|The top of the Penshurst course with the valley behind.
Sunday morning came cold, grey and windy and after the pre kit order session a group of twelve riders both CCH regulars and newcomers set off from club HQ and headed West to check out a few Surrey hills including the much talked about Box Hill due to feature (several times) in the 2012 Olympic Road Race. After an early cold shower and the loss of Tony due to a mechanical issue (and some rather spurious mechanical assistance by yours truly - sorry Tony) eleven riders continued on. The wind slowly dropped and the sun came out to play making for some great riding. After the stop start of the city the group settled into a comfortable pace as they headed out through Richmond Park and Kingston-Upon-Thames, past Sandown race course, over Esher Common and onto the back lanes of Surrey past Cobham.
At around mile 40 the group hit Staple Hill the first of three challenging climbs. At 610 ft and just under two miles this was enough to break the group up and at the top Daniels emergency stop due to a jammed cleat gave John (who was right behind him) the opportunity for a lay down on the verge! Once John had stopped messing around snoozing in the ditch and we had regrouped we pushed on deeper into the lovely woods and hills and after a long fast downhill and a tight hairpin found ourselves on Dunley Hill, the second of the days challenges and a short sharp shock of a hill rising up to 650 ft. After a quick breather and regroup we headed on over Ranmore Common and bombed down Ranmore Hill into Westhumble Village before the last of the days challenges the zig zag of Box Hill climbing up to 680 ft with spectacular views over the valleys below.
At the top we found the National trust Cafe in a state of upheaval as work has already commenced in preparation for next years event so after a brief stop and refuel on cake, pastys and chili sausage roll that both John and I were to rue ever eating (but that's another story all together!) we set off for home. After the second puncture of the day was swiftly fixed by a trusty Anglo-Italian-Japanese trio the pace was raised and after the Surrey Hills the way home almost felt downhill all the way back into London. We were soon once again back in Richmond Park and then heading home to Hackney. Total distance 85 miles, elevation gain 3500 ft, average speed 15mph, not bad for a Sunday club ride though we suspect that come 2012 the pro's may go a little further and a little faster. Well done and thanks to everyone for a great day, Isobel, Shaalan, Alex, John, Tony, Rachael, Daichi, Terry, Daniel, Gareth, Stefano, and Derek (who after navigating all the way there and back got lost in Hackney!).
|Bart slip sliding downhill.
|Harry going uphill
Meanwhile the Wednesday night cross training seems to be paying off as CCH riders move up the leader board in the latest round of the London Cross League.
|Logan lapping up the mud.
Logan went off first in the U12's and the shorter course was no less demanding than the seniors'.
|The start of the tricky descent from below
|The same decent from above followed by right angled left turn.
|The long drag back up through the trees.
|Happy to be finished.