5 riders rolled out of Ladywell and down through Bellingham, Beckenham and swiftly down Corkscrew hill before beginning the twin drags of Layhams Rd (where we spotted some Team Storey Racing Pro Riders who quickly dropped me like a stone near the Police Dog Training School) and Beddlestead Lane, the latter of which was surprisingly free of fly tipping and traffic.
Whilst the ice which had haunted previous Pudding Busters was thankfully absent, the moisture meant there were some messy surfaces but nothing dangerous. A quick descent of Clark’s lane and it felt like we got to Westerham Cyclery in almost no time at all, only to notice a slight internal rearrangement. The shop is now only upstairs with the whole downstairs bow cafe space. After a leisurely refuel ogling a beautiful vintage Hobbs racer in the window, we emerged to an unfriendly wind-chill and a slight headwind. I then explained my reasoning behind our hill choice for the day, Sundridge.
On a personal note, it has been 2 years since I last attempted this climb, I had studied streetview for every possible twist, turn and landmark for reference points. Strangely it was anywhere near as fearsome as my bad memories had served, even with an alarming number of Range Rovers trying their best to disrupt the climbing rhythm, we all winched ourselves up with minimal drama.
A quick fettle of my front mech (loose cable from my poor home workmanship) and we were soon cruising back towards Cudham, down Church Hill before a climb up the resurfaced Berry’s hill, past Darwin’s house and through Downe, followed a generally serene cruise back (dodging potholes and most of the Saturday four wheeled traffic) through Hayes and Shortlands back to Waterlink way, before we went our separate ways.
The hot bath at home was very welcome indeed.
Thanks to Alex for the ride report and a great ride.