Having a bit of time to ponder a route today I thought we could do a “theme” night. Hence with the near summer dry dusty conditions it was a perfect night for all of those off camber and rooty trails.
Getting ready tonight was a different experience to other rides of late. Firstly it was light – yah BST is here! Secondly it was warm, hot even. Hence I rolled out to the Hylands garage with no lights (switched) on and in a short sleeved top.
Waiting for me at Hylands was our migrating Kiwi, back from her overwintering southern hemisphere months, plus Darren and Lloyd. Also there was John on his rejunvenated Yeti complete with new BB, pivots, some new running gear and hole in bank balance. It’s amazing who you see in the bike shop when “working from home”. Of course JohnR wasn’t there yet but he soon turned up and we headed off for wiggly wood, where my determination to keep my lights on as long as possible was soon given up as I rode in the shadow of Darren’s light.
At the end of Wiggly wood we cut across the swoopy, rooty (naturally for this evening) singletrack that eventaully joins with the bridleway to Crabtree lane. This a great little trail, with tight turns in the trees, quite open and windy in places, finally with some big old roots. My technique for the evening was a unsophisticated hammer over the roots, letting the 150mm revs and Orange5 take care of me.
Next it was down to Crabtree lane and along to Norbury House, down the access road and a right turn at the end of the fence. Then keeping the fence on our right we took the singletrack path that wound down through the woods below Druids Grove. This was first time along here for me and I found it a great piece of tight singletrack. It could be very fast if you knew the corners (which was my excuse why I wasn’t fast), but it certainly kept your attention.
Just below the viewpoint the track took a savage turn uphill and we all went granny early (copyright D’Andy). Darren made a good attempt to ride the whole way up but the rest of us had a stroll. Then it was back along a narrow singletrack, just about wide enough for a bike, hemmed in with bushes, followed by some faster open off camber sections, finally followed by yet more roots. Grinning like mad I was spat out on Jem’s favourite. Thanks to Dave Farmer at Cycleworks for suggesting that piece of trail. What a great route.
We regrouped headed back towards Norbury House and the mast then swooped down to the A25 and Westhumble. Through Westhumble we spun up Stain street and to the beginings of Michleham gallops before – yes you have probably guessed it already -Alpine. An off camber classic and by general agreement it was in fine shape. Certainly I pinged down it at a fair old rate, coming into Spider Bite corner far too fast and just missing a detour into the bushes by standing on the front brake.
At the carpark near the road JohnR tried to persuade us of the joys of riding up Juniper Bottom, however common sense prevailed and we crossed over to the rocks and roots of the Ashurst C1. As Darren, Amanda and JohnR scooted into the distance, Jon, Llloyd and I stopped to admire the roots from close up. Then remounted and spun up to the BoxHill road.
You are probably ahead of me now. On the boxhill road, looking for roots and off camber, what is a mountain biker to do? Yes China pig.
We chatted down the road and crossed over at the Top of the World park. The trail here is usually claggy, but was bone dry, which was my excuse as I whizzed past the China Pig turn off. I headed down CP with Jon hard on my tail I knew that it was going to be one of those runs where I had the flow. We soon passed Lloyd and Amanda, with the corners seeming to scream past and the bike floating over the roots. Of course Darren was long gone but I was chuffed, that was the best ride I’d had down CP in ages.
Heading back to Westhumble Darren and Amanda peeled off. We had a short discussion as where to finish off the ride and JohnR suggested Infestation. Root Hell! Perfect.
We crossed the A25 again and took the winding road back to Norbury House as JohnR headed off for a Strava climb effort. Regrouping at the House we peeled right for Infestation. Once again this was in great condition and the bike flew over the roots. Jon did seem to be a little unimpressed with JohnR’s discription of Infestation as slighly downhill and slightly rooty. Maybe quite rooty!
At the bottom I headed off for home as the others rode back for Hylands. As I got nearer home I realised that I was still in a short sleeved top. Unbelieveable for March! Alltogether a great evening for those who like roots and off cambers. So maybe Matt was best to stayed at home.