So yesterday some of the London members of PdC met up to ride the Olympics road race course (women's version, only two laps of the Box Hill circuit). The weather was typical of this summer: mostly overcast with some heavy showers and the occasional patch of sunshine. And when the sun did shine England looked its verdant, bucolic best.
I met Albertina outside the Queen's gaff at Buckingham Palace from where we wended our way out through west London to Richmond Park where we met up with maratsafin, addict, obelix and some of my mates. From there suburbia eventually gave way to countryside and I was actually able to break out my camera to record the route.
The route toddled along through pretty villages with inviting pubs and cafes and along wooded roads
All very gentle apart from the sometimes frightful road surface until you hit Staple Lane - a nasty, short, sharp climb with gradients north of 20%
Then a tricky descent down to Shere with a hairpin, narrow greaser roads and a blind left-hander into gravel and a small pond with all the rain we've been having - hopefully the Schlecks won't be racing
Then a fast drag along the A25 - with a westerly wind at our tails and a slight descent we sat well above 35 km/h all the way to Dorking as the ridge of Box Hill came into view.
Then it was time to start climbing the vicious* gradients of la cote de la boit.
Over the top of the climb...
...ease of to catch breath and view all the way to hills on England's south coast (and look of bewildement from passing tourist)...
...through the ugly village of Box Hill, down a windy descent which climbs as well, through the pretty village of Westhumble, and then it's time to climb again. As that was all quite a lot of effort we hid under the eaves of the National Trust servery where there is an excellent range of cakes
As well as sausage rolls, mmm.
And of course tea - this is England
Legs replenished we set off on the ride back in - sorry no photos from here. Mostly flat with a few steady drags and more poor road surface it still passed quickly. After not too long it was back into suburbia and the peloton started splitting up as its members went their separate ways. In the end only Albertina and I did the full route (see here on Strava: http://app.strava.com/rides/13344641) jinking throughthe static traffic back to Buckingham Palace, cruelly denied the final sprint up the Mall as the road is closed in preparation for the Olympics.
Overall a very pleasant day riding despite the sometimes bad weather. Great to get a good group out and meet some PdC-ers in real life. There was talk of another ride sometime in Autumn so hopefully this will entice those who couldn't make it to come out then.
I also took lots of video which I plan to turn into a more detailed look at the course over the next for publication post tour - watch this space...
* your assessment of vicious may vary