As I am the only Mole who didn’t get a name check in Matt’s post about our outing to Holmbury Hill, (probably due to the fact I made it the whole way round without falling off or breaking my Mountain Bike), I thought I might post a few words about last night’s ride.
It was a really pleasant evening ride, right up to the point that I took a tumble off the bike.
This was my first evening ride for some time, and the first of this summer (does April count as summer, or is it just global warming?). Matt, Dave and I set off for a brief whiz round the Surrey Hills, aiming to enjoy the last of the light and make the most of the longer evening.
With no route in mind, we made up our way along some familiar trails round Norbury Park, heading in a meandering fashion toward Ranmore, with the inevitable insane descent in mind.
As we got ready at the top of the trail down through Denbies Vinyard, I joked with Matt that as we were coming at it from another angle, I wouldn’t make the same balls up of the sharp right hand turn I did last time. For reasons I still can’t quite understand, as we came down the track last time I forgot to turn the handle bars, relying solely on a lean to the right to get me round the corner. Instead I had ended up on the top of the bank, wondering what had gone wrong.
As another irony I had spent half an hour last Sunday afternoon trying to get my eldest daughter to have a go at riding her pink Raleigh girlie bike round the garden, without the stabilisers. As I ran up and down behind her, gripping the back of the saddle and trying to find an opportune moment to let go, I had kept telling her to use the handle bars to steer, not just lean her weight and hope for the best. Nice to know that like all parents I preach “the do as I say, not as I do” approach!
Any way back to the story in question. Matt pointed out that as I wouldn’t have to make the tight right hand turn, I would probably make the descent at a much faster pace. As I streaked past the bend in question I thought everything was going fine, and while I was travelling a bit quicker than normal, I felt in full control.
As I reached the last part of the track I must have misjudged my line, as I ran though a soft patch, and suddenly the bike was moving sideways as fast as it was moving forwards. I instinctive grabbed at the brakes, which on reflection was the wrong thing to do, and with the bike twitching all over the place hit the other side of the track, with its 3 feet high bank. I have to admit it’s all a bit hazy as to what happened next, but it involved wobbling, bouncing, my face and right shoulder running along the bank and then the bit where I lay on the ground, wondering where I was and what was I doing here.
Having ascertained that it didn’t feel like I had broken anything, I thought I had better take the next step and try and stand up. I got to my feet and apart from feeling rather winded, everything seemed OK. I looked myself over, noticing the scratches and scrapes on my right arm, and that my glasses weren’t sitting very well on my face. The biggest shock was the wetness down my front, and the gush of liquid pooling near my feet. My immediate reaction was “Christ, its blood! What have I done to myself”? Reality kicked in several seconds later. That much blood would probably mean I had torn a limb off, and blood was pumping out like a fire hydrant. I then realised that in the fall I had lost the valve off my Camelbak, and the liquid was just the contents obeying the laws of gravity (or capillary).
To cut this very long post short(er), I am in one piece, bar a few cuts and scratches. I bent my glasses back into shape, and with a bit of help from Matt and Dave even managed to find my Camelbak mouthpiece.
Like all good soldiers, I bit the bullet, got back on my bike, and finished the ride in more sedate style, while feeling guilty for making Matt and Dave ride all the way back up to find me.
While I am annoyed that I fell off, I can thank my lucky stars that I got off as lightly as I did. The track is made up of flint, compacted chalk and track ballast, so I am bloody luck that I didn’t rip myself to ribbons.
Oh well, I can always try that next week!