Except that at 8:20 BST it wasn’t very sunny and it wasn’t very warm as I rode up to Bocketts.
This was my 3rd ride in 4 days with some Strava goodness under my belt I wasn’t sure if I’d have the legs for the longish proposed ride. Other Moles in attendance were KevS, BigAl, Lloyd, RayK, Keith, Stu and Pascal. The Plan was to do a Leith, Holmbury and Peaslake Loop.
We set off in good spirit, if a little cold, and heading down Admirals Track towards Polesden. Keith scored the first puncture of the day with what looked like a small flint cut, enough into the side wall not to seal. So while Keith and BigAl sorted that out the rest of use headed down towards Hogden Lane, planning to take Pampalona and continue up Yew Trees. Most of us made it but we lost Pascal in the energetic descent. Making use of the two way radio Lloyd tracked him down and we continued out our way complete once more as Keith and BigAl caught us up.
Landrover was the next challenge for Pascal and Stu, both new riders to us, and they took it at their own pace as I struggled to stay with BigAl as we “tonked” it down to jon the main bridleway. Across the railway we were soon heading up the Rookery where I was aware of a quietness I had not heard before, denoting Stu’s chain had given up the ghost. We soon fixed that with a quick link form my collection only to set off and find he also had a flat! This time I helped BigAl while the others trundled off but we were soon on our way. Stopping at our normal place to regroup we decided that lost time should make us head as quickly as possible towards BKB as I had an itch to scratch over there (and hopefully a time to set). This prompter a right turn and speedy descent but did mean a bit of a slog climb.
We were rewarded with BigAl picking up some excellent singletrack though and we also took in Chocolate Jesus. I followed Keith as he headed for the final, now very steppy, bank and saw him execute a near perfect roll as he fell back. Not one to be deterred he went back and took another go. He damn near clear it as well! Next time though Keith, try and take the bike with you!! Ouch!
Putting his pain aside we headed towards the Mother where Al had a score to settle and I fancied my chances at a PR as well. Conditions were excellent with a clear run and a “I’m being very cautious now” Keith overtaking me up one of the climbs. I powered past him on the flat though and set a respectable time while Al gained his KoM back.
This left us to climb up past the cricket pitch and a trek across Holmbury Hill to reach BKB. We did this with little fuss and soon lined up at the old gate by the reservoir. It’s important to “go in hot” as Dandy will tell you on these occasions! So off we went. I saw BigAl for the first few seconds and then was pretty much on my own until the switchback at the end when I realised it was Kev who had followed me down. The final berm is in need of much repair owing to “enthusiastic” brakers. Anyway, job done even if by only 6 seconds!
Adamski piled in ahead of some of out final riders and we had a little chat about the differences in the DW-link set up of the 5-spot and the Ibis Mojo. This is the sort of lofty stuff that gets discussed on Mole rides…..oh….and Amanda is back apparently!
Today was a cheese and bacon savoury kind of a day followed by a hot chocolate and the usual bollocks that gets discussed as Ray said he wouldn’t want to look like the black and white road clones all stood in one group. Although three of us sported our bright green Mole tops there wasn’t much similarity to us after that.
All beginning to wane now we headed back into Abinger and then took White Down. On the way I powered along Deerleap and was flat out most of the way achieving a PR but getting no where near Keith’s KoM time. I reckon he might have used his big ring for that, sadly missing on my 1×9 set-up.
That just left the slog up White down and then the slog up under the Two Bridges climb. At the top there we found we had lost Pascal who had suffered the 3rd puncture of the ride. Lloyd headed back to help and returned not long after so we could finish off the ride into Bocketts again.
Oh….it got hot around thr Rookery and stayed that way!