Last night the adventurous organised themselves to head over to Elstead in a search for drier, sandier trails. I can’t blame them, although with a house full of family, and a bottomless glass of wine in front of me it all happened too late for me to join them. So it was that just myself and DaveC headed out onto the Surrey Hills this morning.
We kept things simple. It was mild but also murky when we set out reasonably promptly at 8:30-ish with a plan to cover a few XC oriented miles. Originally, Newlands Corner was mooted on account of my back problems last week but after a lot of bending and stretching during the week it felt good enough for me to contemplate the singlespeed once again. So it was we decided to aim for Peaslake instead.
Our route was very traditional, up to Ranmore via Yew Trees, along Collarbone and then through the Abba Zabba complex with a couple of hairy moments – the big Blind Terror roll-in had me facing down a rapidly approaching tree for far longer than I’d like and then Dave’s back-end stepped out dramatically just past the log jump at the bottom of the complex, to the point where I thought he was about to tail slide into the huge bomb hole on the left. So did he I think.
Through the Roughs, then up toward Winterfold via Ponds Lane and the bit where the River Runs Through. Fortunately today it was just a damp surface but is was a steady uphill drag on the singlespeed. We weren’t aiming to set any pace records and eventually picked up Wet As An Otters Pocket (remarkably well-named!) and finally SuperNova back to Peaslake. At the start of SuperNova I managed to heavily bottom out my fork which simply blew through all it’s travel in one go, with an impact up through the bars that had me expecting to have pinch flatted my excellent Butcher tyre. It made me mince a bit until I was sure the remaining air was staying put!
Peaslake was an opportunity for my new de-facto choice, a pain au raisin, which was delicious. Having had to wait 15+ miles for coffee and cake, I had a cheese straw for purposes of comparison and feel the pain au raisin took an easy points victory.
Heading back, it was a straightforward run down Rad Lane, muddy at the top and then clearing enough to be enjoyable. We headed back the way we came, then took in High Med and Yew Trees home. My back was tired but not sore, so that was pleasing. The singlespeed behaved itself with no further crank unthreading, but sad to report the rear wheel bearings are shot and have outlived their usefulness. In total, 27 steady miles but we at least saw the sun on what is one of the shortest days for daylight of the year.
I’d like to get over to some of the Hindhead areas for riding but find it rather awkward when there’s a late call. Can we please flag up with a few days notice next time so I can make arrangements?! If anyone wants to write up the days’ exploits – even in summary – that would be great; just email me and I’ll stick it on the site.