As you approach The Drift Golf Club on the outskirts of East Horsley, our venue for the opening UK ride of the BDOVELO season, you'll be pleasantly surprised by the quality of the tarmac. "Made for cycling!” you'll think and a smile will cross your face. Sadly not all the Surrey roads are as smooth and some prompted comparisons with the Arenberg trench, but it's a start.
We welcomed 17 hardy souls to take on a rolling 40 mile route, with Staple Lane and Combe Lane, flagship climbs in the Surrey Hills, thrown in for good measure. The route took in 2700 feet of climbing so certainly set the heart racing at times.
Sound bike handling skills were in evidence on the descents...most of the time… and our peloton enjoyed a short coffee stop on the outskirts of Dunsfold, famous as the home of the Top Gear track. Chris Grove, appointed token “ride captain” for the afternoon, admirably sat on the nose of the group taking the head winds, whilst Natalie Creswick, new ride captain for BDOVELO this season ensured the peloton remained tightly knit as it meandered through the country lanes.
On returning to The Drift, Natalie (ex-pro and now coach) shared tips on preparing for a ride and staying motivated. The key to it all is "knowing your why?”, particularly when the going gets tough - or the heavens open as you step out of the door! Some advice was perhaps more targeted at some of the older MAMILs in the audience, particularly references to improving your balance, agility, flexibility and strength, although we all benefited from advice on nutrition and hydration.