Sunday rumble to Eysnford for tea, then a dash down Knatts Valley.

Matt Law had a good team heading to the Ashdown Forest so Steve and I opted for something a bit easier, Eynsford for tea. Onboard were new rider Stefano plus Lori, Lisa Beck and Adam Larner. We then cruised up Bower Lane but the three miles of Knatts Valley was a full-on chain gang, with Lisa and Stefano showing us what they could do! A photo stop in beautiful Farningham and then a great ride back.

Here it is on ‘Relive’ via Strava – https://www.relive.cc/view/760424415

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Lisa attacks! A snap from my rear view Fly 6 camera/light combo thingy

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A photo of Matt’s group, Gavin, Pete, Matt, Andy and Jo. Said Matt ‘We did 42 miles in the end, quite far for a T2 but we kept the pace sensible, Jo did very well on the long climb up Black hill, then down Kidds Hill (way more enjoyable than going up it!) stopped off in Hartfield to refuel then back home via Edenbridge’.

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Earlier at Nero’s, Chris Hewitt’s racers…

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Four groups go forth on a Saturday…

Four groups set off from Nero’s today. Jane’s sociable ride went off to Horne. A big team of keen racers sped off into a mild morning, then Steve and I led two groups out to the Velo House cafe in Tunbridge Wells via pretty Penshurst and Poundsbridge, a ride of just over 20 miles each way with some challenging hills.

The Velo House does great coffee, cakes and bacon sandwiches…

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Jane’s group…

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The weekend ahead, 29th/30th October – more great cycling weather ahead!

SATURDAY 8.30am. Jane is leading the T1 ride. Steve the T2’s. I’ll lead a not too fast T3 group to the VELO HOUSE in Tunbridge Wells again for coffee, we’ll find a nicer way back, should return to Nero’s between midday and 1pm latest.

SUNDAY: THE CLOCKS GO BACK! MORE TIME IN BED! 

SUNDAY: ALL RIDES START AT 9am…until Spring. 

Matt Law will lead a ‘falling leaves’ T2 ride to Ashdown Forest. Chris Hewitt is leading the fast people. Steve and I will be lurking to fill any gaps.

NEXT SUNDAY 6th November: the Biggin Hill Sportive, have you entered? Please let me know so we can sort out groups, car share, compare bruises etc. 12, 30, 50, 70 mile adventures! Let’s show them what we’re made of! Gel wrappers or Titanium?!

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Need kit – let me know in advance and I’ll bring it to Nero’s – think ahead, it’s going to get cold and wet.

If you owe me for kit, remember the price doubles with every reminder!

Ride to Kelly Holmes lovely cafe in Hildenborough

Strava is an amazing free App for your phone which records ride data and displays it all after a ride. You can also link it to ‘Relive’, also free, which automatically produces a moving map display of your ride, such as today’s ride with members of Crawley Wheelers, starting from Lingfield and out to Kelly Holmes stylish cafe in Hildenborough and back to Oxted. Here it is: https://www.relive.cc/view/757400153

Great riding weather today…

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A weekend of great autumn rides…

Saturday. Lori led ten nippy riders through the autumn scenery of Kent to Trottiscliffe (Trosley to locals). Steve led another group of seven more relaxed riders a slightly different way and we all arrived at The George pub for coffee within minutes of each other. The round trip from Oxted just over 50 miles in total.

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Cass had cold toes…

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Sunday: Three groups left Nero’s on another chilly Autumn morning which turned out sunny and beautiful. Gavin and Jo led a gentle ride along Pilgrims Way, Sam led a quicker group out to Hever and Chris Hewitt led the racier types on a 60 mile blast.

Winter is coming, one solution: fit slime filled, self repairing tubes. Avoid cold hands and even colder looks from your clubmates. Around £7 each or you can buy the gunge to fill your own tubes…but it’s fiddly and sticky.

An example of self repairing tubes CLICK HERE

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WINTER IS COMING…now we have to get clever with clothing. It was nippy today but we were warm inside our OCC wind/rain jackets. These really work and the new ones are superb. They scrunch up into a back pocket when you don’t need them.. We have a few choices of warm long sleeve tops from £59 to £74.

WINTER BOOTS are good, the Northwave Fahrenheit is still one of the best, not cheap at £135 but quite effective.

GLOVES: avoid anything with velcro, it snags your lycra! For really cold/wet weather the best solution is neoprene but they are actually too hot above 5 degrees.

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GET A WINTER BIKE: Wise owls around the club know the benefits…you can get a good winter bike for much less than £500 with tough tyres and proper mudguards fitted which will save the chain, cassette and changers – and save you and the people behind getting caked in wet muck. Keep your best bike for summer!

MAJORCA: Lori is organising next April’s great trip to the sunny isle. Slight snag at the moment all getting into the same hotel, Lori is working on it BUT SHE MUST KNOW if you’re interested for final numbers, get in touch.

CHRISTMAS DINNER/PRIZEGIVING: Jan 28th. So far we have FIFTY names on the list. If you haven’t confirmed, please drop me a line. We’re juggling venues and must know the final numbers likely to come. Just a ‘yes probably’ is helpful, no money to pay yet.

Ride to the Velo House Cafe, Tunbridge Wells

IF YOU DIDN’T RIDE TODAY you missed the most glorious autumn morning – slightly chilly at first but sunny and wonderful. Steve and I tried a new idea, taking both T2 & T3 rides via different routes to the stylish Velo House Cafe in Tunbridge Wells, and we all arrived at the same time.

My group went via Poundsbridge and Speldhurst, two very pretty villages, just beyond Penshurst, a delightful surprise with quiet, beautiful lanes. We were ahead of schedule so we did a detour to the Pantiles, to see the actual ‘wells’ of Tunbridge Wells.

Some of you have been before but it was all new to me. Oli described it well as ‘very New York’….a big open plan cafe/bike shop with some great posters, memorabilia, new gear on display, a very busy kitchen, workshop and showroom upstairs, the whole place heaving with cyclists.

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The mighty CAT and BEC hill climbs…

More often than not this great day in the cycling calendar is almost as tough on the spectators as the riders, with low temperatures and lashing rain but today was bright and glorious.

We set off from Nero’s in fabulous sunshine to the beautiful autumn surroundings of Yorks Hill, with the buzz of competitors nervously fixing their numbers and warming up. For us spectators there are easier decisions: ‘mustard on yer bacon roll guv?’

We only had one rider in this event, Chris Filewood and he was calm before the storm. We watched other riders before him toil up the legendary hill and suddenly, there he was, pounding the pedals, head down…

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Chris did a fabulous 2.22 and as he crossed the finish line, he collapsed in a heap, alarming us briefly but he was fine. That massive effort placed him 2nd out of the 30 riders who’d finished by the time we decided to move off.

Incidentally, quite a few riders are totally spent by the time they finish; one girl lost control, rode into a parked car and was caught by spectators before she passed out. We watched a few other riders but getting chilly, Steve, Duncan and myself decided to head off for a ride – and what a glorious morning to descend Bayley’s for Chiddingstone, then onto Westerham Cyclery for a light lunch, the place was heaving with riders heading to and from the hill climbs. Chris Filewood and Chris Hewitt joined us and some East Grinstead riders. Then it was time to head up to The Bec.

The buzz at White Lane is fantastic. It’s all flags, banners, anxious riders, friends, family, music – and a great announcer. I first came to this event in 1969, aged 15, it’s still just as much fun. The action starts at 2pm…

Our first rider was 12 year old Aimee Hobbs, her dad Paul was more nervous than her, she was astonishingly calm before the start and got huge applause from the crowds. She battled up the hill to finish with 3.55.5, that’s faster than many of us could manage!

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Next was Jack Dennison, flying up the hill, which he conquered in 2.18.7, a fabulous time.

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Next up was Richard Powell, an accomplished racing man not used to hill climbs but brave enough to give it a go. He looked unfussed about the cheering and noise around him to make a very respectable 2.27.1. After getting his breath back, he started talking about how he’ll use different gearing next time, so he has plans for 2017!

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Chris Filewood was making it a CatBec double today, which is hard…and he’d ridden from Yorks to White Lane. His family all turned out to cheer him on plus a HUGE contingent of Oxted supporters now lining the hill! Somehow Chris found the energy to shake the tarmac with a stunning 2.17.3. Incidentally, in a Hill Climb event, Juniors are required to wear crash helmets.

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Number 109 on the start sheet was Chris Hewitt, just back from holiday in California. Jet lag and any lack of miles didn’t deter him from knocking 2 seconds off his time for last year, with 2.26.3. Another great Oxted result…and a terrific ‘race face’ of sheer determination!

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The organisers arrange things so that known top performers go later as the competition hots up, so Chris Balkham was our last rider to attack the hill. Chris’s wife Lindsay was there to cheer him on, they’re expecting their first child in about seven weeks, good luck!! Chris hammered past us in 2.10.2 – our fastest rider of the day!

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THIS WAS A FABULOUS DAY FOR OXTED CC – it’s not easy to ride both events, so we were honored to have Chris Filewood tackle both…and with gusto. We had a terrific ‘big up’ from Mike Morgan, the boss of Catford CC who was on the PA system at the CAT event; he praised our success as a ‘serious new cycling club’. And in the afternoon at White Lane, the announcer was full of praise for Oxted riders…and our distinctive kit, event organisers always complain about people not riding in club colours.

IT WAS ALSO FABULOUS to see so many Oxted members and their families turning out to cheer on our riders. It’s a big sacrifice because however much you wrap up, it gets cold standing for hours. But isn’t it exciting?! And isn’t this a very ‘real’ sport, with no luck or short cuts, just intelligent, hard training to ‘get to the top’! Full results for both events will be published tomorrow.

HILL CLIMBS MARK THE BEGINNING OF THE GNARLY SEASON. This will be our fourth winter and we’re not going to let it beat us. To stay fit, slim and gorgeous (as we all are!) we have to wrap up, knuckle down and keep riding. The only time we’ll cancel rides is if there is ICE and if there’s snow, we’ll meet up and walk over the downs!

The Biggin Hill sportive is next, we can ALL do this one! Book here: www.evanscycles.com/biggin-hill-road-sportive-entry-6th Nov

Nearly the end of the season…

It’s been a great season for Oxted CC so far with many new members at all levels, from social rides to racing. We’ve run a huge number of weekend rides on both Saturdays and Sundays, from local jaunts to long rides to the coast. Our racers have been spectacular; we’re currently 17th in the Surrey League out of 53 clubs, pretty good for a young club! We’ve been prominent in local and open Time Trials, with five sub hour 25 mile champions so far. We’ve competed in hill climbs, reliability trials and sportives as far as Wales…and on the continent. We had 34 riders of all levels in the Circuit of Kent sportive last weekend where we bagged 10 gold and 7 silver times. In the 130km distance we had four riders in the top ten out of a total field of 296. Our members are all ages, around quarter are female and ages range from 10 to 72! We are a club for the whole family.

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Chairman’s report…

Chairman’s report to the Committee 29th September 2015

I’m delighted with our progress. We’ve exceeded what we set out to do in running ‘a club for all levels’.

We’ve run 3, 4 & sometimes 5 rides on Saturdays and Sundays for over two years now, thanks to a number of wonderful ride leaders who know exactly what to do.

‘Whole club’ events and sportives have been amazing: the Kentish Killer, Nutfield to Brighton, Reigate Rouleur, the Pru and more. The recent Circuit of Kent was incredible with 47 Oxted finishers, many in gold and silver categories.

We have great racers with Chris Balkham leading the charge as a 2nd Cat. We have five 3rd Cats, Maddy, Jack Dennison, Chris Hewitt, Chris Hardy and now Noah Faiers. And a SIXTH very soon – David Hodge. Plus David Tyler in LVRC and 4ths Pete Hargreaves and Tim Whitehead. Junior Chris Filewood has completed his Race Accreditation. We’ll have ten racers on the start lines next year.

We were robbed of the big Lingfield race in June, cancelled last minute by roadworks! But we ran a good evening race in Nutfield; our reputation in the racing fraternity is good. We should be running the big Lingfield race again in June.

Time Trialling – we’re flying! We have had another great season as guests of the very generous East Grinstead CC at the Horne 10 and in open events, the recent Festival CC/Dorking 10 was the icing on the cake: fastest lady Maddy, fastest Junior Chris Filewood and fastest club, Oxted!

Members have been fantastic at marshalling races and TTs. We are also hoping to book more Velodrome sessions before Christmas.

We’ve had riders in a number of Hill Climbs; the Waller Pain, the East Grinstead CC’s Legsheath Lane, Redhill CC’s Denbies Duels, Catford CC and the Bec events.

Pete Abbott’s Majorca trip was a huge success; we’re going again in 2016.

We have a high proportion of female riders and the membership keeps growing steadily, including more young people.

We’ve had a few accidents but dealt with them bravely. We know the risks in cycling. And Rule No 5 is well understood at Oxted.

We’ve run a First Aid night, we will again.

We’ve had great socials; a superb prize giving dinner, Alan Dennison’s Tour de France finish party was superb and Richard Houghton’s Trevereux Hill hog roast was a great event.

We are definitely much more than a sunny Saturday club; we are a real cycling club!

THANK YOU ALL for your tremendous support, Russell Hicks.

 

Good news for oldies like me! A study found that older ‘serious cyclists’ really do enjoy great benefits from all those miles!

So, please do take a good look at our calendar and make some dates with exceptional health and fitness: oxtedcc.org/calendar