I took myself off on a pilgrimage to the venue of the Olympic road cycling venue in the Surrey Hills on Saturday as a follow up to the Brighton ride the day before. The only slight issue was that I didn’t really know where I was going and I was riding on my own. But like they say, it’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey so I set off cosy and warm in the belief that it was the Easter Weekend and there would be a veritable breadcrumb trail of cyclists leading out of London all the way to Box Hill because surely this is what London cyclists do on the weekend. All I would have to do was follow it. It turns out that notion was somewhat mis-guided as I encountered precious few other lycra louts on my journey through the burbs of London and those that I did see were ambling along at too slow a pace to follow in the hope that they would lead me to Dorking via the back roads. So it was using nothing more than the sun, a misplaced sense of direction, a few ‘I think I’ve been here before’ moments and The Force (supplied by iPhone) that I navigated my way through the glamorous highlights of Mitcham, Carshalton and other places I’ve already forgotten but to my amazement when looking at the map it was actually a pretty good route! See for yourself here.
Eventually I found myself at the top of Box Hill without even having had to climb it which I thought was something of an achievement in itself but a conscientious voice inside my head (who clearly was glossing over the thought of the return journey) insisted that we do the climb and so we descended down to the Burford Bridge hotel via the Zig Zag road before turning around and heading back up it. Thankfully the sun decided to put in a cameo appearance at this point which took the edge of the very low single digit temperatures and I dutifully climbed back up the hill past the painted tarmac with proclamations of “Wigtory” and “Cav for PM” helping to fuel my Team GB fantasies. Much to my surprise I ignored the siren like lure of the cake at the cafe and carried on going all the way to Epsom!
Around this point the powers of intuition did start to wane somewhat and the iPhone had to come out a little more frequently as I tried to dodge the main roads and navigate my way through Ewell towards Kingston and Richmond Park from where I knew I’d be able to drag myself home. Apart from a rather scenic route through Kingston one way system it went pretty much to plan and I was fairly hallucinating about the large cup of coffee and packet of chocolate chip biscuits I was going to demolish as I cycled back up the Trinity Road some 3 hours after bouncing out of the door.
Time for a couple of days rest now before some light riding this week in final preparation for the first of my 3 challenges. The cobbles of the Paris – Roubaix Challenge on Saturday.