5 Moles met at the Highlands garage this week. MarkyMark, Poncho Danny, Kevin, JonH and myself. It was a windless and almost barmy night, warmer that a summer evening on Ben Nevis DH track Jon assured me. With an all round “slopey shoulder moments” it was down to me to decide where to go.
Well, with the trails having dried out amazingly well since our mudfest last wednesday (not a good night to lose your mudguard) I thought that the best way to take advantage of the unseasonal weather was to ride a “summer evening route”.
As soon as we set off through Wiggly wood it was obvious that the trails were in unfeasibly good condition for January and by god I was overdressed. At the end of Wiggly woods people were already stripping off clothling. Looking at the weather data after the ride it was 11C! I was dressed for 1C not 11C. Definitely a boil in the bad moment.
Heading down from Wiggly woods to Crabtree lane, the bridleway had turned from last week’s quagmire to a fine trail again and the singletrack had a great flow. Then turning left onto “Jem’s favourite” it was fast with only a few small patches of mud remaining that drifted the bike and bumped up the heart rate.
Regrouping at the Norbury park end we headed to Mickleham, over the A24 and up the slog of Staine Street to Mickleham gallops (no I didn’t have a flat tyre just the weight of the rider!) . At the end of the gallops, chainbreaker was quite tricky with fast dry sections that built up speed and loose muddy sections that were sketchy, especially going in too fast.
High Ashurst was a C1 (copyright MarkyMark) although Danny made it look easy. He could have been on his CHIPS Harley. Sadly for most of us it was a pleasurable stroll.
Across the Boxhill Road, we headed down Bat out of Hell. It seemed grippy before we hit the rutted sections near the bottom where the chalk was still extremely slippy and front wheels were bouncing off one side of the ruts to the other. Everyone had the same story “I almost lost it”. “I thought I was off there”.
Everyone was fine and we regrouped at Brockham before spinning along the A25 to the Minefield climb, where Danny showed us how to do it. Was he going for a Strava time? I almost stacked it at the steps but made it to the Smith and Western in one piece.
As part of the “Summer evening” route, China pig, Danny’s nemesis was a must. Danny seemed confident not to repeat his family planning accident of last year but almost stacked it on the first bend with a log sticking out on the trail. However after that he put the afterburners on and was gone. I do think though that it should be renamed from China Pig to Limbo. Some of the trees that had recently come down were really low across the track.
A quick blast across to Norbury park and we split up either heading off either back to Highlands garage or home.
Looking back already (Friday) it seemed like a freak evening. So damn warm that it could have been well into spring with dry grippy trails. It was definitely a evening to make the effort to get out.