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.
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.
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.