It’s always a good idea to check the weather before going on a long cycle ride, which is precisely what I did yesterday. Cloudy and 18 degrees Celsius for the next 8 hours seemed like pretty reasonable conditions to get a decent ride in, so I headed off into Kent to find some hills.
Unless there was an undetected freak rain cloud that was following me around South East London and Kent then I think the weather forecasters at the BBC got it plain wrong. I spent well over an hour in heavy rain and was completely drenched by the time I got home. And this isn’t the first time it’s happened to me, funny how the weather never seems to be better than predicted.
On the upside, I found an area with some decent hills. The area around Toys Hill near Edenbridge has some reasonably long and steep climbs, it’s also quite close to Yorks Hill, which I recently rode on the King Of The Downs Sportive. I’ve been cycling around Dorking in Surrey for any hill practice for the Étape, Leith and Box Hill mostly, and it made a welcome change to tackle something different.
Unfortunately the weather meant the roads were pretty greasy, so descending was particularly treacherous and I had to ride extremely slowly which takes a lot of the fun out of cycling hills. On a couple of stretches I even got wheel spin climbing uphill, this was particularly an issue on a difficult 25% stretch on Downe Road near Cudham, I stoped at the top to take a drink and even cars were spinning on it.
In all though 1,110 metres of climbing in 73km was a decent work out and, most importantly, I definitely feel a lot more comfortable on the hills.