Regular Muddy@rser and blog life-giver Guy reflects on what was a truly remarkable year for Sussex Muddy@rse – did we really do all that?
“I don’t know about you but for me, that year seemed to just fly by.
As you may have noticed we’ve been a little remiss on keeping the front page blog properly updated. All of us lead rather busy lives both outside and inside of the club but, as it is the 1st January 2013 and the TV seems to be doing wall-to-wall 2012 retrospectives today, I thought we might as well do the same!
2012 can be split nicely into two bits: the dry start and the very, very wet rest of it, barring the two weeks during the Olympics when for some reason it didn’t seem to rain (or is that me just looking back with rose tinted spectacles?)
We were treated to a day of deep snow in mid-January (woohoo!) and a ride around Stanmer that made up in laughs what it lacked in distance. Then a club ride on some fab singletrack in Friston later in the month. We had dusty dry trails in above Worthing in late February (Eh?) A wonderfully warm day in March where we rode the on the Downs at Firle beacon complete with heavenly hardpacked trails below and clear skies above. The year was looking good.
This was February – Really!
Then in late April two things happened to spoil this: firstly I went out and bought a road bike and secondly, some pillock decided to proclaim that we were now experiencing a drought and enforced a hosepipe ban…the combined gods of Karma and the Met office looked down on us and decide to play an evil trick: “Oh so you want rain then?” and duly proceeded to make up for an 8 month dry spell in a fortnight. I also seem to remember a few of us riding a bike (or was it a bar?..I can’t seem to remember but much drink was involved) around central London in the rain to Rhianna singing “under my umbrella, ‘ella,’ ella etc. etc.”
and this was April!
The April club ride led by Muddy@rser Tony, seemed to involve conditions that were “character forming”. I do remember riding on trails that were rapid flowing streams and when we weren’t riding through water we were riding in deep, claggy mud. Oh how we laughed! Well, you lot might have, I for one had a truly horrible time that involved me majorly bonking (tired, wet, cold, zero energy, empty legs, pushing the bike) on the climb up to the SDW from Plumpton to Ditchling beacon.
The Karma gods decided to give us some small hope in late May ( after having played evil muddy tricks at the halfway point on the group doing the “Cutty to Butty” ride the week before) Rich F’s ride on the North Downs around Godstone and Titsey Hill treated us to sunshine and some rare dry conditions. A classic ride ensued with a finish in a quintessentially English scene of a cricket match and a post ride picnic on a village green.
In June we saw a small “unofficial, official ride“ on the Surrey Hills with Donna and Bob: possibly the smallest club ride turn out yet! The following week saw our now annual “Gumber Bothy Bash” which was its normal roaring success…more chocolate covered Haribo and marshmallows anyone? We even managed some mountain biking between all the food and drink!
On to July which saw the sporting event of the year, namely Sally riding from John ‘O Groats to Lands’ End! There were another couple of events on around the same time that seemed to be quite popular but I can’t quite remember what they were…
As for July’s club ride , ably led by our friends from Evo cycles, I elected to take the easy option of riding to a café and enjoying some banter and good company whilst those feeling more energetic followed the Friston posse round the singletrack and thence on to the pub!
August saw us out with the Tilgate Posse for a delightful serving of semi urban trail sneakiness, high speed antics across a golf course and the hidden gems of Crawleys’ finest singletrack. It was only slightly muddy if I remember correctly :). August also saw a few of us get into the Post-Olympic spirit with a road ride on part of the course at Box Hill that made me remember just how fun road bikes can be and wonder whether if I shaved my legs I could go a bit faster and get into next years’ Le Tour…
the jumpier side of Muddy@rse at Tilgate
And so into September with the annual Brighton Big Dog race and also where a few of us decided to return to the Maxx Enduro: I really love that event, It’s such an ace night out of big mileage on the South Downs (even when some toe-rag has nicked half the signposts for it) and this year it was actually dry and almost dusty! The club ride was the regular return to the Surrey Hills with Rich and Donna, re-acquainting ourselves with such delights as Telegraph Row, Yoghurt Pots, Deliverance (nope, I still haven’t dared try to do this) and Barry Knows Best. We did seem to miss out on the Cheese Straws at Peaslake stores though (Boo!) though tea and cake at Leith Hill tower was a very good substitute.
October came and having missed the Halloween ride (Dammit!) I led the club on a merry dance round a rather muddy and slippery Whiteways/Houghton Forest ride. Believe me the conditions were a lot worse on the recce where I managed to have 5 comedy crashes within as many miles.
November seemed to give us one of those perfect weekends where the Karma gods finally bu**erd off for a bit and allowed some of us to enjoy two days of excellent weather and awesome riding out on the Quantocks. Local rider and trail sage Shane (aka Sharki) was the prefect host and trail guide: great fun, knowledgeable and not too fit or fast!
Sunny riding in the Quantocks – good times!
And so finally, to December. Well, last month has been very wet, the Christmas night ride was, by all accounts, rather muddy but it did end up at a pub so that’s a positive eh? Ollie and Sally led us on a very windy (was it force 6 or 7?), muddy, hilly ride on the hills above Newhaven and Firle to help burn of the Christmas excess. This also allowed us to get to know Simon, Dave and Karen from newly opened cycle shop Quantum Bikes and letting them get to know our ever-so-slightly cake-obsessed club
So it’s now 2013, a few hardy souls led by Bob and Dave le Trek were out on their bikes this morning watching the sun rise on a new year. As for me the prospect of a lie-in and then not wanting to get muddy meant that once the sun had been up for a few hours I managed to get in a road ride (and have a puncture with no repair kit..DOH!)
Hmm, Sun and Blue skies today… I wonder how long it will be till the trails start to dry out?
Happy New Year!