Last night we met at Felday Glade in Holmbury for one of the best rides I’ve had for a very long time. The fact we ended in a pub probably had nothing to do with it!
Our usual 7:30 meet time had to be extended as it transpired that the prime movers behind us meeting at Holmbury we unavoidably delayed and at Felday Glade, lack of mobile phone coverage renders you incommunicado. So it was that PaulM, JohnR, Trevor, Andy661, Paul901, Jez, Paul and myself waited. And waited! I needed D’Andy and James to turn up as I hadn’t given any thought to route anyway!
Eventually our nine strong group headed up onto the Hill after they arrived full of apologies, with Paul901 off for a 30 mile spin on his road bike. Did I mention we planned a pub visit after?!
I took us along the familiar lines of Cycleworks’ demo route and we were soon realising it was going to be a humid ride. Up towards the tail end of Yoghurt Pots we turned off right and headed along to the short descent and sharp upward climb that sees the meeting point of several well-known trails.
First I led us onto the middle and end of Reservoir Dogs down to the reservoir, it’s bone dry everywhere at the moment so the logging work hasn’t really wrecked everything. At the reservoir we re-grouped and headed down Barry Knows Best which is running brilliantly at the moment, I was following Paul (Biketech Mark’s mate) who in turn was following D’Andy and we had a blast over the jumps and berms.
The large berms at the end had us all grinning by the time we got to the bottom, then it was a slow grind back up to the top.
D’Andy then led us up Reservoir Dogs as we headed off for a bit of exploration. A loop round had us going in circles before we picked up Surfa Rosa for what was a tremendously fast blast through the trees, some of which are quite low hanging.
Ducking back into the trees after only a few yards on the fireroad we followed D’Andy all the way back on stuff we’d already ridden to eventually arrive at the Car Park near the top of Holmbury. My scant local knowledge told me we’d just ridden the only bit of Reservoir Dogs that we hadn’t yet ridden in reverse so after a bit of discussion we decided to turn round and string together the first section of Dogs through the woods and across the fireroad through the rhododendrons and then pick up Surfa Rosa again.
What a great blast that was, a longish bit of twisty high speed singletrack that gave us a proper workout, aided by recent experience to help the flow. At the end of that we then turned back, finished the middle and end of Dogs and shot down Barrys once again.
Second time down was a hoot, I was by now starting to get a groove and worried D’Andy all the way down and the Five launched cleanly off all the jumps and lips.
At the end I came into the final massive berms high on the left before sweeping down to the apex with so much more speed than I’ve managed before. I was buzzing at the bottom.
After returning to the reservoir we carried on to the summit and then started down Yoghurt Pots which is also in very fine fettle. I was really comfortable by now and at the bottom we inevitably decided that twice round was a good idea. So we did it again and I think went even faster, or at least smoother!
The final run back down to Felday Glade was another quick run, I pulled my punches slightly over the jump at the top but still got myself some air and landed without drama, before proceeding to chase down the hill.
What a great night of riding, I don’t think I’ve been on a ride where we’ve put the emphasis on finding and repeating the good stuff for a long time and I really think it paid off. By the end of the ride we were hot and tired but all on a high from having the chance to practice our lines.
All that remained was to head for the King’s Head in the village for a pint or two of Pilgrim, meeting Joe who was out with another group tonight and picking up Paul901 on the way who arrived at just the right time after his road ride.
All in all a very civilised way to spend and evening!