Denbies - Our first ride of the season
Tired of a virtual world of “Ride Ons” and “Power Ups”, a hardy group of 16 riders gathered at the Denbies vineyard on 30th April in search of some real world kudos.
Billed as a casual, un-supported ride around the quiet Surrey lanes in the shadow of Box Hill, there was a degree of trepidation as everyone gathered for the pre-ride briefing. Talk of “Surrey pave” and “the odd berg” conjured up visions of an early season “classic”….. or was that trepidation down to concerns as to how those indoor watts/kg were going to transfer to real roads. In the end, everyone was just glad to be there, to meet in person and to get out in the fresh air.
Rolling out in two groups, we headed out over the edge of the North Downs just east of Dorking before turning on to the quiet and near-deserted lanes that criss-cross the farmland to the south of Box Hill. Skirting Brockham and Betchworth, we hit the “pave” 7 miles in at Buckland. No-one was tempted to “do a Cancellara”, and fortunately no-one was riding their Summer bike…., which proved a wise decision and with the clouds overhead darkening as we turned south towards Leigh, we were hit by a brief downpour that put a temporary dampener on proceedings.
Fortunately the shower was brief and as the sun re-emerged, what followed was an enjoyable series of loops (with the odd “berg” thrown in), allowing plenty of opportunity to chat and discuss winter training and plans for the Summer as things start to open up again. Some of us were even privileged to receive the odd tip from Maurice Burton, former British champion and pro six-day cyclist, who joined us for the afternoon.
Heading home over the North Downs ridge, we rolled back into the Denbies vineyard at 6pm to be met by Mrs Grove and an impromptu “bar”. A few bottle of Denbies sparkling and the opportunity to refuel and rehydrate proved a great way to draw a close to BDOVELO’s first ride of the 2021 season and with Maurice regaling us with plenty of anecdotes of races past, we raised a glass to the new season, as the sun set over the vineyard.