Eight of us made the St David’s Day ride, and they shall be identified only by their sick gangsta tags: Dandy, Muddy Dave, D-Dub, Jemster, James (who’s clearly not that sick), Lord On-One, RoadMole, and Southside Johnny.
Apologies for the late ride report, I’d like to say pressure of work prevented me from writing this up earlier, but I know what sort of ridicule I’d receive if I made that comment.
Having carried out extensive research earlier in the week, we’d determined that the Mickleham trails were holding up best in the damp conditions, so that’s where we headed. Climbing Crabtree Lane, and possibly due to my prompting, Southside Johnny led us into the ‘badger run’ in the ribbon-like copse that runs alongside the main bridle path. RoadMole elected to continue on the official right of way, only to receive abuse from a grumpy old dog walker who accused him and his fellow two-wheeled hooligans of churning up the tracks.
‘View to a kill / Bat Run’ wasn’t too slippery, but there was a delay at the end for a few of us as one of the log rolls claimed a victim. We avoided Ranmore completely, and headed down past The Stepping Stones to tackle the main Stane Street climb for the first time.
The Snail / Tactical Nuclear Penguin was next up, and again was running fairly well with no incidents, as far as I recall. The ‘Trim your bars’ climb was not easy, but the regular Sunday crossing of paths with Nick & Graham gave the perfect excuse for a pause and a chat, and a chance to regain our composure.
The triple-decker of Paranoid/Bat Cave/Tankslapper was next on the list. I wasn’t brave enough to tackle the gap jump, as the sticky conditions weren’t giving me the confidence that my run-up speed leading up to it was enough. I think the log rolls on this trail may have claimed the odd victim here, too.
All enjoyed Tankslapper, with Southside J tackling it for the first time. The second Stane Street climb was less well-received than the first, but climb it we did before heading across the Mickleham Gallops to Headley Heath and Ali’s Tea Wagon …
… which was shut. Some stayed to chat further with Nick & Graham, who’d just beaten us to the tea wagon, while the rest of us gave SS a go. This was great fun, with the bracken having died back and the loamy soil draining well.
The tea wagon opened shortly on our return, and the queue of hungry bikers duly depleted Ali’s stocks of cakes and bacon butties.
With pressing lunchtime commitments for some of us, it was a shorter than originally planned route back. Secret Singletrack, followed by Wizards Sleeve, this being a new trail for some of the group.
Southside Johnny led a few intrepid souls up to the Norbury Radio Mast, while half of us took the more leisurely route back to the saw mill. From here, any group cohesion totally fell apart, with some stopping to chat to more walkers, while those in a hurry headed directly home. A great ride, setting me up nicely for the four hour lunch to follow.