Last night was a rare thing. A dry, clear night with broken cloud cover which after the soul destroying past few weeks came as a welcome relief to all involved. It was a real pleasure to be out on semi dry trails with a carefully chosen route to avoid some of the notorious mud holes in the area.
With six riders on hardtails including four on singlespeeds it was always going to be a ride to appeal to the purists. We started off ducking into the tracks along the edge of the fields at Bocketts Farm, working with the gradient for a change as we zipped along toward Thorncroft Manor and the start of the climb to Stane Street via a sapping slog up Alsation. Once there we set off across Mickleham, up the gallops to the top of Chainbreaker where last week we met a whole tribe of riders from Reigate.
This time there was no excuse to stop and chat as we disappeared down Chainbreaker, quickly discovering the thick leaf cover was hiding a multitude of slippery roots. It was seat of the pants stuff and I had a couple of tank slappers myself before Dave binned it over a drop-off giving us all pause to slow down. Fortunately, no harm to bike or rider.
After that, Denbies beckoned with another slog of a climb to satisfy Colin’s need to find out how difficult riding singlespeed can be. Me, on my geared Inbred had to settle in to a steady spin as my lack of fitness started to show. Our reward was clear skies over Dorking and the chance to reminisce about non-biking good times. It was that kind of ride.
We then cashed in our climbing chips by taking the descent down from Ranmore Vicarage, another hit and hope run with mounds of leaf fall, patches of gloop and flinty water gullies. I held back a touch fearing a classic off following too closely in someone’s wheeltracks but we all made it back to the road to Westhumble and the final arduous haul up Crabtree Lane.
We followed Crabtree right across to Bockett’s and the end of the ride, punctuated by a few minutes refueling and more gossiping. So that was that, a great run with fewer stops than normal, some hard work and a nicely chosen route. I loved it.