But enough on the world's environmental problems and more on cycling up hills...
After a fair amount of toing and froing of emails between friends (it turns out that the offer to go on a 100 mile ride in January leaving at 8am isn't all that popular), I managed to persuade a few hardy souls to brave the elements and inclines with me. These heros included Andy 'Tony' Martin, Chris 'The Silent Assassin' Huey, and Simon 'The Halfway Man' Lee - more on those names later. You'll note that the above list lacks the name of a certain Mr Cox - having perhaps unsurprisingly counted himself out from the ride by text at 11pm on Friday evening, he can consider this a public dissing! Having seen the forecast earlier in the week, I decided that this was a perfectly suitable occasion for my 'nice bike', plus a great time to give my new Campag Shamal Ultras (thanks Wiggle!) and new white Sidi shoes (thanks Selene!) a spin. I know, white Sidis in January. What a queen.
With my kit prepped the night before, I woke up at the relatively late time of 6.30 to scoff down some food before heading out into the breaking dawn. Unfortunately I was still full from the previous evening's (delicious, if I do say so myself) home-made pie, and couldn't face my usual pre-long-ride porridge and instead opted for finishing off a loaf of week-old bread that had been lingering in the store cupboard. About half way into my third slice I noticed an unusual odour coming from my breakfast - one that definitely wasn't the butter or honey - and with my early morning blur-vision noticed that I had been munching down on some lovely blue-mould. Leaving that last half aside, I opted to finish off breakfast with a banana instead and hope for the best - Penicillin is medicinal after all, and what doesn't kill you...
Making my way down through Peckham and the (surprisingly hilly) Forest Hill, I met the guys outside the main entrance to the Horniman Museum (great name, great Walrus: http://www.horniman.ac.uk/collections/browse/object/190371). Having paid our respects to the totem pole on display (not a euphemism for anyone in particular in lycra before your filthy minds kick into action) we set off South through London suburbs towards our first target: White Lane in Surrey (number 16 of the 100).
|Spot the pole|
Making good time, we emerged out into the quieter lanes around Biggin Hill and only when hurtling down Titsey Hill at 30mph did I notice the small lane heading back up to the left. Too late to make it with feeble calliper brakes, I resolved to having to climb back up - and extra bit of climbing for the 100 I suppose...The hill itself wasn't too bad (only a 5/10 according to the book). Fairly short, with a crumbling road surface, it kicked straight up a very narrow lane, before flattening and kicking again at somewhere around 20-25%. Nothing too strenuous, but enough to get the heart racing (to about 170bpm, apparently) and a nice little ramp to start the list on.
|At the top (flat) bit of White Lane (#16)|
|Simon reaching the top|
|Spirits were high at the top, although I appear to have |
lost the index finger of my right hand
|Everything must go - |
even things you've never heard of before
|Top of Steyning Bostal|
|Happy to have found his legs again|
|A broken man|
|Typical hill-climb success poses: Chris does a 'brap'(he's |
so street) while Andy demonstrates his 'out and
|The train pasty: up there with the train beer in the |
pantheon of ultimate travelling food
And finally having got home, Selene and I went out for the mother of all recovery dinners at Hix (she had been cycling too...) - boy was it worth it!
|Recovery food of champions|