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  • raven 11:56 PM on June 29, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Box Hill, Century, , , Martin, , Surrey Downs, Sutton, Zig Zag Road   

    First encounter with Box Hill 

    Surrey Downs & Box Hill ride

    The original plan was to ride to Brighton but having started really late, it became clear by the 1/3rd distance mark that I wasn’t going to make it in time for a return train. So, after getting over the Surrey Downs, I changed route and headed over to the famous Box Hill.

    Frankly, it was a disappointment at first. I kept waiting for a killer climb but nothing came and suddenly I found myself in middle of the Box Hill village. This famous climb into Box Hill is featuring prominently in the road race at next year’s Olympics yet even the couple of Cat 5 climbs (acc to MapMyRide) in Surrey Downs had been much harder. The disappointment (actually, relief) was short-lived.

    A quick review of the area on Google Maps in terrain view revealed a sharply rising road on other side of the village called, appropriately, Zig Zag road. At that point, I had two options – to head back the way I had come and just mark Box Hill as conquered or to head down the Zig Zag road and see for myself how much of a challenge it’d be.

    Well, when I looked up after the first switchback on the way down to see how high the car I had just passed was, it became clear I may have bitten more than my legs & wheels could chew. Thankfully, I still had an exit clause. I could take an alternate route by passing Box Hill and climbing barely half of what ZZ road required in over 4 times the distance.

    Took a short break, had a sizzling hot hotdog, a pepsi and some rest. Also used the time to research a bit and discovered that it was this Zig Zag road clilmb that was to feature on the Olympic road race route, not the easy tweasy route I had taken up earlier.

    That bit of info was reason enough, so headed back up the Zig Zag rd.

    Thankfully, saw a couple of other riders on MTBs just about 100m ahead of me so put in a bit of extra effort and quickly caught up with them. After that it was just a matter of using whatever of my will- & leg-power I could muster to stick with them. Made the climb without stopping even once and at least half the credit goes to those two fellas. Having them around prevented me from giving up midway or even stopping to take a break. It was the first time I realised how having a training partner, or few, could help one stretch self farther and improve faster.

    After cresting the hill and passing through the village, it was a clean, mostly level or slightly downhill, 12 km stretch before I hit civilisation and red lights again. So, gave it a go and averaged, despite three red lights a little over 30kmph in that section. Once I entered Sutton though, it was just another urban ride with the magic of Surrey Downs and Box Hill well behind me. It became so boring that after a short break to buy some water, I even forgot to start the garmin (add 2.6km to the distance in the pic above for actual ride distance). Took a slightly roundabout way home so I could complete 100kms on the garmin and tick off this week’s century ride.

    Done :)

    P.S.: Just saw that I have totalled 859kms so far in June. Wondering if I should go for a 41-ish km ride tomorrow to take that total above 900 mark :)
    P.P.S.: Total for the year, despite the dismal first 4 months, now reads 1200 miles. Still 520 odd miles short of Martin. I had planned to equal his mileage this year. Seems now like a tough ask.

  • raven 9:26 PM on June 21, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 25kmph, , Century, , ,   

    Another ride to Cambridge, part of my weekly century ride plan. Unfortunately, caught every possible red light in London & Cambridge and thus missed out on 25kmph average speed. This despite a desperate effort where I averaged almost 32kmph for 20kms. Final average moving speed – 24.9 kmph.

    SJW To Cambridge - 2

    Gotta try harder next time.

  • raven 9:16 AM on June 15, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Century, Cooling Down, , Downham Market, , Imperial   

    First 100 miler 

    Failed to reach the target destination but still completed my first imperial century yesterday.

    Had planned to ride to King’s Lynn on the North Sea coast in Norfolk. Unfortunately, a late departure meant I wasn’t sure I’d make it in time for the last train to London. So, stopped at a small town (or large village?) about 10 miles earlier. The distance already read 156km so rode around the town to take it over 161km mark :)

    SJW To Downham

    I’ve got a problem though. Every time I come back from one of these longish rides, the body just refuses to cool down. Like yesterday, though I took a long shower right after getting back, the body stayed burning hot till late into the night. It almost felt like somewhere inside the body was still burning calories at the same rate as while riding at the peak. 2nd consecutive ride this happened and I have no idea how to stop that. Any help is really, really, REALLY appreciated!

    P.S.: The sun killed me! The temperature was only 25-27 C but was downing humongous amounts of water and still feeling dehydrated-ish all the time.

    P.P.S: Haven’t test ridden the Synapse yet. If I can stay awake, then might test ride it today.

    • Gaurav Patel 9:22 AM on June 15, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Holy moly! Congratulations on your first 100 mile ride! That number seems absolutely insane to me. What kept you going? Were you listening to music? I would have eventually got bored and stopped!

      6,259 calories burnt… wow. Just wow.

      Congratulations again man, that’s an epic achievement.

      • raven 9:44 AM on June 15, 2011 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks Gaurav!

        Nope, I don’t listen to music when riding – find it really dangerous since it reduces the audio feedback of traffic / happenings on the road.

        What kept me going? Well, the idea of getting there as soon as I could :)

        Thanks again dude!

    • Blot 10:32 AM on June 15, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Gaaah. 100 miles, 7 hours of riding, more than 6000 calories? The mind is thoroughly boggled. Congratulations! (Visualise jaw on floor and pathetic attempts to pull it upwards.)

      Re. the cooling, what about stuff you’d’ve tried to combat the heat back home? Like sitting in a wet t-shirt (ideally in front of or below a fan), drinking buttermilk or ice-cream shakes, lying in a bath…

      Oh, I know another one: standing on our balcony eating Waitrose tiramisu. ;)

      • Gaurav Patel 10:37 AM on June 15, 2011 Permalink | Reply

        I like the idea of lying in a bath. You could empty a bag of ice into it too :/

        • raven 12:29 PM on June 15, 2011 Permalink | Reply

          Thanks dude. Just tried that. Seems to have worked really well. Though it takes lots of balls to get into that fucking freezing bath. brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrhhhhhhhhhhhh :/

      • raven 12:28 PM on June 15, 2011 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks Blot! Though it was a lot of effort, I won’t put much into that 6k calorie figure as I’m not sure how Garmin calculates that. Specially since I haven’t yet installed the cadence sensor.

        As for the cooling off stuff, just tried the cold bath technique. It does take a lot of balls to do that shit. More than the ride itself required! But the good part is that it seems to have done the trick. Feeling better already :)

        Waitrose tiramisu – Finally tried it last week. Rags got it for me as a reward after the 100km ride to Cambridge. I have to agree with JD, it’s the best (pre-packaged) tiramisu I’ve ever had. On the overall list, probably #4 or 5.

        P.S.: If you haven’t had lunch yet, how about I treat you to Nando’s chicken? I’ve got a coupon for free full chicken and Rags refuses to help :|

        • Blot 12:43 PM on June 15, 2011 Permalink | Reply

          Tempting, tempting, but too much to do today! Raincheck for tomorrow if you’re not going today?

  • raven 10:41 PM on June 9, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Century, , ,   

    2nd metric century within a week. Rode to Cambridge today, about 102.5 kms, and took the train back. Wonderful ride. No hills (unlike the Chilterns enroute to Oxford) and luckily, didn’t get any rain on me, though the roads were pretty wet in places.

    SJW To Cambridge - 2nd metric century

    Also, trying the Cannondale Synapse tomorrow. If I like how it rides, might buy it as soon as we’ve moved to the new place.

  • raven 9:49 PM on June 3, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Camden, Century, , , Regents Park, Wandsworth, Windsor   

    A century… finally! 

    1st Metric Century

    Completed my 1st metric century today. Am damn happy to have finally gotten this behind me and amused by the manner in which it finally got done :)

    Thing is I’d attempted this multiple times last October & November. Unfortunately, the October attempts were marred by the rotten, bent rear wheel and the November ones by sudden rains and (once) snowfall. The result is that I have a dozen rides between 80 & 95kms in those two months.

    Well today’s ride was planned to be a 75km straight return to / from Windsor. Despite the strong head/cross wind on the way back, decided to take a detour towards Wandsworth to check out the bikes at the (bigger) Evans Cycles outlet there. As a result of that diversion it was already 83kms by the time I made it to Hyde Park and I wasn’t really feeling too tired. So, decided to take another small detour and do a lap of Regent’s Park and return via Camden Town. Just about made it across the century mark before making it home.

    The best thing about the ride – the legs were feeling good even after I’d gotten home so with another small break added, I think I can make it past an imperial century as well. Of course, only if I can find a long enough route without too many hills and am lucky with the rain and wheel!

    Shall feel good with this for now :)

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