Lack of motivation during the getting up process meant that I arrived after PaulM at the car park. That IS late.
When I got there I found Baz, JohnR, NewJohn, Laurence, BigAl and PaulM making the total of 7 to begin with. This fluctuated a bit during the course of the morning…
So with two new riders I made sure it was clear that this was a “ride at your own risk” experience and off we set. I’d pretty much decided to keep it to a local route so we set off heading up Admirals Track towards the two wooden bridges and then up to Ranmore. Here we hit our first and luckily only problem of the day as I punctured my rear tyre on what must have been a sharp shard of flint. Latex was pissing everywhere and there was no way this was going to seal so without a repair kit it was in with a tube and off we went again.
At the top of Yew Trees we were briefly joined by Andy, Graham and Nick for about 500m before they turned off to head Guildford way. I badgered Nick for the South Coast ride route we have planned for May so hopefully I’ll be able to fill in more details on the forum soon. We pushed on along Badger Run and Collarbone before reaching the resovoir and Abba Zabba.
Here Laurence decided the his PVFS was making it difficult to keep up and so with quick reference to a map he headed back while Big Al, NewJohn and Baz completed Abba Zabba. Baz proved that his Scott is NOT the bike for that. Although he managed to hold it together, he confessed one muscle was working overtime to hold everything in!
Next was Blind Terror 2 (I think) followed by the easy route on Numbskull and over the road to Blind Terror where I headed in and had a great run. I missed Baz add further weight to the evidence of his unlucky bike. It’s that area and that bike, just not a great combination.
All safely down there, we headed on at speed to High Meditteranean. to climb back up and take in “And Then There Were Three” down into the vinyard. I’m sure there is an extra tree down but it’s still a great trail and when the ground drys just a little more it’ll be fast as well. As we swapped a few stories another cyclist appeared, non other than MarkW, obviously on a secret training mission. So briefly back up to 7 as we headed down into the vinyard and off to climb up to the Alpine trail.
The Alpine Trail proved to be in good condition providing you kept your head up and facing forward. Don’t look right and down! I also think I realised how Matt got the end so badly wrong last year and narrowly missed repeating his off piste adventure myself.
From there we slogged it up towards High Ashurst with me and Al walking while the others struggled up. Not sure if anyone cleared the climb or not. With cake called we carried on to Box Hill to join the masses of road riders taking of refreshment. Big Al recommends the coffee cake but I stayed with the old favourite of flapjack.
After some debate and sizing up of trail conditions we decided that China Pig was a go-er and headed there next before treking homeward. Conditions were not ideal but not too bad either and apart from the very worn off camber section we all made it through in one piece. This just left the climb up through Norbury park with JohnR and NewJohn taking the steep option past the Mobile Mast.
All in all about 26 miles and 2250 calories for me! Nice ride.