So Sunday morning dawned dry and bright with just a chill in the air. A perfect spring morning for hooning about in the Surrey Hills.The usual RV at Bocketts car park saw a gathering of 6 riders keen to hit the dry n dusty trails.
Elliott, James, D’Dub, Andy, AKAK/Andrew (driven up from darkest Wiltshire earlier on) and myself, assembled on the usual selection of bikes and wheel sizes. In fact, once again we had 26er’s, 27.5er’s and 29’ers, some full sus and some hardtails.
My plan to head up to Leith Hill for some fun via the alternative route of Macphersons and the fishing lakes near Westcott met with collective approval so off we headed as James had rolled up early for once and the serial late arriver “Southside” was away somewhere, maybe Grimsby, but as that’s north of London it might as well be Uzbekistan!
Being a compact group of 6 we made good time up to the Ranmore road via the Youth hostel and the unwelcome grind up Tanners hatch, which just serves a purpose to gain height quickly, but is simply an unpleasant suffer fest in my opinion.
Macphersons was next, downhill, the only way to ride it (Southside) and several of us let it rip down there, way too fast but exciting as ever. For my part I was airborne for much longer than was reasonable or expected and PR’s were recorded on the evil app’ that is Strava.
James unfortunately never made the sharp left bend at the bottom and stacked it into the bank and barbed wire fence, but he got away with it big time. Just a few minor facial scratches and a flat tyre meant we regrouped across the railway line and tended to his minor issues. Actually, in reality that meant we gave him some banter while watching him pump like a B@stard as he tried to inflate his tubeless tyre with a pump of inappropriate volume! I think that’s fast enough now before someone gets badly mangled!!
Moving on down to Milton Court, the fishing lakes and up through the Chadhurst farm climb to Logmore Lane saw us climb up via a scenic route through the pine forests and sandstone trails to Wolvens lane. Following a noodly series of trails took us up to Leith Hill where I delegated ride guiding duties to D’Dub as his knowledge of the bombholes and fun stuff Northwest of the tower is second only to Big Al’s. Or is it Mammoth Al, Phat Al, Enduro Al, Singlespeed Al??
A nicely strung together route down through all the fun stuff suddenly revealed the extent of the forestry clearing that has gone on down that side of the hill and many trails were gone but D’Dub regrouped and led us through the carnage and back down to the bottom of Windy Willows.
This meant one thing, the long climb back up to the tower for refreshments had to be endured but it was worth it as we took on board the usual selection of sugar, carbs, saturated fat and god knows what else that is vital fuel to finely tuned athletes!
Refreshed and ready for more fun led us on to the beginning of Summer Lightning which was really loose rocky and dusty as a result of all the traffic that goes down this newly created trail these days. Nevertheless it is still a long swooping noodly trail that eventually spits you out at the top of the rookery climb, if you follow it all the way down and link up onto the other trails from the bottom of Summer Lightning to Westcott.
Heading back over to Ranmore meant the climb up High Med had to be taken on and we caught up with some of the Gnarlsters, Mammoth Al and D’Andy amongst them. Big Al’s bright orange enduro shorts could be seen from 2 miles away and made our very own Gok Mole look positively soberly dressed by comparison!
Dragging our weary carcasses up to the Ranmore road gave us a choice of return routes to Bocketts so Flinty badman was the chosen one and what a hoot that was! Dry, dusty and grippy, several of us launched the fallen tree jump in some style with, once again, more air time than expected on a Moles ride! Marvellous!! What the hells going on? We normally like to keep our wheels on the deck.
Returning back to Bocketts at 12:30 with mud free but dusty bikes, 26.5 miles on the clock, 3081 ft of climbing and tired legs, confirmed another great ride out in good company.