It seems crazy, but it’s true. It’s not because the ground was frozen, although it was pretty cold out tonight. It’s due to the realisation it hasn’t rained that much recently and there is simply no mud for much of the Surrey Hills.
This doesn’t bode well. If we get the sort of summer we had last year by mid-year the trees will be in real distress. Conversely, if we take it as a sign of seasonal change then at some point – some point when we least want it – the rains will come. And of course, this doesn’t bode well because simply by mentioning it I’ve tempted fate.
Mark, Lloyd and myself went out for a night ride tonight under cold and clear skies. Regular night riders know how important it is to turn up for rides armed with sufficient lights, charged and ready go. So it was that the three of us had lighting options to cover us for the evening, even if Lloyd was the only rider here with his ‘regular night rider’ badge.
We headed out on what has become a bit of a mid week classic route, our Sheepleas route. This includes heading down Alfred Pennyworth, then up to Ranmore and along to White Down for Sauvage to the sawmill. The route finishes with a long, flowing dash through the Sheepleas Woods before ideally decamping to the pub.
Being Monday night – and seeing as the Queen Stage pub has been forcefully closed – we omitted the pub. Being Monday, that is probably for the best.
We had fun out and about. I was feeling guilty about my Pace RC627 review and have embarked on a second chance programme which has seen small but significant changes. I will post an update but so far things seem promising; witness the fun I mentioned.
We also turned our hand to trail building, or at least repair. Really we were just clearing the trail of debris. The big log pile on Trouble in Paradise has been dismantled but we did our best to rebuild. Not well enough for any of us to fancy giving it a try (somebody more skilled I’m sure will at least get it square to the trail), but we did our best in the pitch dark.
We just concentrated on the fun. Dark woods. Hooting owls. Fallen leaves so dry they haven’t rotted. Hidden trails. Grip. Flow. Zip. Mark’s creaking saddle.
Monday night. Clear skies. Cold. No mud.
Better than being stuck indoors that’s for sure.