Figuring it would be wet and muddy out, most of the Moles bailed out of the prospect of a night ride across the Surrey Hills when they could be nice and warm at home or, in Dave and Tony’s case, trying to detonate a latex filled tyre in Dave’s garage.
But that would have been to miss out on what turned out to be a nice, short leg spinner of a ride in conditions that really weren’t that bad.
I wasn’t expecting to see anyone and had resigned myself to a solo outing when I realised the text I’d sent DaveP earlier in the day hadn’t actually been sent. Fortunately ten past seven was not quite too late in the day to send Dave a ride request so we lined up at Highlands Garage as usual to see who else would turn up. After leaving it to 7:40 (what happened Andy?!), we headed off up the road.
With all the rain, melting snow and global warming it was a surprise to find things manageable. They had to be managed with the odd toe down in places but all in all things were rideable. We went through Wiggly Wood as usual, then over towards the back of Polesdon where I snagged my helmet on a low hanging branch brought down by the snow. Had I been going downhill fast and not uphill slowly I reckon that would have been a neck separator but all was well.
After that, a plod up past Tanners Hatch youth hostel which was a bit of an effort but at least the track is hard packed along there. Up on Ranmore we turned toward Denbies as Dave was hoping to get back for 9:00-ish and slid our way down the side run to the vineyard before picking up the A24.
I was quite enjoying myself, with a bit of leg spinning momentum it was possible to skate over most of the mud which was predictably unpredictable, causing us to make quick steering corrections to stay on course as the back end fishtailed under power (well, sort–of–power).
By now it was raining steadily but was mild enough not to be an issue as we spun along toward Leatherhead, interrupted only by an exasperated phone call from Tony and Dave wondering what the knack to inflating tubeless tyres is. I couldn’t really help, the secret is obviously to get more air in than comes out until the bead forms a seal, but even with an air compressor it didn’t sound like things were going too well!
So we were home by about 9:15, with 13 miles under the wheels. It wasn’t a night for heroics with all the mud around but was certainly fun. I even managed to clean the bike when I got home, having got the hose out before I left. Works every time.