With the threat of rain passing, Wednesday evening was another one of those beautiful late summer evenings. Maybe the promise of the last of summer encouraged another big turn-out, 13 riders by my counting.
Meeting at the Highlands garage was a goodly crowd of bikers. Although MarkJ (in not so secret D2D) training was heading back home as we headed out. Obviously he doesn’t like crowds.
A vague plan for the evening route was hatched between DaveC and I, well only that we wanted to ride the “new” route that runs off Ranmore to Denbies.
DaveC headed us up the Admirals trackway and we turned left before Polesden along the bridleway that soon heads down to the valley below Polesden, before heading back up to Tanners Hatch YHA. Once this track heads down it keeps you on your toes with big flints washed into the middle of the track that you have to dodge and bermed banks for hooligan riding (Colin).
Normally we re-group for a breather at Tanners Hatch but in a ominous sign of D2D seriousness we headed straight up to Ranmore, with Daniel showing us a clean pair of heals. There were a few cries of surprise back down the trail as it became clear that tonight was not going to be a stopping ride.
Regrouping at Ranmore we headed off past the church, along to the roller coaster bridleway then to the top of the Denbies chalk road. The new trail starts here with a cheeky path off into the woods. When we rode this trail last weekend there was a tricky looking log roll half way down the first section and I missed the second part of the trail as it crossed a bigger track. So I suggested to Dave that I ride down to the log roll and stop to let people know where it was and Mark ride down to the track crossing to make sure people went the right way.
It’s a great swoopy track with bomb holes followed by tight curves. I headed down and soon found myself at the track crossing. The Trail Pixes had removed the log roll! I quickly found the start of the second section and waited for the riders to come down. DaveC was first and slowed to discuss the missing log roll and how the track was much easier now. Prophetic words.
As he rolled off into the woods he hopped over a big tree root and the front wheel skidded out sending him down fast and hard. Bang! He hit a log next to track full on and I feared another mole injury. Soon there was a crowd around and Dave was doing the “lie on the ground and check whether I’ve broken anything before I move” thing. Fortunately some serious bruising was the only damage.
It’s not often you get as good a view of a crash as that!
We headed down through the second part of the trail to Denbies, then along the A25, under the underpass and along to Little Switzerland. With Colin determined to ram everyone we headed up the chalk path. As we headed up to the Mickleham Gallops I thought that we hadn’t ridden Alpine for a while and before the winter mud set in we should give it a go.
Since I had suggested Alpine, it seemed that I should ride it first. It’s been a while, but it was all I remembered it. Fast, off chamber and rooty, frequently all three together! Never easy with Colin on your tail. Plus the drops to the right keeping you on your toes, although the “Spider Killer” log drop near the end didn’t seem as extreme as I remembered it. It was a new trail for quite a few riders and discussion followed as we regrouped I think that the trail virgins had enjoyed it!.
Dave and MattP7 headed off and the rest of us headed up to High Ashurst with Adam making it look easy. Frustratingly I seemed to roll up without too many problems until the last root got me. More impressively Mark managed to come off his bike and roll into the vegatation commando styleee – going uphill.
The ride was turning into a quick one as we headed up to the bridleway that swoops across the Headley Heath and brings you out near the gorse bushes. Without hardly any stopping we rode over to Secret Singletrack and again I seemed to be first down. It’s still quite overgrown with bracken but it’s getting back to it’s spring best. With Secret Singletrack we put together my current favourite sequence of singletrack. Secret Singletrack – Life on Mars – Alastion.
It was not a night for hanging around as we cranked up the pace. Even JohnR told me that the ride was quick!
Life on Mars was new for some riders and universally met with approval, provided you noticed where the logs rolls were.
Finally it was down the tunnel of light that is Alsation on a night ride. Looking at my computer afterwards, I noticed a top speed of 31mph on Alasation. Yikes!
Certainly a quick ride, with some of the best singletrack trails in Surrey, what more could you ask for?
Cast – not in order of appearence. Tony, Colin, DaveC, MattP7, MarkyMark, Adam, PaulM, JohnR, JamesPro, Trevor, Daniel, MarkW, TopFuel Chris.