Crazy Legs letting the juniors choose what next
Bent on Kent
We had bludgeoned Windsor and Box Hill to death this winter, having gone there so often, and we were in no mood for doing laps in the park either. With the sun reluctant to make an appearance, our patience was wearing thin, and we were itching to take our hands off the brakes. It was time to take to roads less ventured. It was time to return south to the Garden of Kent.
Parents juggling commitments and partners promising to be home for lunch, we were on a tight schedule. So carving out a new route, whilst keeping as much punch out of the ride kept us motivated. Our first January ride meant a recce on an alternative plan and finding out if we still knew how to ride with each other.
The wheels on the bus, they go…
It’s a treat to have SmokeZog, Tigger, Baron, CrazyLegs and our guest rider, Enrico, on his first Sunday ride with us.
Enrico, Tigger and Crazy Legs having a hilarious time
A steady spin to Cadence Cycling, followed by a hair-raising whizz down Crystal Palace and we’re quickly in the Garden. SmokeZog tapping out the lead, with Crazy Legs and the Baron eager to pace up the climbs, we find ourselves saying ‘hello’ to many of the local clubs we encounter.
The false-flat before we swing back home
We’re familiar with the first part of the route. The roads narrow considerably and if we lose contact, it’s a simple of matter of deciding whether to give chase and minimise the time loss, or let the leaders wait. I comfort myself, believing that I’m giving them a moment to refuel as they wait.
Crazy Legs (again) and the Baron giving chase. Whilst the rest of us sit up and navigate the alternative route.
Keeping it lean
We’re cutting a dozen miles off the regular route to make the time. It still means some tricky descending with the additional challenge of horse-drawn-carts on narrow roads that are popular in the area. Approaching Crystal Palace, that thrilling ride out now means a lumpy return home.
Naturally, the Baron and Crazy Legs beat me to it.
Time: 3:36:49hrs | Distance: 88.8km | Elevation 964m
Arriba and her chariot
A week on, and we’re back again to take another big bite out of Kent. The Garden is a popular route, but not busy as other more famous rides local to London. With many of the long-established clubs and the heritage Herne Hill carries in the neighbourhood, it’s safe to say that Kent is that dream ride, or at least, the ride we would all like to have on our doorsteps.
This morning I ride out with Arriba to meet the squad. Conditions are better, giving us one less thing to worry about and more time to savour. Today’s players are: Arriba, Brutalis King Cog, Steve, Xavier and WVW.
Straight outta somewhere badass
The rise on Beddlestead Lane does us good, but less so is WVW quickly putting the hammer down. He’s clearly had some strength training over he winter. As one of the TTT leaders in the Tour of Cambridgeshire he’s giving us a taste of what’s to come in June. Brutalis on the other hand isn’t having any of it, and demonstrates that experience can tip the scale as he snatches back the final metres.
The familiar lumps home make way for the last sprint back to Crystal Palace. We’re together at the bottom of the climb, but get separated by the lights halfway up. Only two of us are in for a chance, and today my luck is still back there with the lights – Brutalis gets to the top first. Humbly he blames the traffic lights for holding up the rest of the pack, but I think he had this no matter what the colour.
“Lights,” he says. He was ahead by a mile.
Time: 3:41:07hrs | Distance: 89.8km | Elevation 967m