Today’s route: North Downs killer loop on bikely
I’m a little spoilt for choice in deciding on a punch line to sum up the Sunday ride, some of which are self-explanatory and others will be explained later. Lets try:
- And then there were…17
- Killer Loop
- Stop Thief
- Saved by an ice cream
As usual, the Upcoming facility wasn’t really adopted by those attending, excluding yours truly. So whilst it looked as if the ride would be Matt (who wasn’t actually coming anyway) and me, I was a little taken aback to count 16 other riders before we set off.
I’ve given up trying to do the names thing, I could only get to 14 and don’t wish to do those I can’t name an injustice.
A couple to mention specifically were 1) New rider Martin – barely done anything more than 5 mile commutes on a new bike and he showed true Iron Man qualities to complete the ride – respect indeed and 2) Another new rider but clearly seasoned MTB’er who’s name I didn’t catch but stood out as being unable to walk due to an Achilles injury but it didn’t seem to stop him riding.
We were also joined by a number of other infrequent riders as well as a smattering of regulars. It became clear early on that with Jem, Jez, Barrie, JohnR and Dominic present, there was going to be a leading peloton who would stretch us out and who also exhibited great levels of patience toward the end of the ride whilst waiting for the rear guard.
Killer Loop it was (soon to be posted up on bikely). It was something I’d wanted to try for ages but never got round to it. Following an exchange of messages with Rob, who was familiar with the territory, it was sorted and we gratefully received his input, learning some more new stuff in the Redlands that will doubtless feature on future rides – cheers Robster!
So we started by climbing Alsatian and following that up with the Alpine Trail and High Ashurst climb to the Box Hill road. Then the never-ending and challenging descent to Brockham, followed by some road work to get across to Holmwood Common which ultimately took us on a bridleway to Redlands. Just one snag being we were at the wrong end.
It was a great climb though but I spent the last of my energy chips keeping Barrie in sight which pretty much ended my ride in terms of my mojo – it was endurance from here on as I was shattered.
After climbing up Redlands, Rob stepped in to reveal some new stuff including a superbly steep, winding and sketchy descent which formed part of his alternative way of getting from Redlands to Summer Lightning. I think we made it down without spillages though myself and a few others confessed to walking it down – falling on my very tender rib cage was not an option today.
There seemed to be a few grumpy walkers out today and I’m afraid Lee innocently further incurred the wrath of one by snagging her handbag on his bar end as he passed her on Wolvens Lane. Who’d have thought it – handbag snatching in the Surrey Hills!
We hit Westcott (after a fun and cheeky alternative to the Rookery descent suggested by Irish Paul’s mate – nice one) and riders started to peel off leaving a still sizeable core to tackle White Down and home via Ranmore etc.
White Down was my own personal Mont Ventoux yesterday – Lee and I whinging at the half way point that Moles rides seem to have gotten too fast lately!! In truth, both of us were struggling big time, Lee having had 3 hours sleep and me a little of the same amplified by my restricted breathing. I wonder how long I’ll be able to keep relying on the ribs excuse? Not until the Dusk til Dawn that’s for sure!
We eventually arrived at the top to be greeted by the still fresh-faced fast group patiently waiting and it was all fairly standard from there – other than DaveC, Jem and I opting to take an ice cream stop at Ranmore. The double flake 99 got me through the penultimate climb of the day under the stone bridge at Polesden and home from there.
A great ride once again – nice to see the new and familiar faces for what turned out to be a killer 50km loop in perfect weather.