The best laid plans of bikes and men often go awry.
This week we planned a ride of multiple hill repeats in an attempt to cycle the total altitude of the infamous cycling climb of Alpe D’Huez, a whopping 3,598ft! A process we adapted from the famous “Everesting” challenges, which we are ingeniously calling “Alpe D’heuz-ing”!
We headed out to one of our favourite climbs, Beddlestead Lane in Farleigh, Surrey. A relatively easy 1.9 mile slog climbing a total of 383ft. We had planned all week to do this hill 10 times taking us over the 3,598ft we required for our challenge.
We loaded up a car with our bikes, water and some flapjacks to keep our energy up during the repeats. We also packed some tools, and a track pump… and one inner tube! We were set.
We headed out at 07:30am, we got to the top of the climb and parked up on a verge, unloaded the bikes, set our garmins to record and headed off on a 2.2mile warmup lap, flanking back to the bottom of the climb.
We started the climb, we felt strong, our legs were spinning, we were in the zone, we had the rhythm. So far, so good!
A fit cyclist will complete this climb in under 10 minutes, a super fit cyclist in 5! We took it slower, considering we were to repeat it 10 times, climbing in just over 14 minutes.
Now for the fun part, coming back down! 1.9 miles of downhill, pure bliss, right? Not this time, i’m afraid. The road was wet, muddy and covered in big, sharp bricks of flint! It was a minefield! I somehow navigated the descent breakdown free, but when I got the bottom Ealesy was nowhere to be seen, so I headed back up and there he was, walking!
Ealesy had hit a huge piece of flint and was instantly running on the rim. Not a problem, we had our inner tube, so we were about to start a roadside repair when we realised it wasn’t just one puncture, but two! Both front and rear tyres blown, flat as pancakes and one inner tube! We were screwed, that was it, game over.
I headed back up the climb, got the car and came back down to the rescue on the way I passed a few other cyclists who also were suffering the effects of the flint. So when we’d loaded up the car with our bikes we decided to put our track pump to good use and go to the aide of our fellow cyclists. Good deed done.
We were disappointed to say the least, our epic 30+ mile, 4000ft ride was now shortened to a 10 mile, 700 footer!
However, there’s always next week. We are planning on attempting this again, maybe not on the same hill as the flint will still be there, but nonetheless wherever we end up we will definitely have more than one bloody inner tube!