Now in it's third edition, The One has been upped again in terms of hills and mileage. Only the tough and crazy need to apply as this can be seen as Surrey's version of a Belgian Spring Classic. 17 hills, 80 miles, 9500ft...make sure you bring that chamois cream along cos you're gonna be sore!
NITP Ride Breakdown:
0-10miles: You begin at Staple Lane, a climb which winds its way over the horizon but your legs will be so fresh, it won't even feel like a climb, more of a gentle introduction into the day's pain! On a clear day, glance over to your left and you will see the skyline of our capital, quite impressive as you are literally 20 odd miles from the city. Be careful of the hairpin as you descend down Combe and shake the legs to keep them loose as you make your way to the quaint little town of Shere. Houndhouse is your next ascent but it's more of a 2 mile drag (quite long for this part of the country) and doesn't have anything nasty in it's DNA so just conserve the energy (you'll thank us!). Once you've crested the top, take the first left and enjoy the wooded descent into another quaint little village this time in the form of Peaslake. A MTB hub with a lovely little shop serving homemade cakes and sandwiches, you shouldn't need a fuel up yet but you've got the option. Cross over the village to climb up Radnor Road, the forest lines itself all the way up to Holmbury Hill, a mecca for the off roaders in these parts. It is a shaky descent from here, the road is not in the best condition and in some parts it gets very narrow with hidden corners so do be wary of rough patches and any oncoming traffic.
Polka Dot Challenge #1: Staple Lane, 2.5km, 15%
Polka Dot Challenge #2 Houndhouse Rd, Shere, 3,3km, 11% max
Polka Dot Challenge #3: Radnor Rd, Peaslake, 1.9km, 13% max
10-20miles: A new addition to the series and it has been added to satisfy those with psychotic minds as the next hill is a climb we avoid because yes, we can't stand the pain. Barhatch is like the Katie Hopkins of Surrey (no similes needed!). Do not underestimate her, the gradient does not let up and it stays in the high teens until you hit the final ramp where it hits 20% plus. You need fresh legs for this which is why it's the 4th climb of the day and not the last! If you don't need to throw up or have a nap after this, descend back down Houndhouse for climb number 5. We have tried to limit doubling back onto roads or revisiting places but it's a cruise back down to Shere and there's more homely little shops if you need to stock up. Your next climb is not exactly a speed bump though. Those who know Combe Lane well will tell you to save the legs for the hairpin then it's a short ramp to the top. Allez Nutrition are normally nestled in the car park to the left and bake some great cakes and bars and your last main chance of a refuel for a while so at this point, build up on your rations and reset your pain receptors as it's going to get a whole lot worse.
Polka Dot Challenge #5: Combe Lane, 1.5km, 19% max
20-30miles: Another short nasty climb awaits. Crocknorth is like a mini Whitedown (you'll meet her soon!) but the pain is short lived as the length of this climb means the hurt is over before it really starts to feel like waterboarding at a black site in 24 (There's not Jack Bauer to save you today!). Once you ride under the bridge, you're nearly there but unless you have the makeup of a mountain goat, try to save the legs for what's yet to come. You'll turn right onto Whitedown and take it as a recon opportunity when you're descending, maybe count how many who look like they are about to feint to really grasp what this climb will feel like soon. A slight undulating journey to your next climb and it's another newbie to the series. On a wet day, this lane can get quite mucky but fingers crossed for dry weather as you're gonna need the traction. Tanhurst can be argued to be one of the hardest ways up Leith, we accidentally found this on our first time and only tackle it if we feel like a Columbian (That's Quintana, not a drug lord!). The gradient here is not friendly and it's not until you pass the lovely nestled house on the left can you begin to even think about relaxing.
Polka Dot Challenge #6: Crocknorth Rd, 0.7km, 18% max
30-40miles: Another new kid on the block. Broomehall Road is a deceiving climb. When you circle around Leith Hill to find this climb, it won't look like anything too tough but it's a grind. It's not short either so you're here for a good 5-7 minutes in the hurt zone. The difficulty comes from it's windy layout and the top being completely hidden until you reach the church and even then, it kicks for about 20m to really put the nail in the coffin (sorry, bad pun!). We would say your final proper beast of the day is ahead but the hills after this are not going to be kind. Get yourself pumped up for Whitedown. It needs to be tackled with respect and if you go hard too early, let's just say we hope you don't need to clip out and stop as the gradient won't let you restart! Be ready for the hairpin because from here on in, it's you and the climb, winner takes all!
Polka Dot Challenge #8: Broomehall Road, 2.7km, 12.6% max
Polka Dot Challenge #9: Whitedown, 2.0km, 24% max
40-50miles: This is the calmness in between two storms. The first cyclone has past but on the horizon is another depression developing. It's this 10 mile section you need to make sure you've got your survival kit: legs? lungs? gels? water? bike? conscience?! If you're missing any of these, take a left after Whitedown to make your way to the finish line. If not, enjoy the rolling road over Ranmore and the speedy descent into Dorking. Box Hill is next on the to do list and it's a climb which your legs will thank us for. Surface is crisp, views are stunning and you've got the choice of greasy Rykers at the bottom or 'el natural' of the National Trust Cafe at the top. Either way, fuel up because this is your last main refreshment stop before the next weather system arrives.
50-60miles: After you've taken your photos for Instagram at the viewpoint, zoom down Box and cross under the a24 via the underpass to roll on to your next climb. With fresh legs, Ranmore Common Road (Westhumble) is nothing to be scared about but it's hairpin at the top might start to twist those muscle fibres a little more. It's a single lane track for the first half so just be wary of passing traffic and the muck/gravel often present in the middle of the road. We have thrown in another descent of Ranmore so it would be a good chance to develop your confidence on your downhill skills. It has sections where the speed picks up suddenly so just make sure you can see past the corner before pushing on. Loop around Dorking town centre and start the long ascent of Coldharbour Lane. At this point of the ride, your legs may start to feel a bit shaky and it's going to be down to your mental resolve to conquer these last chapters of our epic adventure. Coldharbour has a few ramps out of Whitedown's playbook so be on your guard.
Polka Dot Challenge #11: Ranmore Common Rd, Westhumble, 1.6km, 18% max
60-70miles: Maybe with all these newbies we should just rename this ride New Kids On The Block?! Get the Wahlbergs involved and have a massive 90s party?! (Just a vision I had!). Back to the climbs, at request of our dear cycling buddy Chris Gregory who is literally like fine wine (watch him climb and descend!), Anstie Lane starts out as that friend who's all nice to your face, ask how you are, never forgets a birthday, but like Christian Bale out of American Psycho with Phil Collins 'Sussudio' playing in the background, in a flick of a switch, eats your goldfish, swamps your house with hate mail and puts dog poo through your letter box! Ok maybe, we are exaggerating a bit but Chris forgot to tell us that this 'gorgeous' little climb does have a mean side to it so save something for the final ramp. Roll back down Coldharbour to meet the next member of the reformed boyband. You've descended it twice, now it's your turn to climb it. You should of noticed it's full of ramps, gradient kicks up then plateaus and it does this all the way up to the common. The trees do open up to some stunning view points but whether you'll have the chance to enjoy them all depends what state you're in!
Polka Dot Challenge #13: Anstie Lane, 1.3km, 18% max
Polka Dot Challenge #14: Ranmore Road, Dorking 1.8km, 15% max
70-80miles: The storm is swirling throwing out it's final tantrums and on paper, this is the easiest section. In real life and the way your legs are going to be feeling, we are not going to lie, this is going to hurt. It has short sections in the high teens and its windy. Chapel Lane is a climb not often visited by the hundreds who visit the Surrey Hills or it's climbed from the opposite way as it's approach to Box and it's neighbouring hills. After this though and we promise you this, you will be climbing two gradual climbs to start to cool down the legs. If you need to top up the water, there's a few shops along the a246 as you make your way to our favourite climb in the area in the form of Beech Avenue. The surface is decent and even better if you descend this. If you can start to enjoy your accomplishment, please do so but if you're like us, you might start to wonder if giving birth is more painful?! (Obviously it's not but as a man, we will never experience this...we hope!). Turn right and descend with care down Crocknorth, from your climb hours ago, you'll know its steep and the junction at the end is rough and abrupt. Turn left onto Green Dene and either give it everything you've got left or casually spin those well worked but tired legs revelling in the accomplishment that you are now a Onesie (our name for our groupies!).
Polka Dot Challenge #15: Chapel Lane, Polesden Lacy, 0.8km, 20% max
Polka Dot Challenge #16: Beech Avenue/Critten Lane, Effingham, 3.3km, 8% max