Wednesday’s night was a case of ‘if it could go wrong, it probably will’. After getting back to the cars at 10:20 and after more than two and a half hours of trail time it was a touch disappointing to find just 15 miles had disappeared under our wheels.
It all started out with the usual meet up at the garage but from there it was an adventurous evening.
We had a good crowd of Wednesday night riders with Danny, MarkyMark, Gary, Adam, Chris, D’Andy, JohnR, PaulM and Tony all ready to take on the Surrey Hills. Mark suggested a ride toward Leith Hill on the basis that the recent rain shouldn’t have affected the trails too badly over there and off we went.
Wiggly Wood passed easily enough but Garry wasn’t happy with his rattling headset as we started on the downhill. At bit of faffing later led to another long pause while ‘repairs’ continued at the start of the Polesden estate as Gary managed to round off his Ti bolts. After we got underway again toward Tanners Hatch there was more fiddling at the foot of the climb up to Ranmore.
The climb itself felt a real pig on my singlespeed as I ground up it wishing I had my Five back in action after a recent bit of tubeless trouble. I really felt I had heavy legs for most of the ride and none more so than at this point. But the workload was at least punctuated at the top whith more chat and fiddling before we headed off for LandRover.
I was spinning at a reasonable pace along Badger Run and decided to just keep going down Land Rover without interupting my flow. The rain had certainly created a less trustworthy surface than we’ve had for a while but the descent proved fine, with me concentrating on keeping a steady pace. At the bottom we stopped for the others. And waited.
Many minutes of waiting and anxious texts into the ether finally resulted in an appearance of the ‘chasing’ back half of the pack who had all gathered round to assist Tony slowly fix a tubeless tyre which had blown of the front rim of his Five as he’d turned onto Collar Bone, fortunately without serious injury to himself! Thank goodness it hadn’t waited until the Land Rover descent to do that.
At this point Gary discovered his battery was the cause of the rattling on his bike…
Anyway, we were back riding, down to the railway line to let a rare train pass before crossing over and heading toward Westcott. Those of us at the front stopped and waited for the others to catch up. And waited; there’s a theme developing here isn’t there??
So after an age long enough for D’Andy’s clothes to go out of, and then come back into fashion, he arrived ready to resume the ride but missing his right Crank Bros pedal. It had disintegrated and was now in his pocket, no doubt a victim of the remarkable leg torque he is rumoured to generate. Or they could just be a bit pants.
Fortunately the spindle remained and D’Andy was able to continue riding thanks to his Shimano trainers but I expect today he he’ll find he’s only able to walk in small left-hand circles only due the uneven strain on his lower back from riding effectively with one leg. This would sadly make him a talking point at his place of work, which would of course be quite unusual for D’Andy…
Anyway we continued onward, up past Westcott Church and down the stepping trail down toward the Rookery which had me exploring the limits of my 100mm-is-all-you-need philosophy on the Inbred. The Rookery climb, after so many stops and starts proved every bit as painful as I expected, I reckon I’ve lost a bit of singlespeed aptitude after a summer of road spinning as it was hurting.
The ride up Wolverns was reasonably paced, fast enough that I could get me breathing back under control before the others turned up at the crossroads section. Here the plan was to head left round the back of Westcott via the ‘dry’ sandy trails. This was almost immediately by Mark’s effort to ride over the horse barrier which resulted in a few bent teeth on his outer chainring and a bit more time wasted inspecting the damage.
By this time there was no flow happening at all as the dry sections anticipated turned out to be heavy wet sand instead. The first plunge through the trees was almost blind with substantial amounts of foliage in the way and then our comedy of errors continued with me leading everyone down the wrong path which proved to be a narrow gulley that we then had to climb back up.
Back on the route we the stumbled and clattered our way down the ‘proper’ gulley before Chris stalled us all by getting briefly stuck in what felt like three feet of gulley, bank and vegetation. Reaching the bottom we plunged straight into a deep mass of sandy mud before Tony then pitched off the side of his stalled bike and into the undergrowth, vanishing completely in a mass of brambles and nettles!! Hilarious!
We pulled a smarting Tony out of the bushes and then lurched down the brick turn, with me managing to get my bike wedged sideways briefly before we finally reached friendlier trails. Back in the village we crossed the green and retraced our way back out to start the Low Med climb. My legs were getting heavier by the mile and I had no speed at all up the hill.
At the top we parted from PaulM and the rest of us headed to take Dearly Beloved down from Ranmore Church to the farm, splattering through growing mud patches at the to before getting a chance to pick up speed in the final two thirds. Great fun for me I have to say.
The downside of this was the climb up toward Wiggly Wood from the Polesden Road. I managed to clean in but had to stop at the crossroads halfway up to have a minute’s rest but the reward was a fast run through Wiggly Wood to end the evening.
So there you have it – Wednesday’s ride was brought to you by the Noddymoles, a ride which featured:
- A noisy and incurable headset which turned out to be a loose battery bag
- A LOT of faffing
- An extended repair to a tubeless tyre blowing off Tony’s rim
- A disintegrating Candy pedal
- A badly advised hop over the metal horse barrier causing a bent big ring
- Dodgy route finding
- Unrideable gulleys
- A disappearing trick from Tony who reappeared, scratched and stung
- And lots of laughs!