OK, Ready? We’re off on our virtual reality tour of the Box Hill circuit of the 2012 Olympic Games road race. Look out as we make the right turn to start the circuit, onto Zig Zag Road to start the climb.
0.0km. Watch that drain cover with a 5cm deep hole butting right up the steel casting, on the apex of the corner in the right-hand gutter. (100metres) Three more holes in quick succession right of the white line, not too bad if seen in time, but hit them in a pack of riders and it could be different story.
(150m). Here’s the fourth hole, half a metre out from the left-hand side, some 4cm deep, nearly a metre long. (200m). And here’s number 5, similar to number 4.
Under tree cover now on relatively smooth roads as we reach the first hairpin (750m) a left-hander, and we’re out from under the trees. Good going now – but for the speed humps – all the way to the second hairpin (1.75km). Tree cover again as we approach the hairpin. The tarmac eroded by, I presume, a combination of leaf oil and water. Lots of vibration on this bit.
Now we swing right up through the hairpin for holes numbers 6, 7 and 8 – three nasty holes one after the other, just to the right of the centre line.
Good going now for over a kilometre, as we enjoy the view across the Mole Valley, until tree cover again just before the third and final hairpin. Once again, the surface is a bit rough here, but stop complaining at the back there.
Round the bend, (1.2km) the speed hump has a chunk gouged out just right of centre (number 9).
(1.25km) There’s small hole (number 10) in the centre of road which can only get bigger.
(1.3m) another hole (11) a third of metre out from the left, as the road swings gently to the left, and there’s the National Trust Centre at the summit and lovely view of the weald.
Smoother going for a few hundred yards now, but mind the broken edges after the car park, as the road still rises ever-so-gently and under tree cover again.
Look out for the twins (2.8km, numbers 12 and unlucky 13) – two holes, one in the left gutter, one in the right. Oooh, I’d say they were about 4cm deep, about half a metre wide.
And here’s real beauty hole number 14 (3km), just inside the National Trust boundary by the sign for Box Hill Village). Hit that and no question, you’re on the deck. It’s a metre out from the left gutter, filled with water, half a metre long, 21cm wide and over 7cm deep. Brilliant. Some kind soul has put a red and white witch’s hat cone over it, as a warning. (Two weeks later this hole was filled in).
On we go, at maximum elevation now, a rolling bumpy, rough road, fast and straight, with a few sunken drain covers to avoid. Watch out for that nasty pothole (15) on the left, just along from Cycles Dauphiné shop in Tadworth (4km). A rider fell in that six months ago, was found KO’d at the roadside.
All clear now, but bad vibrations from more bumps as we descend to take a hard left and very bumpy turn back on ourselves, onto Headley Common Road (6km).
Bumpy because the four resident potholes have been crudely filled in – they’ll be back after all this rain!
And now, guys, enjoy the smooth surface along Headley Common Road, until the course turns left for an extremely fast descent off the Common. (8km).
The drain cover on the right hand side of the road was sunken until a few months ago. Now it’s been raised to level with the road. So Surrey Highways have sorted that one.
Flatout downhill now, for about 3km and there are five more potholes (16-20) to avoid before completing the lap.
Avoid them and voilà, you’ve got a round without a hole in one.
For more on this, read ‘Pothole plague’ on page 22 in this week’s issue of Cycling Weekly magazine (July 21 2011)