With an active weekend ahead, I didn’t post up last night’s ride, preferring the idea of a gentle pootle to spin the legs and not wanting to disappoint anyone who turned up expecting a more arduous ride. Of course, at the time I didn’t realise Tony was planning to join us…
There we were up at the garage as usual, AndyW brought along his mate Geoff, Colin and I were there and even Mark swung by on his piece of MTB history to say hi as he headed out for a road spin. DaveC bailed at the last moment, Lee was unavailable and Jem had already said he was not going to be out. At the last moment though, Tony arrived.
I was great to welcome him back into active service and I think the suggestion of a gentle ride was what lured him out – that and the prospect of his first night ride after injury being in Thetford forest probably made getting out with us a priority. I don’t know to be honest but I do know Tony claimed he wasn’t going to be doing ‘anything silly’.
Fine, that suited me. I’ve done a good number of MTB miles in September and now feel the need to ease off for a bit.
Within a couple of miles though it was clear that a gentle pootle meant different things to different people. I was happy to sit at the back as we headed toward Tanners Hatch via Polesdon and Wiggly Wood but soon found myself having to spin rather more than I anticipated on my singlespeed to keep up.
The amount of dust kicked up by everyone was causing me problems, I really hope it’s not going to be this dry at the D2D as it will be a nightmare if it is. Really, I said that – I’d prefer some light rain rather than choke on the dust of a 1000 riders.
So, pace-wise it wasn’t as slow as I thought. We did sensibly try to reign in the hoonage horse though but even there Colin led Tony, Andy, Geoff and me up the ‘wall’ bank at the foot of the Tanners climb. That was Tony being sensible then!
Much like political parties of the last decade, Colin decided on the ‘middle way’, taking us on the climb up to Ranmore along the rocky middle track from Tanners. Not the steep climb, nor the illegal footpath but rather, something in between.
By the time Ranmore came round I was feeling pretty warm and noticing my tired legs. After a bit of discussion we decided to head toward Effingham again and rode along Badger Run and then Collarbone to the top of White Down. Once there it was noodle-noodle time through the trees before coming out at the car park near the Reservoir and crossing over to the Drovers Road.
By now I’d realised I’d forgotten to charge my lights for the ride so was running on low power for most of the time. I hope I don’t forget on Saturday night or it will be curtains for me. As it was, perhaps this was a timely reminder. But my Exposure lamp bracket was also a bit on the loose side as my pink Azonic handlebars are so old they are barely the old skool 25.4mm diameter they should be. Half way along the rubble strewn track the light rotated round the bar and ended up shining full up into my face. So a short stop ensued.
Suitably fixed we picked up the long track down to Horsley. I was struggling to keep up on my singlespeed as I followed Colin and ‘sensible’ Tony down the track. I could have sworn I saw Tony hopping his bike around in sprightly fashion…!
Having reached the bottom it was time for the ‘gentle spin’ across to Effingham Junction station. Once again I was at the back and floundering in the dust. Before I knew it, everyone had disappeared! I assumed they had headed toward the lumpy field as usual but could see no sign of them. Nothing.
After pausing at a junction in the path I decided to head toward the field but still no sign. Resigining myself to having to make my own way back (it wasn’t far anyway), I found Colin waiting for me at the other side of the field. The others had gone. We rode on and eventually found them at the station but obviously someone had put the hammer down on this gentle ride!
Partly though it’s my singlespeed. I’m only running a 32:18 and in these dry and fast conditions it’s not enough – I keep spinning out. Maybe I’ll give a 32:17 a go next. Or maybe I’m getting fitter? Who knows.
Parting company at Bookham Common it just remained for a run through the Glade and in my case a trip to the petrol station for some milk (I had my orders from home!). 16.5 miles and an enjoyable ride but I keep wondering that maybe I’m using up too many energy beans ahead of this weekend’s event.
Only time will tell.