Without a doubt, I will be eating Soreen at some point tomorrow AND I conquered Box Hill today #JustSayin.
A few weeks ago, Ash contacted me having been cajoled into accompanying me on a cycle by the infamous LePlum, social butterfly. Having not had the time to really sleep or eat properly over the past few days, I rocked up to Guildford with more than a little trepidation but I needn’t have worried.
Ash and his vibrant Soreen jersey were the perfect partners to a glorious morning on the bike. Having never met before, I was surprised his patience and uncanny ability to push me to but not beyond my limits, alternating between allowing me to set the pace and getting me to chase him up and down the Surrey Hills. He didn’t even shout at me when, about to “bonk” due to delayed banana intake (and vigorous cycling), I had a mini meltdown at a roundabout… ooops.
With that in mind, I have re-prioritised my worries about the New Zealand 4000
No 1. Nutrition. Funnily enough, I don’t think the fact that I have had biscuits for my evening meal every night this week was very helpful in preparing for my training ride. I need to work out what is going to work for me to stop me spacing out. Soreen maybe? Ash’s jersey was certainly a good advertisement! At least I am beginning to learn and had packed flapjack and a banana.
No 2. Mechanics. My bike started making horrific noises and I had absolutely no idea what to do. We managed to sort something out and The Bike Who Has No Name stopped grumbling but this really highlighted how little I know about actually maintaining my sole mode of transport. I must book onto a bike mechanics course.
No 3. Hills. This was my bumpiest ride to date and I desperately need to practise more. Though I did manage to conquer them all, I am Captain Slow and it is only going to be harder with loaded panniers and bigger hills. (Although I am pleased with my progress so far)
No 4. Company. I have really enjoyed these rides, having someone to keep me company and I think I will miss that in NZ and I am sure that my speed will be the worse for being allowed to set my own pace! Please let me know of friends who might tag along…
No 5. Directions. I am yet to participate in a bike ride where we don’t miss a turning. I need to prepare my directions amazingly. I must buy the Kennett Brothers’ book.
Conquering Box Hill! It really is quite over-hyped as a hill and I certainly didn’t find it as challenging as the Green Monster on my London to Brighton ride but it was still a good push and I was chuffed to be at the top. It was also quite fun bribing a beleaguered daddy with flapjack (for his daughter who was mid tantrum due to the fact the cafe wasn’t yet open) to take this photo:
Highs and lows… What goes up must come down! I just love the views the hills reward you with and then you get a bonus prize – being able to whizz down the hills you have conquered.
Village people… In the stunning West Sussex village of Rusper, we had a quick comfort break and took it in turns to guard the bikes. I have never met such friendly villagers – keen to chat, offer recommendations and wish us well. I’m quickly falling in love with this part of the world. Maybe I am a southerner at heart after all, even if I was picked up on my northern accent by one of the locals!
Camaraderie! At the end of the cycle, cycle buddy number 1 – Emily – was the first to give me Strava Kudos on the route and Ash said he’d be up for another cycle. Hopefully this will be the beginning of something excellent. Wouldn’t it be great to get all of my new cycling friends together with their cycling friends and create our own mini event?
I wonder who cycle buddy number three will be! I have a few offers, so I need to get some options checked in calendars.
I have new kit to review and my new home arrived this week too – I can’t wait to take that for its test run. It’s so light! It weighs less than my D-lock. I know you can’t wait for the write up…