Ride Report -30th Sept 07 (from the horses mouth)

30 09 2007

The tradition for Muddy@rse rides is to alternate monthly between a singletrack fest and a downs run today was a downs run starting at Firle Beacon. About 30 of us gathered in the warm sunshine to make the most of the dry trails, fill our lungs with sea air and partake in the usual post-ride cakes and coffee. Rob from Havant maintained his record for the furthest distance travelled to join a ride but today’s champion commuter was Andy who rode from Brighton to Firle Beacon did the ride and then rode home, respect!

The outward leg started with a gentle cruise across a couple of rolling hills before the roller coaster descent down Itford Hill into Southease. A quick regroup and we were off onto the bridleway network above Newhaven and Saltdean dodging cow poo and avoiding the ruts. Then came the steep descent into Ballsdean valley. This is a cracker, fast and open on the down but with a real sting in the tail for the climb up the other side, just too long for momentum to carry you up – do you get in a high gear and use power or slow down and spin – power won the day and the spinners stalled. Everything was going well, too well and we were brought back down to earth with the first of many punctures and a chain-in-spokes mechanical. The enforced wait provided opportunity for refuelling and energy bars, cakes and sarnies were scoffed as we sat in the warm micro-climate in the bottom of the valley. The climb out of this valley is not too steep and not too rocky but never easy. Now we just had the spin along the South Downs Way back to the carpark. A couple more punctures and fixes here as well as Tim literally scaring the s**t out of a cow causing the resident bull to serenade us with a song of objection to our presence. The best(!) was saved to the end as the challenge of Itford Hill hung over us, the threat becoming more real as we approached. This is a stinker of a hill, beginning on chalk, followed by rocky chalk, turning into grassy amble and then a real grunt up a steep grassy lip to reveal yet more climbing to the final gate. We all made it with just a couple of individual stops for a breather. A long rest after the steep lip was a welcome reward – not for Jo – she gritted her teeth and rode past us to the next gate, doing the duty of holding it open while the procession filed past. A quick whiz to the carpark and we were done.

Maltloaf was eaten, shortbread was munched and tea and coffee downed. Lisa amused the group with tales of torn leg muscles and getting carried away by the handsome guys of the Lake District Mountain Rescue Team. A good ride in the spirit of Muddy@rse.

Hopefully see you all again for the ride at the end of October.

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