Ditchling Beacon – a proper climb!
17 May 2014
Cycling is a bit sadistic. I now increasingly understand the challenge of cycling massive distances, with steep climbs – and the appeal. I learnt this after taking my brand new Specialized Roubaix SL Compact for a spin on Cosaveli’s Inaugural Spring Ride from London to Brighton on a recent Saturday.
We met at Clapham Common and cycled as a group through busy London, halting traffic as 30 of us attempted to catch the lights in unison. We got onto the rural roads and Cosaveli’s team asked the cyclists to self-select based on ability – a fast group, which would average 30 km/hr, and a slower group, averaging 25 km/hr. Being very new to cycling, I went with the “slower group.” This is where NOMAN’s Gold Medalist Mark Hunter and I split up!
I clipped in and off we went. The slower group wasn’t that slow. I was initiated almost immediately by running over a loose rock – I noticed that the bike started moving a much slower pace than usual, but I chalked it up to fatigue, until someone shouted: “PUNCTURE!” Luckily, there was a Cosaveli support car in pursuit and they replaced it within about 30 seconds. It felt like I was cared for by a Formula One pit crew!
Cycling up Ditchling Beacon, which reaches a >12% incline at parts and seems to last forever, gave me a real taste of what’s to come in the Dolomites on June 7. My heart rate exploded to near max and I counted four times that I seriously contemplated unclipping…!