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15 April, 2018

The Cobble Monster 2018

I'm a week late with this post as work has been a bit crazy but here's a quick writeup of the 2018 Cobble Monster. CW: You'll have to use your imagination as I was too busy trying to get to the pub to take many photos of the ride.

My day started at around 0700 with an exciting mix of tap water, shaken thoroughly with unflavoured Huel. Unflavoured as my housemate and I had consumed (not eaten) the last of the vanilla.

Fully Huelled, I set off in the drizzle for the Brixton Cycles shop, wondering on the way why my drivetrain had started making strange cracking noises. Arriving at the shop at about 0750, I signed in (having donated £15 online in aid of Evelina London Children’s Hospital) and was given a route map, sticker and a free flapjack which very much beat my breakfast in the prize for best oat-based sustenance of the day. The route map detailed all the major turns along with the (rated) pavé sections and short but steep South London climbs.

We were on the road by about 0815 with the majority of the other riders (I saw about 50 at the shop) looking ready to leave at around the same time. We headed for the river at a civilised pace, avoiding the puddles as we picked our way through the grayness. Over Waterloo bridge and on to the first cobbled sections around Soho. We then headed towards the city for more cobbles before going south again over Tower Bridge, through Rotherhithe before yet cobbles in the dense terraces around Greenwich.

Maze hill was the first of the South London hills which were to be a feature of the second half of the ride. I took a break at the top of the short but incredibly steep Canonbie Road in SE23 before continuing on to the final climbs of the day, all while nursing a transmission problem that made out of the saddle pedalling impossible and being quick off the lights extremely hazardous. At the time I assumed it was a derailleur issue but I later found out that it was my freehub failing to engage and subsequently giving way under load. Not ideal.

Anyway, a few hills later and we were back to Brixton after 55km of riding, in time for Paris-Roubaix on the big screen and some not-that-hard-earned pints. The BCC guys put on a great event, complete with raffle and delicious jerk chicken.

All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed my first Cobble Monster. It's not a serious, pacy sportive but that's not the point. I saw some bits of London that I didn't even know existed, met some fun people and still got a decent days riding in. Chapeau BCC, I'll be back next year.

Henry Course

Tech, cycling and badly thought-out personal projects direct from South East London.

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