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Swimming up stream.



Date: Sunday 10th May, 2015
Distance: 109.8km | Elevation: 1,226m
Destinations: New Cross – Box Hill – New Cross

Start kms: 2,697.5km | Finish kms: 2,807.3km | % complete: 28.1%

My parents had been with us for the week and seven days of sleeping on a blow-up bed had taken its toll.

So had eating (and drinking) out every night.

Rolling out of bed at 06.00 was therefore a pretty big ask. Got to get those miles in, though.

Me and the big man, Hendo, hit Box Hill for a solid mornings ride, beating many riders to the top. 

And by beating, I mean we were out of bed earlier and therefore at the top before the bulk of the Sunday riders. To be clear, I didn’t beat anyone up that hill.

The sun even made an appearance on our return, where I witnessed some of the closest-shaves between bikes, cars and other bikes. We came back into London via Biggin Hill and New Addington, where we found ourselves pressing uphill whilst hundreds of riders free-wheeled past us in the opposite direction, clearly on an organise ride of some sort. 

With the road being narrow and the riders plentiful, there was a lot of frustrated traffic on the road. Cars impateiently overtook riders cycling two-abreast on bends that couldn’t see around and with space in front of them that didn’t exist. 

It was hairy to watch and, with their being just two of us facing the oncoming two- and four-wheeled traffic, I felt far more vulnerable than the seemingly endless peleton. We were definitely swimming upstream. 

It all came to a head as Hendo was forced to slam on his brakes and swerve as close as he could towards a hedgerow to avoid ending up on the bonnet of an oncoming car. In turn, the car nearly knocked out several of the riders he was trying to overtake as he attempted to self-correct.

There was a lot of shouting followed by a fairly long silence as we just concentrated on leaving the mele behind.

It was a strong ride, as we maintained an average pace of just under 26kph. The most impressive stat of the day, however, was Hendo making it home, showering and  making a train within approximately 15 minutes of unclipping. 

You can tell he’s a triathlete: he’s got those transition times down.