What a day. A big turnout in the car park which was swelled by the return of The Mods and the lovely weather.
There were loads of ladies, Madge, Sarah, Helen, Hannah, Emma, Kaff, Dawn, Wendy (Sze was scumming and Fi and Jules joined us later), Omar, Barry, Rob, Ollie, Dave, Simon, Michael, James, Glenn, Sam, Rob, new rider Richard and Myself.
We set off up Pole Hill for another tilt at the race loop and with so many of us involved it should have been a good way of further bedding in the course but with those that knew it disappearing off at the front, it left those that didn't to try and make it up and we ended up with people scattered all over the place again. Dawn, who had one of her super mojo day's, did three laps while we tried to recover everybody
Back together, the dash down to Bury Road started with Me leading and James and Rob in very close attendance. All was going to plan until we hit the second muddy bog which sucked in my front wheel and threw me over the bars. I landed on my feet just in time for the back wheel to hit me between the shoulder blades, nice. After a quick delay for Omi's chain break we headed down through The Graveyard, over the bridges and through the stream which caused more havoc and proved too much for James' freebub which despite our best efforts at bashing it very hard, would not play ball and he sadly had to return to base.
Around Connaught and up to Grimstons Oak was next, before looping back to No Name and along to ride Duncan’s Log, where Rob came to grief first time over. From there we headed up to The Hump for a bit of a play on the log ride before heading up Andy’s and around The Church to High Beech and a loo stop
Dawn, who as I’ve said was in that mode, decided the Big Downhill had to be done, and after she consumed about 5 energy shots we set off past Carl's to the top of the trail to get the descent order sorted. Dangerous Dave and Ollie led off at pace and before we knew it we were approaching the funnel to the Bomb Hole. The pair of them went in almost side by side and just behind them I was going way too fast and with back brake full on and Duncan laughing his head off, I went through a bush and then into the drop behind Ollie. We made it through, turned downhill and then Ollie had a big moment on the second roller, nearly unseating himself. Great fun.
At Avey Lane we turned right and followed the trail through to The Woodbine Pub and then onto the climb up Big View. Half way up, Glenn and I come across a small collection of ladies staring at Helen’s bike. Helen, who has obviously been intently studying the anatomy of a bicycle, looked over with her rear mech in her hand and declared, with stunning accuracy, that she has a “problem”. Her hanger has snapped and with no spare sitting in her bag there was nothing else to do but wheel it up to the top and get to work singlespeeding it. Barry donated the chain breaking skills and with a bit of fiddling it’s on, with the chain tighter than a guitar string.
Whilst all of this was going on, Helen, yes it’s her bike remember, is catching some rays, obviously happy to trust “The Men” to sort it. We move off, advising her to take it easy and within three turns of the pedals, she’s up in the saddle riding as if the bike has just had a full service! One thing is for certain though, as with Dawn, she’d take to the singlespeed no problem.
We head over to Wodridden Hill and up to the bridleway that takes you to Copped Hall. Dawn leads us on a cross country trail that requires us to cross two boggy streams which are hidden by leaf fall. Duncan and Michael show us how it’s done but not many others are too convinced. We finally make The Avenue and take the trail past Naked Ladies and up to ENR and The Ridges.
At Jack’s Hill car park we rode the great little trail that takes you through the rhododendrons and down towards Sze’s Drop-off where we have a bit of play time. We climb back up to the rope swing with Rob, on his first ride after defecting from The Mods, showing his great climbing style.
Following the trail out to the Lower Ridges we dash down through Indian Summer which is dry and fast. Next is the trail back up towards Goldings Hill and crossing the road we head for The Boggy Valley where Sam entertains us with a nice and smelly over the bars at the stream crossing. From the car park we head for The Double Logs and High Beech again before heading to our lunch stop at Bradleys where we meet Jules, Fiona and Steve. Hannah heads for home at this point, saving her legs for her big adventure.
After lunch we head for Lippets and a speedy descent before heading towards Suntrap and up towards the Owl where somehow we loose Duncan (sorry). Just before the pub we turn off and ride the steps and all I can hear as we go down them is Sarah laughing. We then head for West Essex GC and Gilwell Park before climbing the bridleway up to the top of Ganja Hill. Barry offers to head for the bottom to get photo’s of the group as we ride fast downhill to the bottom of the climb up to Pole Hill.
Steve leads us on a right turn half way up the climb and onto a quick downhill before the climb proper up to The Obelisk. Wendy claims the final succesful ascent and as far as I’m concerned, all of those that made it up in one hit deserve to be blood tested.
All that remains is for us to head back to the bomb holes at the top of Pole Hill for a quick muck about in the dips before we head for the SH at a foolish pace through the narrow trail alongside the golf course.
A great day out in terrific weather for riding. The debrief once again turned into a delong with Tamara and Vanessa swelling our numbers!