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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