Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Box Hill cavalier

What goes up must come down
Spinning wheel got to go 'round.

I have Blood, Sweat and Tears to thank for Sunday's earworm that accompanied me on my Father's Day jaunt to Box Hill.

Nestled on the east side of the Mole Valley, Box Hill is a delightful place and provides the Surrey cyclist with the merest soup├žon of an Alpine climb. Averaging around a 5.5% gradient over its 2.5 km, the zig-zag road takes you from a roundabout on the A24 to a dizzying 172 metres above sea level. And a lovely little cake shop at the top is your reward.

But not for me the temptations of National Trust sponge slices. My aim was to do as many repetitions of the hill as I could in the measly hour and a half I had at my disposal. Thanks to the generosity of some early leavers, I procured a free ticket for the parking area at the summit and rolled my gentle way downhill to the start, admiring the stunning scenery as I descended.

Managed six ascents before having to call it a day, which equates to almost one full alpine climb. OK, maybe around three-quarters of the first ascent on the Marmotte, the Col du Glandon.

The good news is, I knew there was plenty more left in the tank. I'd barely broken sweat. The other tremendous thing I discovered was that I can fit my bike, sans wheels, into the boot of our tiny Renault Clio, which meant I didn't have to have my heart in my mouth as the lightly clamped bike swayed in the wind while pinned to the roof-rack.

On a slightly irksome note, my left calf muscle seems to be somewhat tender, but given I'll be more or less resting up over the next week and a half, it should settle down in time for the big day.

It certainly didn't stymie my SCR on the way home this evening. A guy on a Trek hybrid gave me the hurry-up from Tower Bridge Road all the way to Cold Blow Lane and I'm pleased he went his separate way as I'd had a bit of trouble shaking him off. Legs were juddering and the lungs were screaming as I dismounted, but the grin on my face was visible for some distance, I expect.

And I'm actually beginning to look forward to Saturday week now. I'll try a few more hill reps over the coming week and will simulate a two-hour alpine climb on the turbo, but other than that I think I'm as prepared as I'm going to be, so I may as well enjoy what's coming.

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