Gathering at the Bocketts car park were a ‘legs eleven’ of the South East’s finest mtb’ers; Akak, Big Al, Dandy, Dave C, Dave Dub, Karl, Kev, Lee, Lloyd, Nick J, and Tony (arriving fashionably late).
Nick had suggested (via the forum) a lengthy route taking in Leith and Holmbury hills, before a refuelling stop at the Peaslake Stores, then a straight blast home. As nobody showed any inclination to disagree, off we headed up the Admirals Track.
The recent rain (did I hear we’d just experienced the wettest October for several years?) was making its presence known with plenty of mud and some deep puddles requiring avoiding action. Ranmore was reached via Yew Trees, and we risked the Landrover descent towards Westcott.
Tony headed down a short way to take some photos, and we guessed correctly that the shout we heard was ‘Ready’ and not the sound of a biker crashing into a fallen tree. Though I nearly heard this thirty seconds later as, leading the downhill charge, I realised that the fallen tree leaning across the track half way down was well below head height. Going too fast to stop, I managed to limbo beneath catching only a glancing blow on my rucksack. Recovering, I then spotted the next fallen tree that fortunately was leaving enough of a gap to just sneak around.
Taking pity on the suckers behind me, I did the decent thing and ran up the track to hold the tree up above head height. It still distracted Lee sufficiently for him to run into the other fallen tree twenty metres further down the track though. Unfortunately, this tree was too well attached for me to drag it away from the track, so be warned.
The Rookery climb up to Wolverns Lane was even trickier than the week before, with kudos to the singlespeeders, Big Al, D-Dub and Lee for cleaning it comfortably (well, I think they looked comfortable). We left Wolverns Lane to head down to Simons Copse, before starting what seemed a never-ending climb to almost the tower on Leith Hill. Half-way up we met George from the Dorking Cocks, who seemed to have lost his riding buddy, Charlie.
Eventually, we began to head downwards, and after a few false turns we finally hit Chocolate Jesus and the High Ashes/Mother descent. Although great fun, all that height lost had to be regained, and in Holmbury we headed up past the Kings Head and the cricket pitch up to Surfer Rosa and I Should Coco. BKB was shut for trail maintenance, so we took a tricky but fun path with lots of steep steps down into Peaslake.
The food stop was welcomed by all, and the pork and leek slices were particularly good. Having refuelled, we took a direct route back to Abinger Hammer via Rad Lane (I think), which was not as muddy as I was expecting. We headed across the Abinger Roughs and headed for the High Med climb, ignoring JR’s suggestion (via the forum) of Macphersons (if only you’d been there to change our minds, JR). At this point we said goodbye to Nick who headed back to Dorking.
For the descent off Ranmore we split into two groups, half favouring Dearly Beloved, and half favouring Golden Nugget; before regrouping on the climb back up to Polesden Lacey. All in all, a fine, but quite tiring, day on the hills. My Strava track suggests a total of 48 km (30 mile) and 860 metres of climbing.