Perfect Indian Summer conditions were enjoyed by Kaff, Fiona, Old Sid, Pat, Omar, TT, Richie, Greg, Michael, Barry, Alan, Sam, Keith, Kean, Jeroen, Neil, new rider Jerman, Myself and after undergoing a trial separation, Minna and Slim joined us from the Mods.
Barry took on the early leading duties and as we found our way down towards The Graveyard I noticed that Alan was no longer with us. After some enquiries were made we thought that he must have headed home as nobody had seen him leave the car park. In the end this turned out to be true but he'd done it trying to help somebody out and we hadn't noticed. Sorry!
The first 45 minutes was a bit stop start as I tried to guide Alan and the late arriving Simon and James to meet us as we wound our way towards Strawberry Ponds and then down the lovely rooty descent to the stream and Sze's Bridge. We eventually picked up Simon almost on his doorstep and James caught up with us at the Drop-off. Unfortunately Alan, although heard from, was not seen again.
As the pace picked up we rode The V, Stream Logs and W then headed down through the Boggy Valley onto The Loop which we had to re-configure due to a number of fallen trees. From there we headed at a quick pace onto the extended trail down to The Rooty Staircase which as usual was full of potential for getting it wrong and was great fun.
We took the more direct climb up to Goldings Hill Pond's and then after crossing the road headed back towards the car park with Kean, who singlehandedly had all of the day's mechanicals, starting it all off by nearly ripping his rear mech off on a stump.
From the car park we rode Matt's trail all around the edge of the road back to Jacks Hill where Michael entertained us with some nice log jumping. After The Ridges we rode through the Bracken Field down to 4/5/6 logs where Old Sid, judging by the cheer that went up, had the days most popular tumble.
Next was the long downhill to Theydon Church which is a great trail that requires a bit of invention to keep on the right path, especially in the leaves. By the sounds of it Barry caused the most havoc due to his dismount in the dry stream bed which left his TV looking a bit sorry for itself and Kean's first chain break gave us a breather at the bottom.
Loads of foolishness then took place on the dash down to be at the front of the queue at the bakers with Greg side-swiping bins, bollards, bus stops and old folks on mobility scooters all the way to the front door.
We took our lunch over to the green which was very pleasant up to the point that Kaff and Pat started removing the accumulated dog's muck from their tyres and shoes. I was glad I'd finished my custard tart.
We climbed back up to cross Jack’s Hill at the entrance to The Deer Sanctuary, made our way down the lane and onto the trail past the camp site before taking on the climb back up to The Ridges and then half way through Indian Summer, where we got a call from Simon to head right and follow a new trail down to the brook where after a bit of huffing and puffing and another chain break for Kean (chain full of power links) we again made our way back to Golding’s Hill car park.
From there it was over to Wake Valley and the Double Logs before a quick loo stop at High Beach and then around the Church for a quick blast down Lippet’s which was in perfect grippy shape.
The last 10 minutes started about 20 minutes from home with a quick pace set all the way back to the car park where just before breaking out of the trees, this week’s Epping forest film crew hd set up studio. They were obviously not feeling all that adventurous as they barely made it onto the trail and to the great dissapointment of most no half-dressed females where available for review this week.
The usual debrief ensued at the SH including, beer tasting, shirt sampling, gammon cooking and beige dodging.