This is probably my first post for a week or so as I really haven’t been out on the bike. Fortunately we’ve had some cracking contributions from fellow moles and many thanks to them for taking the trouble. Last night however I managed to turn up at the garage for our Wednesday night ride after Metcheck got it hopelessly wrong again and things were dry.
As they’ve pretty much been all week.
Along with DaveW and DaveC we were soon joined by James, Tony, Colin, Matt and finally John arrived to make it eight riders. I was thinking of somewhere a little different for a change and inspired by John’s route last week which included a climb up Alsation I suggested we head over that way.
I normally have to make the Alsation climb each Friday so tend to avoid it on night rides but with an idea forming it was the expedient thing to do. First though we nipped down past Bockett’s Farm using the cheeky singletrack which is a great warm up for anyone, offering just the right amount of twist and turns to wake you up.
Arriving at Thorncroft Manor it was time to cross the River Mole and start on the long climb up to Headley, via Alsation and Tyrells Wood. In all I reckon it’s a 4 mile slog to get near the Headley car park with only minor respite from climbing. Alsation itself had grip at least, unlike John and DaveW’s efforts last but it’s hard going and we soon had the field stretched out. The singlespeeders (John and I) were shown the way by Tony.
At the top, an out-of-form DaveC called it a night knowing there was plenty of hard climbing still to come while the rest pushed on up past Tyrells Wood, bogging down in the thick gloop as we all played follow the leader. The leader being DaveW who was unceremoniously dumped on his side by the slippy roots at little more than walking pace. I spluttered to a standstill on the other side of the bog while Colin was pitched into the metal railings, just about avoiding injury!
We continued onto Headley proper, setting a reasonable pace. I was just commenting on how quickly the ground was drying when I blundered through a thick puddle of clay and horse p!ss that had me well covered in the stuff. The mud gremlins had a bit more in store for us too as the perennial Headley hot spots were wet as usual.
Even so the short and sharp nature of the down and ups across Headley made a welcome change and gave a bit of a chance to dig in with short bursts of gurn accompanied effort. By the time we’d reached the Box Hill Road I had the idea of the Brockham descent firmly in mind and as we said goodbye to Matt we turned our thoughts to the long downhill.
With us all on hardtails (and Colin with rigid carbon fork son his Ti Inbred) it was best to be careful. I let a confident DaveW (fresh from his recent Jedi-mind alterations) go ahead and he soon disappeared on his Price Albert. I rattled down behind him, glad not to be following too closely in his wheeltracks. The trails was quite grippy by my God it was bumpy. I was shaken so much on my 100mm Rebas that my vision was being affected and a couple of times I could feel the forks packing down and my weight in the wrong place. Must check my fork pressures…
As we regrouped on the bridge at the bottom I could tell everyone had enjoyed themselves though and I breathed a sigh of relief when the last rider down joined us. From here we crossed over the A25 and rolled down into the pretty Brockham village before picking up the Surrey Cycleway back toward Dorking via the golf course which has an easy rolling right on way across it. The terrain is generally on your side along here and it was nice to relax into some less technical riding for a bit.
Tony’s (perhaps over-eager) suggestion of climbing up to the top of Box Hill was veto-ed by my lack of energy so we used the cycle/footpath back to Pixham Lane which eventually brought us out at the Denbie vineyard.
As we neared Crabtree Lane I decided we could manage one last climb and slog along to Norbury so after leaving Colin and Tony to return via the A24 the final four set off up past Boxhill and Westhumble station. I had settled into a steady rhythm by now and with just a short pause at the gate we set off along the track toward Norbury. Must find a name for this bit of path I think.
The initial downward sweeps so gave way to level and then rising ground which forced us all to dig in but at least we knew we were nearly home. As we arrived at the sawmill I suggested we try a final flourish to the ride in the form of the wide grassy downhill across the Fetcham Down which after some enjoyable dips and crests brings you back out on the Bockett’s singletrack. It’s probably footpath but offers great hoon potential on summer night rides I think once we’ve got a bit more familiar with the terrain.
So we finally arrived back at the garage at 10 with 17 miles on my speedo which is spot on for a mid-week ride I reckon. I enjoyed it a lot as to be honest I’ve grown a little bored with Ranmore slogs and muddy trails lately. But it looks dry through to the weekend…