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!

Posted in Club rides, Saturday | Leave a comment

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.

Posted in Club rides, Sunday | Leave a comment

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.

Posted in Event Reports, Sportive | Leave a comment

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. 

Posted in Club rides | Leave a comment

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.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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. 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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.

Posted in Club rides, Sunday | Leave a comment

Chasing Nick

Mick writes:

I mostly spent Saturday morning admiring the view of Nick’s bum from various distances, depending on whether he eased up to let me catch up, or not.

Photo of Nick and Mick

Two hardy souls hit the road on Saturday

Pastries and coffee at 1955, for which I now have a loyalty card – free coffee every 10, which I offer to the club as a shared resource.

Given the pace Nick had set, we would have been home just after 10.00. Therefore, in an attempt to avoid the derision of fellow Mechanicals, we did Nightingale Lane in an attempt to claw back some credibility.

Posted in Club rides, Saturday | Leave a comment

Deep into the hills

Overcast. 87km, 900m climbing

With Sunday’s weather looking rubbish, it was suggested we plan a long and hilly route for Saturday with an option of a shorter route for those with less time. After waiting on Andy to bother showing up — 10 min late, Mick, Robin, Big Nick, Lil’ Nick, Chris, Karen, Joe and Andy headed off. The plan was to go via Cobham and Ockham toward Cranleigh via Newlands Corner (the planned short route bail out point) taking in the climbs of Newlands Cnr.(A25), the monster of Barhatch lane and Combe Lane.

A good tempo was set for the first hour, mainly by Robin, and even Chris restrained himself with everyone’s thoughts on the big slopes to come.

The first big climb of the day up to Newlands Cnr. had everyone powering up with plenty of energy. We clearly looked like pros while recovering some composure at the top, as a small group asked us for assistance putting a rear wheel back on.

Photo of bike being repaired on side of road

Lil’ Nick: “I’m sure the linky thing goes round these spiky bits…”

Fearing a trick question or TV stunt there was a moments delay before manly pride had Mick and Lil’ Nick swing into heroic action. No speed records were set in this effort and even Lil’ Nick’s expert advice (“push that bit there — no, the round bit…”) couldn’t speed it up. Chris got to wondering where Jim was…

The team split with Big Nick, Mick, and Robin racing off to the warmth of the Squirrel café while the rest headed down the hill toward Cranleigh via Fairly Green. The roads got nice and quiet in the ‘chocolate box’ countryside, but had a fair amount of debris on them. Meanwhile Nick pushed the pace back to Kingston for the returning group.

The long route group soon got to Maison du Velo cafe beating the rush, and settled in for the cheapest coffee in Surrey (maybe). Get a cake and the coffee is free! New fav (keep it quiet!).

Chris heard that Barhatch Lane might be closed, but we decided to check it out having come all that way.

Photo of cyclists carrying bikes around a fallen tree on the road

Never let a fallen tree on a closed road stop you from climbing a good hill!

Turns out it was indeed closed to traffic due to a fallen tree. Not to be discouraged the hardy cyclists climbed around and over the fencing and tree to continue on through the muddied road to the summit. The climb hurt everyone. A lot. Unfortunately, as we all ‘put our foot down’ by getting around the obstacles the climb will be struck from everyone’s palmarès and the official (KRMCC) record.

On through the mucky roads we headed out through Shere to Combe Lane and eveyone’s favourite left hand, thigh burning, turn. Chris raced off after getting baited by some bloke in hi-viz who made the mistake of over cooking the early slope. Karen dispatched lil’ Nick, and Joe showed he’s in good climbing form for the coming summer.

With the wind largely at our backs we raced home at a good pace through Ockham and Cobham via the Surrey Slums (AKA ‘The Estate’ or ‘That gated spot in Cobham’). With one puncture for Joe at Claygate to slow us down, we were back home for 1:30pm. It should be noted that Chris showed us all how to change that puncture in double quick time — cutting open his finger open in the process!

Good late winter spin for all concerned. Completely exhausting.

Posted in Club rides, Saturday | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

26 February 2017 – Barhatch or not Barhatch? – 40 miles

Robin writes:-

 

In the absence of Jim (‘I may do a lap of the park later’ – Whaaat? Heavy night? Or did the sky fall in?), Chris, Andy, Robin, Joe and Karen tugged their beards over the destination and swiftly decided that Barhatch was not a good idea. This was Robin’s first Sunday outing of 2017 and nobody rated his chances of making it. Might just turn round after an hour,’ he said lamely.

So it was Newlands Corner for coffee. No-one mentioned Robin’s get-out-at-Ockham clause. The weather brightened so in spring sunshine we passed Clandon and hung a right on the A246, past Hatchlands Park, then left up to Newlands, Robin arriving at the caff with the third round of cappuccinos (or cappuccini, perhaps). A sausage roll for Robin later and it was down the south side of the Downs, Andy flying and the sausage roll not far behind.

Karen and Robin had swung the party in favour of the shorter route up Coombe Lane. Andy and Joe motored up effortlessly. Chris hung back for some vicious taunting, masquerading as motivation: ‘She’s nearly caught you, Robin!’ etc, etc.

Hung a right at Staple Lane and cruised down the hill to East Horsley and Effingham. Chris had a puncture at the Black Swan. This was where Karen realised that it was not her fitness that had left her trailing Robin – trailing Robin (I put that in again because I like the sound of it) – but that her back brake was stuck on.  One unsticking, later, all four disappeared up Plough Lane leaving Robin and the sausage roll to their own devices.

A puncture for Andy on the outskirts of Cobham, which unaccountably he fixed on somebody’s front lawn. Then a brisk sprint back to Esher – Robin this time wondering whether he was actually on the same ride, with everyone else over the horizon – and back up the Portsmouth Road to home. 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Sunday 6 November – Dappled Hues – 35 miles

Jim waxes poetic:

“And cyclists in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here,
And hold their cycles cheap whiles any speaks
That rode with us upon this day.”

(Possibly connected with two people WhatsApping apologies from bed, while a third tucked into a massive breakfast.)

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Saturday 5 November – Let Them Eat Cinammon – 45 miles

Jim writes:

The Junior section improves in leaps and bounds. Katie led the ride out to Windsor, devoured a whole cinnamon bun and then took to the Strada Bianchi towards Ranger’s Gate, the Great Park and home via Chertsey. She slept soundly all afternoon.

The Veterans managed a Walton Loop.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment