With Matt once again not being out it’s down to me for the Krypton Factor challenge of remembering everyone who was out this Sunday. So with apologies for those missed. A glorious morning – can it really be mid November? – saw another big group of Barrie, Kev, Karl, JohnR, JohnH, BigAl, DaveC, new rider (another) Matt, DaveS, MarkW, Jez and myself at Bocketts. DaveC had a route to Reigate in mind and when he eventually turned up “JPRM factor fashionably late” we were off.
We headed from Brockets down to Infestation and as I zipped along, the trails still seemed to be holding up well. Slightly muddy in places but mostly still hardpacked.
As we crossed Young Street down to the Mole bridge in Leatherhead it was first stop of the day as Jez punctured. With some new riders along, the majority of the riders continued to Alsation as Jez was left to the “F1 pit stop Barrie” tube change. It was so quick that Jez, Barrie, JohnR and I caught the rest of the group at the top of Alsation. Then as we halted, layers were soon peeled off – did I say it was warm.
Usual service was resumed as we pushed on to Life on Mars, through Headley (stopping Lee – remember him? coming the other way), to the Walton on the Hill golf course (with slight diversion for some of us to re-group) along the “way the girls like it” route to Colley hill, across the golf courses. The only difference being a (new to me) noodle path through the woods and over logs that brought us out to the M25 footbridge.
Then it was a gentle pull to Colley Hill and down to the Wray Lane cafe. Slowing weaving in and out of the families along for a walk in the unseasonal weather. There was almost a mutiny for a cake stop but DaveC persuaded us otherwise and we headed down the hill into the woods that took us in a loop past the Gatton Park school and back to the cafe.
Nut Wood and Gatton Park were tricky, with leaves, mud and roots to catch the unwary. New boy Matt was finding it hard work and it’s easy how to forget what it’s like to ride this sort of terrain for the first time. Clipless pedals and good tyres do help, although Matts Giant Yukon looked like a great bike deal to start on. The only other point of note here was a lady dog walker who took exception to us riding around a gate and no amount of good natured hellos was going to cheer up her morning (“Good riddance to you”). Well, I was having a great time!
Back up to Colley Hill we took the bridleway along the North Downs and again stopped as JohnH’s raw power broke his chain. JohnR and I stopped with the others heading back to the tea caravan at Headley. As JohnR and I set about fixing the chain – why did it have to break next to a the split link? – JohnR started fixating about the teashop Eccles cakes and wondered whether he’d made a mistake stopping. Were there going to be any left? The chain was eventually fixed but with enough links removed that JohnH was lucky not to be singlespeeding, we got going again.
We regrouped at the tea caravan with a happy JohnR getting the last Eccles cake. Result! After a few pleasant moments in the sun we were off again, with a blast down secret singletrack (in its best condition for ages), Life on Mars and Alsation. A great linking of tracks. Particluarly Alsation which, with the vegetation back down, is once again a hoon.
Well a great ride in a absolutely fabulous morning weather wise. Enjoy it while you can!