Ride Report: Friston & Long Man, 29 Jul 07

30 07 2007
This was DirtDiva Anna’s last ride with us as she is returning to her New Zealand homeland in the next couple of weeks. Best wishes for the future from all the Muddy@rse gang.

29th July witnessed another Muddy@rse ride this time taking in plenty of hidden singletrack in Friston Forest together with a healthy dose of the South Downs. Despite worries and concerns the weather was fantastic, bright warm sunshine with a gentle breeze. Thanks to Kevin from Evolution Cycles in Eastbourne (check them out) for putting the route together and leading the ride.

About 30 likeminded souls turned up from far and wide (the guys from Hayling Island now hold the record for the longest commute) and after the usual milling around and bike assembly we were ready for the off. Straight out of the carpark and up. The climb began with rooty singletrack followed by a mix of muddy roots and wet chalk and then turned into a steep slog across a grassy field.  Although a brutal beginning this route got us up to the high ground of Friston Forest in the quickest time. Now it was payback time for the all the climbing, a long-long singletrack descent from the top of the forest to the bottom through nettles, over logs, across dips, dodging tree stumps, between shoulder kissing trees, steep bomb-hole climbs and plenty of mud.  Great fun, the beaming grins, laughter and blathering chatter said it all. The climb from Alfriston up to the South Downs was its usual slog but we had the secret pleasure of having earned the descent into the next valley. Two options for the climb out either left or right. Left was a long dry pull while right is a steep climb through mud and over wet roots. A great descent followed, bone dry with steps to jump off, what goes down must go up and we had yet another slog all the way up to the South Downs Way. A couple of mechanicals to sort out and we bombed down into Alfriston. We ‘occupied’ the centre of the town and the local pie and cake shop did a roaring trade with the chilli beef pastie being a very popular choice.

From Alfriston the only way is up. We took the gentle option with a gradual climb up to Lulington Heath taking care not to compromise the pastie filled stomachs. Yet another fast descent down a rutted and rocky wet chalk trail, there were a few dodgy moments including myself, I only managed to avoid a high speed tumble by steering into a patch of nettles and brambles to slow me down as the bike was fishtailing on the chalk Tim had a good view and assured me that I definately used up one of my nine lives! Single-tree hill followed and sorted the men from the boys, no spinning here just brute force and ignorance to get up the hill and over the rocky crest. Respect to Anna who cleaned it.

The final descent through trees was on wet chalk with a nice coating of slippery mud. A major ‘off’ here resulting in a smashed helmet and some interesting gravel rash mixed with bramble cuts! A whiz along the fire road flushing out legs of lactic acid and we were back at the car park for a traditional malt-loaf munching finish and disassembly of bikes.

Photos can be found on the right hand side.

Next ride is at Whiteways on 19th August full details will be posted soon.  Come along if you want a sociable, fun ride where no-one will get left behind.

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