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1000 Xmas Kms: A Ride with K. House
SUNDAY 27th DECEMBER
Distance: 120k (inc. a long route home)
Weather: Cold and blustery but relatively clear, we escape the forecasted showers.
Route: A loop south from Canterbury, over the cliffs around Dover and back (inc. crossing a section of the '94 TdF route).
Another early start to make it across town and get a train to Canterbury, but I'm relieved to see the heavy showers aren't materialising and I feel a lot better than yesterday.
I meet Kristian as he's prepping his bike (with such familiarity he could have done it blindfolded). He outlines the route we're going to be taking before rolling off.
The area is rich with history and as we ride Krisitan points out places of interest, including where he grew up and where family members had worked. He rides steady and fluid, often chatting as we climb (me mostly listening on the hills…) talking about his year, winter training, and the coming season, in an open and genuine way.
I take the opportunity to ask him about our products, what's good, what he likes and, more importantly, if there's anything we could improve or that's missing from the range - It's fantastic to have this level of input into the design and development process.
Also, being from Kent, I know the type of short and lumpy roads we're riding; brisk, steep climbs - including one at 22% - twisting, quiet, organic roads, often covered in unpredictable, washed-out debris. It was an eye-opener seeing the conditions a National Champion was riding in. Far from a sunny, exotic training location, this was often with adverse weather whipping in from the North Sea, and Kristian was out every day, including Christmas Day, without fail to get in the miles.
We turn into the headwind, and make our way back to Canterbury over some sharp climbs, me content to sit on Kristian's wheel and take in some of the great scenery under the low winter sun.
I return to London inspired by my time spent with Kristian and looking forward to the year ahead for Rapha Condor Sharp.
Great to see some new scenery, and hear Kristian's stories about the area.
Seeing the curious paradox of Kristian's bike; a beautiful machine with personalised detailing, yet simply a tool of utility, there to be used for the job.
The ride only being 3 hours long!
…Cleaning my bike (again).
- RT @rapha_n_america: Up Close: The Rapha x Raeburn Fall-Winter Collection via @selectism :: http://t.co/O27Eo9pQGK
- What do you get the cyclist who has everything? Here's what we recommend for the dandy in your life. → http://t.co/ciPREr3fnP
- RT @racefietsblog: Leuk, de Alpe d' Quiz van @RaphaRacing is begonnen! 3 weken elke dag een andere prijs http://t.co/QiWhfY8hXy @rapha_euro…
- The @rapharacing #festive500 is back. Once again we challenge riders worldwide to clock 500km between 24-31 Dec. → http://t.co/HmgDlUJTiI
- RT @RaphaCycleClub: NYC: Analog to digital conversion. #oneoftheseplease #Festive500 http://t.co/f2rQd3Lv6g
- RT @roadcc: Rapha Alpe d’Quiz starts today with prizes to be won @rapharacing #cycling | road.cc http://t.co/tTdEEWjf8k
- RT @RaphaCycleClub: LDN: great to have @DanMartin86 as guest barista in the club this afternoon. http://t.co/IeCC0HKuKr
- Part Two from @RigoZimmerman's series, ‘The Winter’ is now available to read → http://t.co/GIl5Kj9Sfy • Part One → http://t.co/8IclbHCHcc
- As teased at the weekend, Rapha is pleased to welcome the return of Alpe d’Quiz, three weeks of… http://t.co/od3pWXomm9
- The 2013 edition of Alpe d’Quiz is now underway. For a chance to win a Rapha Backpack + Rain Cover, enter here → http://t.co/3n8XlqiNYq