But, they do have their advantages, granted. The routes they usually take are well thought out, and involve going through scenic bits of this island. The Hell of the Ashdown is one such sportive that I've been wanting to ride for quite a while, just not with hundreds more of other cyclists (and without paying the hefty fee!).
March continues to be a cold month, much more than last year, where we were already cycling in shorts on a number of days. The forecast was not too bad though, just above freezing, but no rain and even some sun towards the end of the day. After a bit of fiddling with the official 2013 route, we took a train that dropped us to the south of Orpington, near the North Downs.
Departing from Chelsfield was uneventful and quiet, yet climbing up gently for the first 15 km or so. Not sure why, but I felt super weak here, started to overheat and feared something was wrong. Perhaps too much clothing? not enough breakfast? I never knew, but just kept on drinking a bit of water, taking it easy on the hills (even for Lucy, that is!).
We soon went over the M25 and into the North Downs, with its continuous up and downs to keep things a bit interesting. I began to feel ok again, and carried on towards the Ashdown Forest without delay.
|Kent - The garden of England (not surprisingly!)|
|In Ashdown Forest|
Not many places appear on the road when you most need them, but a quick stop in an off-license seemed to do the trick - for a little while. We then pressed on to the end, enjoying the fine views from the Ashdown and further on back on to the North Downs. Light was fading at this point, which gave us an opportunity to snap a few pictures along the Bough Beach reservoir.
|Bough Beach reservoir|
It had been a good route, with most sections with very little traffic, despite this being one of the busiest areas of the UK. We did not record the stats, but from memory, we just did under 20 km/h average, which for this time of the year, the climb etc was not too bad.
Roll on March.