2011-03-21Surrey Hill’s ride report
What a day we had, epic, springs to mind.
13 of us eventually set off from Westcott at 11am (so much for our early start!) Dawn, Johno, Barry, James, Hannah, Ollie, Simon, Sam, FBC, Andy (Swinley guru), plus 2 locals Stuart and Ray.
The ride starts with a flattish 4 or 5 miles along a bridal path, James is instantly frustrated by this boring bit and I try to calm him with talk of what’s to come. He’s also worried by being on a single-speed (my mind wanders to the gruelling climbs) “you’ll be fine” I reassure him (gulp).
First casualty is Dawns freehub body, clonk: look no drive! Hmm, a bad start as we haven’t even really started yet. We’re close to Holmbury where we are meeting Jules and Jason, so a cunning plan is hatched. Jason and I drive back to get Ollie’s bike (he’s riding my remedy) which is in the back of Johno’s lovely van. Z4 roof down blue sky country lane, tractor towing slurry filled trailer, sweet. Return journey, following Z4 down narrow country lane, slippy road car coming brakes locked, in-coming arse end of Z4! Phew that was close.
Back in Holmbury, Sam is waiting with his rear mech ripped off. Lucky Barry’s roscoe hanger is the same. Quick fix and we’re off, that’s me, Jules, Jason and Sam. We’re meeting the others further on so some catching up to do. Climbing Holmbury is a long slog, I prefer to get off the fireroad and head up a narrower winding track (longer though), towards the top we enter a swooping singletrack section that leads to a lesser ridden trail that Stuart showed me last week. This bit is loose and loamy with soft berms and a lovely flow. Eventually we end up at the woodyard and the start of one of this areas best known trails: Barry know’s best (Jules comments that our Barry won’t be happy: best would be a bridal path descent, not a fast twisty turny, swooping singletrack with roots and humps and berms, the lot ) At the bottom there’s an extra bit that finishes with a drop off onto the road. Thud! Jason over the bars hits the tarmac, ouch. Cup of tea in Peaslake should sort that wrist out I’m thinking.
In Peaslake we meet the others who have either ridden Pitch hill already or have stuffed their faces with cake. Stuart and Ray, with other stuff in their lives, rather than the MBRo35’s just keep on riding approach, have to peel off. The rest of us head back up the Pitch hill climb, FBC is like a runaway train and powers to the top. We all check out the view at the top and then drop down a techy decent before getting a bit lost. Jules to the rescue, we follow a cool trail to the bottom that has everyone buzzing.
Time to climb again and it’s a toughy , right back up to the Top Of Holmbury Hill. After quite a wait Hannah appears, she’s not exactly 100%, with her heart racing at 100mph. (A slightly worrying reoccurring ailment, she needs a shorts break, don’t want this to be the day I literally killed an over35, although judging Ollie’s face he may beat her to it ).
We stop for a snack at the viewpoint. Comments are made about my riding regime, defensively I reply with I just want to get us back before dark. Jules thinks this is hilarious, with her finger firmly pressed on the tempting fate button. Johno and I chuck ourselves down a mental gully with a crazy alpine descent. We then have to push up a near vertical mountaineer trail, his wails could be heard for miles around.
We all set off for a blast down yoghurt pots, followed by a high speed telegraph run, finished with another sweeping switchback singletrack piece of heaven.
We’re back at the Holmbury car park; I should have foreseen the mutiny and avoided this place, but too late: Jules, Jason, Simon, Dawn and Andy have cracked. After a minor strop, with talk of group bonding and tears in my eyes, I’ve got Dawn back on board. 20 mins later, after yet another cruel climb we stop for a re-group. Can’t believe my eyes; Jules appears, she’s back-on. Love it, the group thing, the shared experience, the joy, the pain; sticking together is what makes this so good.
We’re at the bottom of Leith Hill and I like the ‘interesting’ way up (sorry everyone). At the tower everyone admits it was a fun way up. Now it’s time for a fun descent starting with a steep drop, more twisty stuff and hang-on, CRACK, Barry’s broken his Roscoe swingarm . Oh the joys of unpaid warranty work! After pointing him in the right direction (the plough pub for a stiff drink) we continue down past Deliverance trail onto Summer lightning. Ollie James Hannah Dawn and Sam take the wrong fork and go down Summer frightening (a fun more DH route with a not so fun climb back up, oops!)
Onwards, the final descent along the wire fence that takes you down to Westcott, it’s a fun trail that finishes with a flat out gully section with a couple of rooty drops, we blast down it and everyone’s smiles tell the story. We are back in Westcott, I’ve got a sneaky ‘one last climb’ up to the church when “STOP”, Johno’s rear wheel has eaten his 2 month old xtr rear mech. Another one bites the dust.
15 started 6 finished; I hope I’m not getting a bad reputation
Well done to everyone, I really enjoy sharing this shit
Author: Martin (Bike Trax)