What has 8 legs, snakes through the leafy lanes of Leith Hill and makes your legs feel like overweight baggage at the airport?!....Ladies and gentlemen, courtesy of the creator John Leitch and Surrey advisor Andy Lulham, we bring you 'The Octopus'!
NITP Ride Breakdown:
0-10miles: So where to begin on this infamous Surrey Downs challenge? You can have a go and try to carve your own route but we are sticking the original blueprint. Dorking town centre is your HQ for this feat and you won't be short of any refreshment stops around here. There's near to or over (depends what site you rely on!) 7000ft and 60 odd miles to contend with so do stock up on the nutrition and fluids before you set of. Your first leg to chew on is Coldharbour, a long drag with a nasty kick halfway up, it will definitely warm up the system. The key to this ride is saving the energy and pacing yourself for the last remaining legs so use this climb to settle yourself for the next few hours. Once you hit the top of Leith, just remember when you pass through The Windy Gap (you'll know this what this will be when you ride through it!), there is another kick when you rejoin Leith Hill Road which does catch out Leith Hill virgins. Roll down through Abinger to join the a25 and cut back in to begin your next leg of Holmbury St. Mary.
Leg #1: Coldharbour Lane, Dorking, 3.1km, 18% max
10-20 miles: Warmed up yet? If you're not, you've missed that boat! One of the shortest climbs out of the 8 but has its kick just before the prep school to disrupt your rhythm, Holmbury St. Mary is a quiet little climb so you can have some time to yourself to question why you've made yourself do this or just question life in general?! Take a right again onto Leith Hill Rd and when the road forks, keep right to descend down to Ockley. In the wet, it can be a bit rough so make sure you're pads are in good condition. Loop back round for your 3rd leg in the form of Broomehall Rd, an open unudualting climb where the gradient is never really at a consistent level.
Leg #2: Holmbury St.Mary, 1km, 16% max
20-30miles: Not even half way yet and the harshest ascents are still to come! When you descend down this time, bear left into the village of Abinger just so you don't get bored of seeing the similar roads. Turn right on the a25 this time and turn back into Leith Hill Road, one of the longest climbs of the day and the length stretches out the gradient so you can opt to cruise up to save the legs for the harder climbs to come. Once over, pass The Windy Gap the opposite way, start to descend down Coldharbour but look out for the turning on the left of Logmore Lane.
Leg 4: Leith Hill Rd, Abinger, 3.8km, 9.6% max
30-40miles: Logmore Lane will lead you back on the a25, this stretch can be a little busy with traffic so just take caution. You will not be on it for long as when you see the pub in Wotton (no not pint stop, its your next climb!). Sheephouse Lane is leg 5 and once you get over its hideous steep start, its another consistent gradient to contest with. Once you've rejoined Leith Hill Road, back down you go into Ockley. Slip past Broomehall Rd though because the next leg is down the road.
40-50miles: This next climb was first introduced to us by a good pal, Chris Gregory, and although it starts off quaint and idyllic, it has a nasty end so keep something in reserve. This is a single track lane so just be wary of any traffic coming down as there's a couple of blind corners and getting going again is a challenge in itself!
Leg 6: Anstie Lane, Dorking, 1.4km, 16% max
50-62miles: Once over the top again, descend down Holmbury, at the bottom run left to roll to the south point of Leith Hill Rd. This climb is featured on the Ride100 and also on the Official 100climbs list so you can tick it off your palmares. In our opinion, the worst leg is the last leg. Tanhurst Lane. If this was my route creation, I would of got this out of the way at the start because its a grind all the way up so dig deep! Pass the Windy Gap for the final time and shake the lactic acid out of the legs as you enjoy the fast descent down Coldharbour to buy yourself a well deserved hot choc' and cake!