After a weekend of Welsh slate, rocks and rain. It was back to Surrey’s dry trails. Although thankfully they weren’t a dusty as last week. Did Matt mention that they were dusty last week?
Rolling up to the Highlands Garage there was a select group of riders getting ready. Darren, “Mr Puncture” Adam, Lloyd and Big Al. As well as feeling underblinged on my Orange hardtail (blinging it up were a Trek Fuel Ex9, a Specialised S-works FS, Yeti FS and a Kermit Green Ibis Tranny SS), I also knew that this wasn’t going to be one of the slowest of rides.
Heading up through Wiggly Wood, it seemed to Al and I that Adam and Darren had some form of extra assistance – maybe a Gruber – which certained seemed like a good idea by the end of the ride. Or maybe just riding for almost 11 days in a row is the answer? Certainly they were cruising.
Stopping to catch our breath, Adam entertained us with tails of a ultra expensive bike sales. Dropping £15K in one go – wow!
We headed up from Wiggly wood, turned left to Crabtree lane and then left to “Jem’s favourite” as the Femole’s claim it’s called. The trails were wonderfully quick but not dusty and the big ring was fully engaged.
Next it was down to Mickleham and up Staine Street to Mickleham Downs. As this point it felt rude not to head along “Alpine” which was it’s usual off camber test of nerves. For Darren and Lloyd it was a new experience which I think everyone enjoyed. Even if Lloyd caught his hand badly at the “Spider bite” corner.
This ride wasn’t destined to be flat, so we headed up High Ashurst, with predictably Adam and Darren clearing it with ease and the rest of us having a nice little stroll. We chatted along to the BoxHill road and it was lights on as we headed down the Brockham descent via the quarry. It’s the first time I’ve been down there for a while and it’s amazing how the extra vegetation changes the look of things – or at least that’s my excuse for missing the quarry turn!
We rolled along to Boxhill Farm – with a quick stop to chat to Rob who had seen us riding along – then it was up the climb to the Smith and Western. Adam’s lack of food was making him almost delerious – he was considering go to the S&W for food – yuck! I wonder whether he caved into getting some chips at the Highlands garage – he mentioned it enough. Lloyd also showed us an impressive trick. Stopping to take a drink from his Camelbak, he managed to drip more water from under his helmet than he was drinking.
It was then time to fit in another trail that is at it’s best in this dry weather. China Pig. Al saided that Adam and Darren “just disappeared”. Impressive riding although Adam came close to overcooking it onto the gate at the end.
To finish the “it was never going to be flat” theme we rode back up Staine Street to Alsation. Adam and Darren pinged off down the path and past the road jump I caught them up. Those who know Adama and Darren will be surprised by this – but the real reason was that Adam startled a dear which ran down the path, pinged of a hedge, before escaping into the fields. It’s sort of impressive that a deer a full sprint was holding them up.
We headed back in Leatherhead to finish off one of our quicker rides. Wonder if Adam gave in to the delights of the Chipshop?