Another Home Guard ride set off today with most regular Moles recovering from their Wales trip or otherwise committed. It was a day of two pairs for Andy and Andy (Turnerguy and 661), Paul and Paul (M and 901) and hill and hill (Holmbury and Leith).
Much route checking, bike fettling and an extended cake stop made this ride less technical and more endurance. For PaulM and I who put an extra few minutes onto our cake stop it was also a 6 hour event and the Andys will not have been too much less, unless they hammered back as planned. I think this ride will have burned a few calories for us all even if the ride was not that intensive.
We set out towards Yew Trees but turned right for Pamplona instead, not as dusty down there as I recall it from our last visit. At the bottom we continued along the lo-ooo-ng, gentle flint climb up to Ranmore Road. I understand this climb may not have a name so for now it’s called “Green Grass” – you constantly search for a good line and no matter which you choose the grass just has to be greener on the other side!
We rolled over and down to Landrover but left it for the easier descent west. The plan was to get to Holmbury directly, take in some fun and see how much time we had left for Leith Hill.
On arriving at Holmbury we headed for the top, the stone circular seat and the view of the surrounding hills, Dunsfold Aerodrom etc. We caught an unexpected view when spotting the remains of a roll-up on the ground and speculated that the Summer Solstice ride was in fact a drive there, bikes off the car for a quick photo shoot and some serious mellowing with sympathetic substance. No, surely not…
Time was short as it was already around 11am so Barrie Knows Best and Telegraph Road had to be sacrificed if we were to make Leith Hill and a cake stop was a popular team goal. Yogurt Pots it was then, a blast as usual and PaulM thinking that some of the dips may be getting steeper down there. It must be astonishing to see his Brother ride down there given the reports of how this race champion made light work of a tough 35 mile ride without stops when last over visiting Paul.
Mother took us to Leith Hill and Mother scolded me harshly. 10+ hours per week of current riding makes fatigue inevitable at some point and I was in the red zone form here, no cold sweats on the neck or forehead, just a loss in power as we reached 4 hours along this part of the ride.
For what it’s worth I had rested the day before, hydrated continuously, had breakfast, eaten a banana and a power bar already. Just one of those things and at heart rate recovery pace was fine for the rest of the ride. Time for a gentle week basically.
The Leith Hill Tower refreshments were as welcome as ever, much talk of bikes as usual and during the morning we had tried to solve the mystery squeaks on Andy’s FS Whyte. We know we improved things and made suggestions Andy will no doubt check for good measure. We may have found the culprit, a mouse living within the seatpost or something similar.
The Andys left for a speedy response at this point whilst I was glad of the rest time and PaulM did not take much persuading for seconds of cake and coffee. Another pair of pairs then!
The ride back towards Bocketts was enjoyable and I don’t think it took in the usual suspects. The two Pauls descended the steep, rooty tower climb and turned left for the long valley to take us back to the A25 some way west of Westcott.
Rather than ride alongside the A25 to the triangle at Westcott we instead went over the style and took the rough hillside down past the corn towards Combe Farm and up the slopes of Ranmore giving a breathtaking view of the Panorama with Dorking to the left, the valley and railway line below and the hills we had left behind in on the other side of us. One of those place you can stay still and lose time. It brought us out by the side of the red house and car park on Ranmore Road.
I am guessing the ride was about 27 miles give or take. Not a huge distance given the time involved but plenty of it was a grind on the ascents and stony surfaces. As usual, good company made for an enjoyable time.