they didn’t — as usual).

We arrived back home with the sun finally making an appearance and all silently acknowledging that an afternoon nap was certainly on the cards.

A very nice (and exhausting) way to spend a Friday morning at the start of Spring.


*Not his real name

All opinions and recollections are those of the author and are entirely biased — or may not have even happened that way. Sledging is optional and depends on the authors mood. 

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Walton-in-the wind

Kevin writes:

The peloton left on time with the domestics taking the wind all the way out to Walton. Very windy.

The hill climbers and sprinters sat in the peloton protected from the elements.

In the way back along the main to Hampton Court the domestics were given a rest as the wind came from behind and sprinter/hill climbers went to the front. Nick R did his bit then the domestics took over for the last bit before coffee.

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Box and Bike Beans

66km, climb 566m

Robin, Jim and Andy flew the colours on a breezy Sunday and decided on a Box Hill route with a cafe stop at Bike Beans. The trio keep the pace friendly into the westerly wind as we wound our way through Cobham and Leatherhead to Box Hill. 

A gentle climb up Box was interrupted by an overtaking mountain bike, which, after some discussion, resulted in the expected increase in pace and a ‘late pass with a flourish’. Natural order was thus returned. However, Andy and Jim noted the rider eyeballing us as he turned and returned down the hill for implied repeats. Call it a draw. 

We soon headed off to Ashtead and a welcome cuppa-with-cake at BB. Caught the end 6km of the Milan San Remo repeat on the TV (What a finish!). Robin was granted a late TUE for a second cup of coffee and our cake/ flapjacks disappeared quicker than Sky medical records. 

KRMCC Cyclists

All smiles after coffee and cake

Jim, made a performance adjustment to his saddle height by 1.75mm (inspired by Chris’ work with Tony last week). Andy had tweaked his right cleat position earlier (2.1mm), but Robin’s setup was already optimal. 

The return via Epsom was a little quicker with a tailwind, but had a few close traffic passes to keep the team alert. 

All ‘n’ all a very pleasant day out. 

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Chasing Chris

Tony writes:

Only three souls turned up, Chris in race mode Jim single speed and me on my commuter. Weather forecast light rain with localised heavy downpours. I wasn’t bother which type of route. Chris in race mode wanted Hills, Jim needed to do a short ride plus he wanted to stay near home if it rained heavy we could bail out.

Jim and Chris have a discussion on ride route. I never have the foggiest regarding routes, I just ride. I like it that way. If I know it’s going to be painful I’d rather not know. We get to Walton bridge with Jim leading when he makes a very late hand single. I follow and Chris nearly gets taken out.

Chris asks if I’ve lost weight? (four kilo in two and half months) I’m over the moon people have noticed. That’s important as that forms my main reasoning for what happens next. We get somewhere I haven’t a clue and there is another discussion between Chris & Jim we decide to split up with Jim heading back. I’m just going with the flow. But really deep down I need to test out whether the weight loss has made me faster on the flats or quicker on the Hills. Jim goes one way I go with Chris.

Chris notices that when I am riding, and my leg is extended, my heal goes below the pedal and this translates to me not getting the full amount of power out of each pedal action. That bugs me and Chris starts a bike fit. Chris adjusts my saddle height at least three times over the course of the ride.

Chris does some intervals. Wow! that guy is fast. We are Hungry Lane I think it’s called, one minute he was there the next he was gone! The next was a hill that we’ve done before I just can’t remember the name of, pretty steep. Chris again puts in an interval. That guy has got some power! As for myself, I keep looking at my pedal stroke, saddle readjustment needed.

Chris again intervals Box Hill. Again, I look at my pedal stroke. I’m becoming obsessed. At the top of Box Hill I make another saddle adjustment. No coffee stop, but I’m not fussed. My two bottles of water come in handy and I’ve got snacks. Yay me! (I was starving). At the top of Box Hill I say to Chris if he needed to push on he could go on without me. His reply “we go out together, we come home together”. I was dead and secretly wanted him to push on so I could find the nearest train station. No, I’m not joking. That was the conversation I was having with myself.

Pushing it on the flats felt faster and I seemed to be able to get a better aero shape. Chris guided us home like a pro. 50mile Kingston to Kingston home for around 1 pm perfect timing for Spurs vs Millwall at 2pm.

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