Dulux London Revolution 2017
Ride Breakdown Day 2
So Day 1 was all about the city and the hills of Surrey. Day 2 is all about some testing little climbs of the Chilterns, an area not often visited by the city cyclists. Much quieter than Surrey, the Chilterns is full of deep ridges and valleys which in turn gives way to some climbs which make their way onto the 100Climbs list! If you have survived this section, it's all about rolling across the top of North London to complete the journey back to HQ. It's only 86 odd miles, a doddle really...(shakes his head and wonder if it's too late to add an electric motor in the bottom bracket?!).
NITP Ride Breakdown:
0-10miles: Carb it up big time! Make sure those legs are stretched and ready for action because the main test comes early on on this days ride. Seriously, take this first section to find those muscle fibres again which are probably wishing for a more of a lie in! The guys who have organised the route have got the thumbs up from us here as straight away, you are rolling on back country lanes which will eventually loop round back into yet another little village this time in the form of Cookham. Nestled by the Thames, this town is popular for walks and a gateway for cyclists to the Chilterns. There is a small climb up into Cookham Dean but it's not testing enough to be a Polka Dot Challenge so use this 'bump' to get yourself in the right mindset for the day.
10-20miles: Ok, this is where the hurt begins but it's more of a papercut (although they can be quite sore!) than a freshly openly snapped fibia on its way to going green (this is a hint for the type of hill coming up soon!). Roll down a Box Hill style zig zag descent where, surprise surprise, another gorgeous town situated along the bank of the Thames awaits. Marlow is popular in these parts and the bridge is a personal favourite of ours, a throwback to the days of good old suspension bridges. If you need to pick up an supplies, we suggest do it now because once you're in the Chilterns, you're often in the middle of nowhere. Head straight through Marlow and you'll be climbing through Marlow Common, a shallow but very long climb. Put it this way, depending on your climbing ability, you're gonna be here for the next 10-20 minutes. But this is not the hill that's going to make or break you so enjoy it rather than fear it.
Polka Dot Challenge #1: Marlow Common, 6.2km, 13% max
20-30miles: If we had our way, we would take you onto the greatest little pit stop around at The Barn at Turnville Heath. But it's not our route so stop whining and get climbing! One thing is slightly annoying about the Chilterns is that you're sometimes surrounded by tall hedges hiding the stunning views of the valleys so unless you're a local to these parts and know the best roads, you can get lost through the hedges and fields. You'll be climbing your second hill of the day not long after the your first ascent of day 2. Bedlow Ridge is a newbie to us but we have done our research and it's a testing little climb. Watch out for the first section of this climb, the gradient stays in the low to mid-teens but will level out. That said, the climb is 2km in length so you're going vertical for a little while. So you know that climb we was telling you about which has the pain factor of an operation without anaesthetic? Well, its coming...
Polka Dot Challenge #3: Bedlow Ridge, 2km, 14% max
30-40miles: A not too difficult descent into Princes Risborough will bring you to the foot of the Queen climb of the day. We didn't realise the guys and girls at London Revolution had put this in until a few weeks ago and although technically we haven't been up this hill but we've been down it and that's all the recon we needed to know! Kop Hill is part of a gruesome pairing of hills. Whiteleaf is the evil sister and that was horrid. Kop is known to be worse. Climbed on a previous Tour of Britain, if it's tough for the pro's, us amateurs are not exactly gonna fly up it?! If you're feeling not up to it at this point, recover before you tackle this b.......sorry we will refrain from swearing! Just over a kilometre long, what it lacks in length it makes up in girth, I mean gradient! You will be visiting sections of 20% and it doesn't let up, it's one big long ramp. So knuckle down, dig deep and conquer this sucker!
Sorry, it's not over?! What do you mean it's not over?! You said that was it?! You know when you read right at the start of day 1 how this was going to be a great way to see the capital and the surrounding areas? Well they've thrown another kicker in just to rip those muscle fibres even further so you won't even be able to sit properly let alone walk the next day! Few miles down the road you'll find Lodge Hill, a short but tough climb. Another tick off our hill list but the research suggests you'll be wanting the reserve tank for this so take the lull in between these two climbs to fuel up and shake any lactic acid that has moved in and squatted for the weekend. On a side note, this will be the point of the highest elevation over the course of the weekend so it's literally downhill from here!
Polka Dot Challenge #4: Kop Hill, 1.1km, 25% max
Polka Dot Challenge #5: Lodge Hill, 0.8km, 15% max
40-50miles: How's your legs? Still attached to your body?! Good because you've got one last main climb and as we are mostly new to this area, our recon is now all virtual. So according to strava and veloviewer (if you're not on there, what are you doing with your life?!), it's a gradual climb which will be music to your legs! Chesham Lane has an average gradient of 5% over 1.3km so it's more or less a mini Box Hill. You're halfway home, that's a good sign after you've racked up some serious mileage. Put it this way, its 160 miles to Belgium so put that in your spokes and spin it! Now in our past life as a semi-pro footballer, we have played football in these parts and just remember a drive home after one game in Chalfont having to crawl the most dense fog ever seen so to say you'll be in the sticks is an understatement. You're a few miles from the m25 still and won't be re-entering our beloved capital for a while still so take as much of the countryside and woodlands as you can in, you're on your way home!
Polka Dot Challenge #6: Chesham Lane, Aylesbury 1.3km, 13% max
50-60miles: You can start to relax. You passed the main tests. Now it's onto rolling roads taking in some more lovely English towns. Your main visit in this section is Kings Langley. An historic town where apparently the first Duke of York is buried and a so called Anthony Joshua went to school here. As you pass through here, you'll be crossing the Grand Union Canal which if you feel like being a rebel. will lead you back to central London! From the elevation graph, you might encounter the odd bump so if you're being egged on for a sprint by a fellow rider, either wipe the floor with him Karate Kid style or be the tortoise, slow and steady wins the race!
60-70miles: You're just south of St. Albans, these surrounding communities are popular with the city workers with the direct commutes into the city centre. The roads are starting to flatten out more but although we like to be the one leading (we like to see where we are going and avoid potholes etc.), it might just be wise taking turns drafting with someone so you can let the legs rest in intervals and save energy for the sprint home. According to the Revolution crew, this is the woodland section so this is your last opportunity to soak up the tranquillity of the green belt lands that restrict our over populated city from expanding.
70-85miles: You'll be navigating through some woodlands but you should start to feel that adrenaline rush knowing that the pain is near an end. All those miles have drifted away and you're on the home stretch. Aside from a few minor bumps in the road, lap it up. Take in the glory. Head back into the capital. Fist bump your bike. Scream a little. Cry a lot. 190 miles (yes we've rounded it up, that's what you do in maths!) smashed, some killer climbs conquered, memories made. Was it worth it? Hell yeah, that's what cycling is about! Would you do it again? Find our legs first then ask us in a few months time when we've reconfigured how to walk again!
For Day 1