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  • Writer's pictureNathan Perrott

The Kentish Killer 2024 (Short Route - 70km)

Updated: Mar 9

Brands Hatch

Sunday, March 3rd 2024

As dawn broke over the picturesque landscapes of Kent, hundreds of cyclists, including myself, gathered with a singular purpose – to conquer “The Kentish Killer” and support a noble cause. This event, renowned for its challenging climbs and breathtaking scenery, serves a purpose far beyond the thrill and camaraderie of cycling; it raises vital funds for the Air Ambulance Kent Surrey & Sussex Charity, a lifeline for those in dire need. 🚁

The morning of the event welcomed us with a brisk chill in the air, but also the first sense of transition from Winter to Spring - a stark departure from the relentless rain that had battered the region in the days leading up to it. Though the skies had cleared, the remnants of the storm lingered in surface water, flowing downhill streams on the hill climbs, and scatterings of debris on the roads, all adding an extra layer of challenge to our journey. Many succumbed to punctures early on. The temperature, a biting 1°C at the start, only rose to a modest 5°C by the finish, but at least it wasn't raining. 🥶

I was doing the KK short route (plenty of challenge for me personally, given my general lack of cycling fitness over the winter) but the majority were taking on the long route, taking them deeper into Kent.

After departing on-track at Brands Hatch (and who knew that would have such elevation differential?) at around 8.15am, the journey began with Bates Hill, stretching 2.27km with a deceptive average gradient of 3.4%. Its modest incline belied the challenge it posed, setting the tone for what was to come. 🏎️

Carter’s Hill at Underriver-One Tree Hill soon followed, a 1.7km beast with a max gradient of 14.1%, pushing everyone to dig deep into their reserves of strength and determination so early on in the ride. The 6.8% average gradient was unforgiving, a true testament to the hill’s daunting nature. 🥵

After Carter's, we flanked Knole Park and descended River Hill, one of the fastest points on the route, rolling into the village of Sevenoaks Weald and on to face Ide Hill, after looping around Bough Beech reservoir. 🚀

Ide Hill was a little easier to sit in and spin, but it felt like it went on for a lot longer than the many times I've climbed it before. The promise of the food stop at the summit kept me going, which was wonderfully serviced by the local Scouts group. 🙏

Sundridge Hill offered no respite, with it's very steep ascent and relentless gradients reminding me of the harsh beauty of the Kentish landscape. By this point, there wasn't much left in the legs, which had been neglected over the winter months, bar a few tokenistic turbo trainer sessions. I had to zigzag on parts of this climb as there just wasn't the power to go straight up. ⛰️

Finally at the top, I knew I had a few miles of flattish-to-downhill gradient to try and recover for the final two unknown-to-me climbs. Row Dow (Otford) and Tinker Pot Lane (West Kingstown) hit you in fairly quick succession of each another and truly encapsulated the spirit of the Kentish Killer. The former, with its staggering 16.1% max gradient over 0.8km, and the latter, a brief but brutal 0.4km climb with a 16.9% max gradient, challenged every cyclist to their core and saw me snaking all over the place by this point, like a drunk cyclist. 🐍

Crossing the finish line was a great sense of relief and achievement, not just for the physical feat (given I had done little-to-no training), but for the knowledge that our efforts contributed to a cause greater than just taking on another sportive. 🏁

The Kentish Killer is more than a cycling event; it’s a testament to the power of community (both in the sense of cycling community and the local community) and the indomitable human spirit. When you think you've got nothing left, which I felt on pretty the majority of the climbs 😂), it's incredible how much more you can give.

Reflecting on the day (true 'type-2 fun'), the challenging climbs and the weather conditions stand as monuments to everyone's perseverance and dedication. Sharing this journey with you, I hope it inspires more cyclists to take on this remarkable challenge and support the invaluable work of the Kent and Sussex Air Ambulance.

You can keep an eye out for next year's Kentish Killer registration at and Flame Rouge's other events, including the infamous Hell of the Ashdown, at

The Kentish Killer 2024 Short Route visualised on Relive

Short Route: Hills Summary

Bates Hill

🔺 Distance: 2.27km

📈 Max gradient: 7.1%

↗️ Average gradient: 3.4%

Carter's Hill

🔺 Distance: 1.7km

📈 Max gradient: 14.1%

↗️ Average gradient: 6.8%

Ide Hill

🔺 Distance: 1.6km

📈 Max gradient: 9.0%

↗️ Average gradient: 5.9%

Sundridge Hill

🔺 Distance: 1.6km

📈 Max gradient: 15.8%

↗️ Average gradient: 6.8%

Row Dow

🔺 Distance: 0.8km

📈 Max gradient: 16.1%

↗️ Average gradient: 11.2%

Tinker Pot Lane

🔺 Distance: 0.4km

📈 Max gradient: 16.9%

↗️ Average gradient: 12%

Short Route on Ride with GPS

Short Route on Strava

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