It’s been a couple of weeks now since we have managed a Sunday ride report, or even a Sunday ride. So when Karl turned up at Bockett’s car park at 0835 and saw he was alone he probably thought he was in for a solo ride. Fortunately Dave W arrived soon after and at the usual JR time, so did I – making an elite band of three. Other Moles had already posted their excuses such as a pre-planned hangover, or the frankly implausible Dandy: “I am too busy working”, so we abandoned waiting for the invariable early Elliot and headed off along the Admiral’s tack towards Polesden.
Holmbury was the destination because it was the location most likely to be reasonably dry after all the recent rain. The section past the horsey fields just before Dorking Road showed what we could expect from the trails, with the puddles in the dip almost forming a continuous lake. Karl’s singlespeed was sporting an interesting double decker rear mudguard configuration, but it was soon apparent that neither of them was going to protect him from a wet back.
Reaching the top or Ranmore in the mist, we decided that AZ and blind terror might be just that little bit too wet and slippery, so we took Whitedown to Abinger Roughs, then on up to Holmbury by the now traditional Youth Hostel route. As we slowed for the top of Yoghurt Pots Karl urged us on, captivated by the soft misty lighting. And as we reached the trig point we were greeted with a panoramic view of . . . . grey fog.
So after a couple of clicks on the camera I followed hot on Karl’s heels as Dave led us into the Pots, and by the third turn had completely lost them. Although most of the Holmbury sandstone was impressively dry, there was plenty of deep wet Yoghurt at the bottom of the big dips. By the time Dave and Karl had caught their breath I rejoined them. We decided we could hear the distant call of Cheese Straws from Peaslake, so next it was over to Barry’s. Karl and Dave decided it would be good practice to take this steadily and smoothly, getting the right lines instead of riding on the ragged edge, so I was able to keep Karl in sight, right up to the first bomb hole.
We got our hot drinks and cake from the shop and sat in the bus shelter to consume them when a nearby biker in red, who had been bent over a repair on a wheel, suddenly stood up and exclaimed “Dave W!” It was Darren, who had been out for a ride with mates for a few hours and had just fixed a puncture and was now planning on heading back to Dorking. He joined us and we took the traditional route back – Rad Lane was as bad as it ever gets, taking effort to push through the mud even on the downhill sections.
We split from Darren at the top of High Med and after Dearly Beloved skirted round the mud on Connicut Lane to get back to Dorking Road. Not a very promising start to the day, foggy and muddy, but somehow it gave a whole new dimension to an otherwise well worn route. And the verdict on Karls’ mudguard setup – more development is needed. I didn’t look much cleaner and I hope Dave had a change of clothes in his car or that nice Audi is going to be a mess.
A few photos are available on: https://www.flickr.com/photos/muddymoles/sets/72157649130632969/