I turn 41 on Wednesday. Not the most celebrated, nor the sexiest of ages but I had all the pomp and circumstance of my 40th last year so I’m happy with this year being fairly low key.
One thing I did do last year, on my birthday, that gave me a great confidence boost was to conquer Box Hill for the first time. Box Hill is an iconic climb and it seems to hold some kind of mythical attraction for cyclists, but it really isn’t that difficult (to my surprise last year). It’s 2.2k at an average of 5.2% with the iconicity coming from the two switchbacks as you climb to the cafe at the top
That day it took me 12 minutes to get to the top, partly due to the fact that I’d never done it before and partly due to me taking in the wonderful surroundings of a place that I hadn’t really been to since I was a kid. Since that day I’ve improved both my fitness and my cycling ability and my last attempt on Box Hill was 9 mins 20. I’m aiming to go back there on Wednesday to celebrate being 41 and to knock some time off that PB!
All that is a roundabout explanation of why I only went for a 26km cycle this morning despite the weather being amazing! I decided to conserve some energy for Wednesday, instead going out to improve my time on a few of the local segments that irritate me on weekly basis. Here’s two of them!
Nasty Little Rise
That is the name of the Strava segment and for good reason, maybe more so for me as it is only a couple of miles from my front door and the legs usually haven’t warmed up by that point. It doesn’t look anything much, 0.65km at 5% but it has annoyed me time and time again since I started cycling again.
I’d never managed to get under two minutes on this segment, 2:04 was my best (twice) but I knew that I was stronger and had a better bike so I was confident today and managed to knock 11 seconds off of that time – 1:53 a new PB!
Hillbury Road Full
As I have (no doubt) mentioned numerous times before, to get home from anywhere means I have to go up a hill. I really have no choice. Hillbury Road is one of those segments that looks like a lovely, gentle route home but it has an incredibly nasty sting in the tail that has done for me in the past. Not the kind of gradients that we saw on the Zoncolan yesterday but enough to leave me wondering whether I could get some kind of TUE. The whole climb is 1.8k at 5%
You can see the kicker that I’m talking about, that orangey-brown shaded left turn. Here’s a breakdown of that
It really does knock the wind out of your lungs as you try to keep the rhythm while turning into quite a tight turn
Reasons I know I’m a better cyclist?
- I completed the Hillbury Road segment in a PB of 6:26 – previous best 7:42
- I completed the whole thing sitting down! No getting out of the saddle, no rocking and rolling to the top. I felt in good shape and had good rhythm
I also rode one of my favourite segments, from Beech Farm Road to the White Bear pub in Warlingham. It was such a lovely morning I created a timelapse video of it
Looking forward to getting a longer ride in on Wednesday and really testing my new found fitness over at Box Hill