Three hills challenge; Reigate, Box and Leith - all in a day on mountain bikes.

The three hills.

Actually we've loads of hills here in Surrey. Just some are more well known than others. Box Hill is probably the most famous, with Leith possibly second. As stay at home dads, we drop our children off just prior to 9am, then collect at 3pm. Why not, whilst the children are at school, see if we can fit visits into the three hills on the same day? The only proviso being off-road on mountain bikes.

Quick look at the map suggests such a thing is actually quite straightforward. Indeed looking at the map, the route from the caravan cafe at Headley to the top of Leith Hill was more or less a straight line. One suspects others, through the years, have also done this. How hard can it be?

We did it!

There and back.

As you can see, it is a bit of a there and back route. We also dicked around a bit at Redlands, and then later on, on Reigate Hill. Redlands I remember a few years ago looked quite extreme, with some big drops. On our visit it looked quite tame - erosion? Dunno, but we didn't really bother exploring; the bit we saw looked a bit boring. Best wait for the fun drop at home eh?

Time wise it was all a bit tight, and we got back smack on 3pm. Sure we could have changed the route, and got back sooner. However the tight schedule is all part of what we do.

Today felt about the same effort wise as the run to Biggin Hill last week; perhaps a tad harder. Both have their merits and it would be hard to pick one route over the other. Distance wise there was only a kilometre or so in it really.

Three cafes, three hills.

Both Box Hill and Reigate Hill café stops were quiet affairs. Leith was also quiet, but today we could actually see the sea through the Shoreham Gap. Stunning. And from here you're not far off being equidistant from Gatwick and Heathrow, so some time was spent plane watching as both airport approaches were visible. With the bigger aircraft it looked as though we could pluck them from the sky.

The sea at Shoreham Gap
Pasty and tea please.

Box Hill with no roadies?

I lie.

Actually Box Hill was notable for one thing; for once us mountain bikers outnumbered the roadies! And on Reigate I showed PP the new drop down. Hilarious, and I set a KOM on STRAVA for my efforts. How often does that happen eh?

The bikes.

Hardtail or full suspension? Actually both had merits. Pointing down a rutted trail, PP smoked me, absolutely, as if we were on different rides or in differing time zones. Point up, climb, more even there. On the straights, no choice. Down the zig zags at Reigate I smoked him, only becasue of the short wheelbase on my bike; his bike was a touch too long for one corner. Evens then. Say it quietly though; I should have taken my Orange 5.

The people.

I'm 50, PP is a good few years younger. He eats more Pringles than I so his higher mass offset my more advanced years. We were an even match today, where normally he smokes me most places. On Leith Hill we set no records on STRAVA. On home turf, all of a sudden, we're top again. As PP said though, that's more a reflection of being a little reckless than any inherent skill. Fair point.