For me the Sunday ride happened on a Monday. Bank Holidays can be confusing.
Granted if I had gone out into the rain I could have done a Sunday ride and a Monday ride but I opted to stay in the dry and do some ruthless tidying in my garage.
So Monday found us in Hurtwood Control Car Park No2 waiting as assorted riders turned up with their steeds. I arrived to find Keith, James and DaveW already there. Keith was on the Cycleworks Orange 5 demonstrator and I’d taken my 5 out of mothballs so it didn’t feel too left out. DaveW also had his 5 out for the day. AndyC soon turned up followed by Iain (long time, no see) and JohnR. That completed the initial ride group. We headed up to the Windmill via the car park drop in. Much standing around and looking was invested as the mud made conditions slippery at best.
On the climb up to the Windmill DaveW spied that one of the big drop offs on the left had been opened up and he quickly dispatched that twice, once on his own and again to show the rest of us how it’s done. From there we headed to Two Headed Dog where most of us did the easy route and then DaveW did the steeper one just to show the other stuff wasn’t a fluke!
My sense of direction isn’t great over in Winterfold Woods but I know that “Gone in 60 seconds” is now just “Gone” as it has had logging work in the area. The bomb holes provided the normal challenge and after some initial tree hugging, Keith sailed through the complex of three showing that the 5 is indeed a forgiving bike.
Back over in Peaslake we did some more trails before the T trails beckoned. These are pretty muddy at this time of year and it was a battle of will with the roots. At the end of T4 (I think) I convinced the pack to trun right for Death Star and the noobs headed to the end of the trench on foot to watch our various exits. I did my normal hard left over the roots and headed down while most of teh otehr did a more straight down route and then headed back up to do T5. I opted for tea and cake at this point knowing that T5 would be a mud bath.
It was as we sat at the Peaslake Stores that Andy661 arrived with a mate (sorry, name eludes me). After we’d refueled we heaed up to Holmbury with JohnR taking the 5 this time. Logging work around the resovoir left the area muddy and hard work, especially after the break. We reached the Trig Point and headed back to do Yogurt Pots which I was expecting to be a bit of a puddle fest. To my surprise though it flowed really well and was a complete blast. JohnR seemed to enjoy the 5 judging by his comments and increased speed and traction.
I opted for us to do a quick loop to the left down a neat little bit of twisty singletrack which exits almost exactly where we were standing after exiting Yogurt Pots. Just enough grip to hammer through there and smailes all round again. Interestingly JohnR, now back on his own bike, exited with more speed and attack than I am used to and I had to remind him he wasn’t on the 5 anymore. Never let it be said that we’re a one make group but the 5 does work really well on all sorts of riding we have around here. I smell another purchase in the offing.
We opted to miss out the first section of Telegraph Row and headed via fire road to pick up part two. This was much less muddy and the final stepy, rocky, rooty gully was fast and for Andy661 unforgiving. I found him on the right bank with a cut nose, from his helmet peak, picking himself off and dusting himself down. To add insult to injury a pair of 9 year olds hammered past, on in a full face lid.
We now headed back to BKB for the ride finale. BKB seems to ride better every time I ride it and even todays conditions didn’t unduly worry it. The berms flowed and gave plenty of grip. At the bottom Keith, James, DaveW and myself said goodbye to the other and we headed for teh car park while they headed back up to take BKB in one more time.