Its fairly predictable, or rather I’m fairly predictable, in that if I’m in charge of route planning and Matt isn’t there, it’s a sure bet China Pig will feature somehow.
Chances to ride some of our choice trails are numbered as they inevitably get mothballed for the winter, China Pig being the most striking example of how a trail can morph from being the best dry weather trail in the area to the worst wet weather trail.
Having tasted Bat Outa Hell for the first time on Monday, I really fancied a crack at it in darkness and again, knew it would appeal to the likes of Adam and new rider Daniel, who’s clearly a very handy rider and enjoys riding trails of this kind.
The initial route plan involved heading from Norbury to Juniper Hill and over to Chainbreaker, then back up High Ashurst to the start of Bat’. However, a very lengthy puncture stop for Paul called for a simplified route, Lee suggesting either Happy Valley or up the front of Col de Box. Keith’s expression said it all and the direct option was chosen, such is his loathing of Happy Valley going up.
I’m no longer so much as impressed when I see Adam and Co disappear, dispatching the climb in under six minutes, as depressed! I’ve love to know where the climbers get that surge of speed from, it’s a mystery to me as I deploy the winch and get my head down!
Next stop was Bat’ which I have to say was better in the dark and immense fun for everyone. The run to the side of the steps has now been blocked so, with my new found confidence after the Cwm Carn downhill day, I just rode the steps instead, with others following suite.
Near the bottom, we had a good feret around in what seems to be a carefully thought out and sculpted enduro track, with a mass of roll-ins, drops and singletrack to play on. Very chalky so potentially lethal in the winter, but looks really promising and I expect we’ll be back over there very soon to perform a Moles site survey!
After all good descents follows a climb and sure enough we needed to head back up the hill to the Smith & Western in order to pick up China Pig. Adam paid the price for trying to get a jump on everyone, making a wrong turn and demoting himself down the order, much to Darren’s amusement. However Darren was most def not laughing later on when he made a right balls up of the log jump and despite staying on board, he crushed his nuts on the seat in the process, all just in front of me and very off-putting.
After such fun, nobody wanted to go home when offered a) the direct route back over Norbury or b) the alternative up Juniper and down Alsatian so all bar MattP7, we took the longer route back, which suited me just fine as its on the way home.
A fast and fun ride tonight. 19 miles for me and a feeling of satisfaction having capitalised on near-perfect riding conditions and we know there won’t be too many of them for the foreseeable!
Riders: Lee, Tony, Trevor, MattP7, Adam, Darren, Paul, PaulM, Daniel, MarkyMark, Keith, Ray and Colin and one other who I really can’t recall at the moment.