What great weather we’re currently enjoying for mountain biking. It’s almost enough to make up for the terrible summer we had last year, with firm dry ground, clear skies and sparkling, frosted surroundings still covered in last autumn’s fallen leaf cover.
With eyes open for the occassional greasy-mud gotcha, we’ve been putting in the miles recently, with two trips to Newlands Corner from Bookham, a round trip of some 26 miles, plus more forays out toward White Downs before tucking back to Box Hill for supplies.
White Downs is where the fun is, particularly at this time of year when the undergrowth has died back, letting you see what you’re riding. Hidden in amongst the trees is Abba Zabba, Dave and I’s nemesis (neither of us having successfully ridden it), leading on to Blind Terror 2, a rooty drop off that leaves no room for hesitation which itself leads nicely onto the original Blind Terror. A bit further on is more as yet unnamed fun consisting of similar gnarliness and fear inducing drops.
Last Sunday conditions were ideal so we managed to have a good old play around on the way to an appointment with the bacon roll salesperson at Newlands. I managed to upend myself at one point in a comedy walking speed drift looking for the right line to take me down towards the road, but at least it gave me the chance to check out a line I’ve always avoided til now. It rattles over and down across a patchwork of exposed roots but the actual line through them is surprisingly clear, so I rode that to be sure.
Dave’s the master of the alternative, drifty route round them that I found so difficult this week. It takes confidence to get it right – confidence that the front will stick and that the back end will follow without side swiping a tree. In fact, as is often the case I think it’s harder than the direct line down unless the roots are damp.
All in all, a great ride across the North Downs. Hopefully Colin managed to check out some new routes too over Holmbury way for next time we’re over there.