London to Brighton Bike ride – Training Session 2
Round two of our training for the London to Brighton bike ride took place on Sunday 10th April and took us through Richmond Park, Hampton Court and Bushy Park. Most surprising to all of us was the ease by which we found ourselves covering some 20+ miles, very re-assuring for the 54 mile ride ahead of us.
That said having had a pretty gentle start we were very quickly confronted by the infamous Nightingale Lane – a short road that takes you from river height to the top of Richmond hill. It gave us novices the most challenging introduction to Richmond Park. I’ve since discovered that the gradient, at its best (!), is 16.3% – it’s only a 2,000 metre road but by the time you reach the top your heart is pounding against your chest, your legs are seizing up, steel like, and control of your bike has somewhat left your natural senses. Suffice to say, we rested at the top of the hill for a while and enjoyed the view following the Thames as it snaked its way to Hampton Court!
Incidentally, there is a men’s and woman’s leader board for the Nightingale Lane ascent, needless to say, in typical modesty, I won’t be revealing the team’s times and efforts.
There’s good reason why hill training will shortly become part of our preparation as we will encounter the notorious Ditching Beacon between miles 46 and 47 on our way to Brighton. With a distance of 1.5km and gradients ranging from 2-16% it represents a huge challenge. Some, like Nightingale Lane, have already conquered it with great distinction. Round three of our training will be sure to provide a little more intensity.
However, we continued on our bike ride through Kingston and along the towpath to Hampton Court where we indulged in the traditional British style of tea and biscuits. The Spring weather had certainly made the roads more busy but we safely negotiated a couple of major junctions to make our way to and through the beautiful Bushy Park before returning back to base in Isleworth.
Round three is now in the diary, Sunday 15th May, when we plan two laps of Richmond Park. For information about the London to Brighton bike ride and the cause it supports please visit here.[ssba]