Distance: 52.3 miles. Elevation: 4441 ft.
The main purpose of this route was to ride up Yorks Hill, scene of the famous Catford Hill Climb, purported to be the oldest cycle race in the world. I didn’t want to kill myself so I deliberately left out any other major ascents like Toys Hill, Ide Hill, etc. Although there were still some other good climbs in there.
I was taking a chance using the Colnago because it doesn’t have as low a gear as the Defy (30T vs 32T on the back). The weather was colder than I was expecting (15°C) with a westerly wind. I wore shorts, mits and no base-layer and I was cold for most of the journey – legs, feet and hands.
I took it reasonably easy, saving my energy for Yorks Hill. I stopped about 3 miles before it to have an energy bar and to generally ready myself for hell. And it was pretty close to hell. I did manage to climb it but I was on the limits. Just as I was on the worst bit near the top I heard a vehicle coming up from behind – that’s just what I didn’t need – it takes so much effort of body and mind to climb this sort of hill, I didn’t need the distraction of having to think about anything else – for a start off it forced me to keep over to the left near the dirty part of the track; also I was concerned about holding them up – in the end they just came straight by. Soon after that I was at the top anyway. See here for more details. I would seriously consider using lower gears if I had to climb this hill again!
When I got back I was pretty knackered. Strangely, when I started the ride I thought it was going to be 42 miles. However, when I saw 39 miles on my Garmin and I was still only in Hildenborough, I knew I had got something wrong! In fact it turned out to be 10 miles further than expected.
Scene of the iconic Catford Hill Climb…