What a great day for a ride! The sun was shining down as I made my way to Bocketts Farm meeting the GrandMole en-route and finding a few riders already assembled.
A plan had already been forged where we would head towards the A25 a meet a fast recovering and re-strengthening Jem and we’d do Hombury before climbing to Leith Hill tower for refreshments. The Moles assembled with James, depriving JR of his late arrival award. So we had Julian, Matt (Lord Lucan), Kev, Elliott, Chris, JR, DeeDub, James and myself setting off at 9:40am on the dot.
Pace was fast and my blocking tactics didn’t keep JR and co. behind me for long. A dry line was forming on Admirals Track and the dust was flying as we went down under the twin bridges at Polesden. Matt’s wish for a steady pace fell on deaf ears as JR once again took the lead. Chris and I formed a rear guard knowing the was a lot of climbing today. At Ranmore we tried to explain the concept of restraint to JR but it just didn’t seem to go in. We headed right on Ranmore Road before ducking in towards the Scout camp and taking a cheeky right to do the top section of “Wire in the Blood”.
From here we pushed on to ‘Trouble in Paradise’ and ‘Short and Sweet’ before engaging the the Abba Zabba complex where DeeDub when for it and the rest of us took the flowy route! I followed DeeDub and Kev down the “BT” and that soon flowed into “BT2” which all ran very nicely thank you!
James headed back at this point wanting to preserve some energy for his Jedi training tomorrow. A steady ride over Abinger Roughs meant we caught Jem just as he was trying to get set up for some photos. Crossing the A25 we had a jeering session with the lycra wearing Dorking CC but it was all good natured stuff. A swift climb and we were soon exiting near to the Volunteer pub and headed on to pick up the main bridleway into Car Park number…err…7? Dunno and can’t be bothered to look… Felday something or other. This meant another climb and a happy JR.
So, on Holmbury we cut across the bottom of “Telegraph Row” and climbed our way up before putting in a classic loop with Jem leading. His “Mondeo” (well Santa Cruz’ are common as muck in these parts!) seeming to allow him to fly up and down trails. I think today’s ride was an important return for Jem, able to ride without power assistance (the eMTB is in the shop) and take an active part in the route design and trail choice. Smiles all round!
Eventually reaching the trig point, we stopped for a team photo and then went off to nail “Yoghurt Pots” in the dry before heading to “Crack Pipe”. JR wanted to head down CP and take some piccies which also enabled him to ride down at his own pace unhindered by us boy racers (in our dreams…). “Slidey, Slidey” was my cry as I took in the switchbacks of CP. Rode it well but it had obviously drained well and even I ended up with some big rear wheel lock ups as I tested the Purgatory’s ability to grip under heavy breaking!
At the bottom of CP we assembled and turned right to pick up the bridleway down to Horsham Road. Regrettably this has had a surface treatment and was not as technical as it used to be and a tad on the loose side. No moles were damaged though. Then came my “great idea”, no lets not do the Mother climb, lets do the climb up through Smith’s Wood. Possibly not my finest choice given the climb was longer but it seemed like a good idea at the time! It was also getting us closer to the cake stop!
With tired legs and a need for refreshments we took the simple option of the bridleway straight up to the Tower. Here I consumed fruitcake and organic Sicilian lemonade. Much squash and cold drinks were enjoyed. At this point an Ellsworth Witness turned up piloted by Darren, with Amanda in her normal stoker position. We all sat together and were reluctant to leave as Amanda told us of her new plans and how she rode 100 miles off road yesterday. She’s a machine!
With the new and longer Summer Lightning calling we all headed off together with the usual stunned looks and dropped jaws as the tandem flew into the trail head. I’m getting the flow better but I still think one berm is a tad close and/or tight, but it could just be my bad technique! Hey ho. The thing was we rattled through it all meeting one grumpy rider trying to head up the final stage the wrong way. He was right, there is no “Do Not Enter” sign, local knowledge, innit.
By the top of the Rookery my water was running out and Jem headed for his car. We took in the normal route back of the back end of Westcott and the Low Med climb before the Dearly Beloved descent and the Polesden climb. All in all some 46km (this is in metric both to annoy StevenD and protest to Strava for not having a statute setting as per Garmin Connect but I had Strava open already) and just over 1000m in climbing