About the challenge
Starting and finishing at the Black Swan in Ockham, the circular route will take you around the beautiful Surrey Hills, famous for their rolling chalk downs, challenging climbs and fun descents. Three route choices – 30km, 60km or 100km – make this the perfect challenge for any cyclist, beginner or advanced. Both longer routes take in Box Hill, the famous steep zig-zagging climb, and it will be a fabulous opportunity to get a feel for the route that the top riders of the world competed on in the 2012 Olympic Games.
We meet early in the morning at the start point in Ockham for registration and a safety briefing before setting off on our road ride. There is some wonderful countryside in this area and our route will takes us along small lanes and roads via Ripley and East Clandon. Our first steep hill lies only a few kilometres into our route, and warms up our legs nicely!
Those on the 30km route will peel off shortly after East Clandon and head east before looping back to Ockham via Great Bookham; this may be the shortest route but it still involves two more hills in quick succession!
The rest of us continue south towards Box Hill. Rather than taking the Road Race route along the A25, which is narrow and busy, we take the prettier and quieter route through Ranmore Common into Dorking. Riding through the northern edge of Dorking you will see the first glimpse of Box Hill which is the longest and steepest climb of the ride. The men’s road race completed a circuit of Box Hill nine times before heading back into London – the 100km cyclists will do one – in addition to three other comparable climbs!
Box Hill climbs steeply and steadily and is a narrow road with lots of speed bumps spanning the road. The beautiful forest along its slopes finally gives way to an open area at the top with a southerly facing view point where you can see for miles across the rural Surrey landscape stretching south. From this high point we descend the steep narrow hill into Leatherhead. For those on the 60km route, it’s not far to go now, as we cycle north through Oxshott and then circle round via Cobham to our start point and a well-deserved rest!
Our 100km route, meanwhile, is just over half-way through as we begin lap two! Sustenance can be obtained from the pub where the support team will be in attendance! Though the most demanding hills are behind us, there is one further climb back up onto Ranmore Common. We now head north to Leatherhead and Cobham, looping back before finally reaching our start point again.
Crossing the line will not be quite like winning an Olympic gold medal, but you will feel a great sense of achievement and satisfaction!
Although we will be doing the ride at the weekend, some roads could be quite busy as our route goes through large urban areas. We will adjust the route as we see fit in order to make it a safe and enjoyable experience.
The price includes Discover Adventure leaders, route marking, vehicle support, mechanical back-up, water and snacks. Vehicles will support the cyclists along the route. You should bring a small daypack for items needed during the event. Cyclists will have to make their own arrangements getting to the start and from the finish of the ride.
Discover Adventure Crew
Your trip will be led by experienced Discover Adventure leaders. Our leaders are selected for their friendliness and approachability, sense of humour and ability to safely and effectively deal with any situation that arises. They are also trained in expedition first-aid. You are in very safe hands with a Discover Adventure leader.
The number of crew and support vehicles looking after you will depend on the final size of the group, but an average-sized group would be led by two leaders (at least one of which will be an experienced bike mechanic). At Discover Adventure we pride ourselves on our high leader: cyclist ratio and believe it leads to greater enjoyment as well as safety.
We strongly recommend that you ride a road bike/racing bike for this trip due to the long distance involved on well-surfaced roads. However Discover Adventure can provide hybrid or mountain bikes at an extra cost if you wish. Although training in the gym is useful, there is no substitute for getting out into all weathers and really getting to know your bike – especially the range of your gears as you climb.
There will be a range of spares in the support vehicles along with a full tool kit; however, it is impossible for us to carry spares for every eventuality. It is vital that your bike it is in excellent working order before the off.
It is imperative that you supply your own helmet and wear it at all times while cycling, with straps done up.
As we know the summer temperatures in the UK can vary widely, though generally it should be warm and sunny; rain is always a possibility and it may be blustery.
Preparing for the challenge
Clothing & Equipment
As above it is crucial to be prepared for all weathers and temperatures. We provide you with a detailed packing kit-list on registration, as well as details on useful discounts you are entitled to as a Discover Adventure customer. We are always available if you need advice.
Our challenges attract people of all levels of experience and fitness, all ages and backgrounds. We expect all participants to train in advance to achieve this challenge, but we respect everyone’s limits. We design our challenges so that everyone can go at their own pace: this is not a race. For logistical and safety reasons we sometimes need to re-group, so the front-runners will find themselves waiting for the slower ones. Please relax, and remember that this is a team effort that enables people to achieve their personal goals and earn sponsorship.
Worldwide Sustainable Tourism
Long before ‘Responsible Tourism’ became a recognised phrase, we designed and ran our trips to ensure they made minimum impact on the environment and a positive impact on the local communities we pass through. AITO, our Trade Association, has recognised the work we do in this area and has awarded us 5 stars as a Responsible Tour Operator.
Discover Adventure Projects
We are supporting a tree-planting project in Peru and a children’s home in Tanzania on a long-term basis. If you would like to ‘give something back’ please consider donating £5 to our projects when you sign up. Please see our website for more details.
We encourage all our customers to offset emissions connected with their trip. You can offset at any time in the lead-up to departure by visiting Climate Care via our website and making a donation to a worthwhile project supported by them. Alternatively, if you wish to take more practical action you can volunteer for a day with The Conservation Volunteers and work on an environmental project near to where you live. Work may include construction footpaths, dry stone walling, creating wildlife habitats or planting trees in your community. Volunteer today at www.tcv.org or call 01302 388883.