Ride Report: Ashdown Forest & Deers Leep Park

2 06 2008

Muddy@rser Tony was chomping at the bit to get us to Ashdown Forest and OK today we weren’t going to protest about the complete ban of MTBs in the Forest, give or take a few bridleway that is, instead we embraced what was on offer.  Tony’s meticulous route finding / planning definitely paid off and he found some really lovely varied / interesting trails for us to sample.  Unfortunately, the rain gods decided to play with the weather (apparently summer is on its way though) and it rained most of the week beforehand so it was mud, mud, mud covering our @rses from the off in Deers Leep Park.

Deers Leep’s wooded singletrack sections (imagine lots of off camber, wet, rooty sections) were pretty challenging, even with mud tyres but Ollie’s chosen treads for the day, full summer pimple tyres, were just wheelspinning everywhere.  Closely followed by Rich and Donna on their MTB Tandem.  It was dry when we pre rode it…honest !  Damn good riding all round though guys the skill and communication needed to get the tandem through some seriously slippy, sticky mud and massive puddles was applaudable… especially following you down the steep, slimey singletrack at the beginning which saw your rear end almost swop places with the front.   Good Job – looked like you enjoyed it too 🙂

Out of the park, past the rock climbing boulders suspiciously graffitti’d with ‘TONY’ into one of them, now there naming a trail and naming a trail Tony lol !  Through the massive puddles, Into the local woods (can’t remember name of), first aid applied with mud splatted eye, up the heavily rutted totally unachievable slimey climb quick catch breath and into Mud Alley No.1, with many offs and laughs along the Alley, up Mud Alley No.2 dropping into Tandemtastic Singletrack (do I recall one crash here?), applause sounding, spin along fireroad and up to the road.  Through West Hoathly (lovely village) along Sandy Lane and dropping in Rocky Gulley (keep right halfway down), opening into Panda Alley over the small road, up the steep climb and into The Somme.  Everyone had a go, some made it, some didn’t, all had a laugh trying.  Onto the High Weald Trail quick munch stop taking in the lovely views on offer, a sweet Rollercoaster trail followed then spat out onto the road.  35mph decent and spin the legs out to ice cream .. mmmm!

Back at West Hoathly and into the playground to watch the Muddy@rse Tandem Display Team take shape.  Can I have a go, turned into, can you ride it backwards to can you ride it solo from the stoker seat.  Check out photos and vids if you want a laugh…

Back into the rainforest-like humidity, sweat dripping off us everywhere, for a bit more singletrack bashing.  Nothing technical, just nice and flowy until we reached Jellybaby Hill.  Man it was slippy, mud tyres working their hardest to get me to the top.  Tony’s new purchase Bonty Mud 1.8’s getting him up in double quick time.  Insider knowledge me thinks !! The Jellybabies made up for it though 😉  Conditions making time tick by too quickly the return leg beckoned.  Sweet downhill, tricky technical section alongside the stream and then a broken chain.  Quick fix and heading back to Deers Leep.  Taking in a few more wooded singletrack sections, losing the tandem but then regrouping, past the northshore raised section, over the wooded stream crossing and out into a religious protest.   Bunch of people in the woods making peaceful protest against cults, but wearing very weird masks to stay anonymous (anyone get a photo?), the police following em found it rather amusing, each to their own, we probably looked just as weird in our mud splattered face masks.

Back to Muddy@rse Central (the car) for coffee, cake and cookies (thanks Guy, Rich & Donna) and plenty of chat.  It was great to see everyone again, and hello to all the new faces.  Next ride is St Leonards & Tilgate Forest which promises 24 miles of singletrack fun.  It’s tiring, it’s technical, it’s NOT for beginners so consider carefully before you turn up please.  Full details will be posted soon.  Thanks again to Tony for sharing your trail with us… now when did you say the protest was in Ashdown Forest ?  Lisa 

Clicky link for photos:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/9462794@N08/sets/72157605361571297/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/13519914@N00/sets/72157605374562478/

Clicky for vid:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CVu3LKUr9No

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