We’re really going to try and avoid “crunch” references in the titles!
Today wasn’t Matt’s day and ironically not a day for my Spider 29er either.
12 good men and true assembled at the Farm this morning. The Role call included Matt, Jem, AndyC, Ian, Paul901, Paul, Mike, Joe, John, Barrie, Colin and myself. Matt was on my Spider.
We’d had a nice little route planned that took us on some loops round Headley and then over to Box Hill but the heavy downpour we had in Fetcham at around midnight had pretty much ended that idea in my mind as there was a fair bit of off camber stuff involved. We decided to push off towards Alsation and maybe take in Chainbreaker.
As we started to hit trails it became apparent that most of the rain had been sucked into the thirsty soil and on the first high speed left hander near the Leatherhead Reservoir I’d pretty much decided that we’d give the Alpine Trail a go.
We headed up Alsation with me forming a mobile road block at the front until the road crossing. Here as I paused for breath the rest of the Moles sped past and we climbed up to the gatehouse. I switched on my fork mounted camera at this point and started to get some footage as we headed left towards Mickleham and Box Hill. The camera twice decided to swing round and shoot backwards so I stopped to give it a little fettle as we headed towards the Alpine Trail, so called as it’s an off camber traverse with steep falls on the right if you hit any of the numerous roots wrong. The trail starts with a nice flowy section before the path narrows and the drops get more serious then ends with a technical drop down over a root bulb and a tight left hander. Regrettably it all went wrong for Matt here.
After the post mortem there was no clear cause of the crash but strange tyres, strange bike, speed, tight pedals and wide saddle all seemed to play a part. Whatever the cause Matt ended up in the bushes with several cut off branches providing a real bruising. To make it worse the Spider come over on top of him and the SPD buried itself in his thigh. Nasty! He did carry on though and one of those weird results was that he could hardly walk and stand but was still able to pull off some decent climbs on the bike.
The rest of us had a go over the roots to varying degrees of success and after a brief regrouping in the car park we headed off up the High Ashurst climb. At the top I added a bit of fun by turning left and following a nice downhill with a tight right hander in a rock strewn gully. Excellent technical riding! The gotcha is the climb up the other side!
After a rest at the top we headed to Secret Singletrack and I followed Jem in as I’d done several times today and found that his recent trip to the Spanish Mountains has made him even faster! I just about managed to stay in touch! Matt followed us in and had a comedy off as he failed to get unclipped from the tight pedals, giving another clue as to the earlier off.
We regrouped and headed back off over Headley towards our goal of cake at Box Hill. Fairly good speed was maintained and I watch Barrie lock up in spectacular fashion as he followed Colin into a tight left hander.
At Box Hill Matt showed off his grazed arm but the female roadie in front of us in the queue didn’t bat an eyelid. No gravle rash, no problem I reckon! Matt was clearly thinking of home at this point and decided to lead a break away party down Juniper Bottom for a straighter ride home. The rest of us decided we’d have a look and see if China Pig was in better condition than Wednesday night. It proved to be so!
I like China Pig a lot as a technical challenge but I do find I run out of puff about 2/3rd of the way down or close to the rooty off camber section. Today was no different but as AndyC caught me up we both took it steady over the roots and enjoyed the final swoop down.
From there a quick blat along Stane Street before the high speed chase behind Colin down Alsation. Road way clearances from Joe and Colin, maybe others.
Another good ride for me, get better soon Matt and remember to post the bruise photos!