A great day of singletrack, splashes and crashes !

3 07 2008

The ride on Sunday took us back to St Leonards and Tillgate Forests nr Horsham.  Last year we were dead unlucky with some of the wetest, slimey trails I’ve ridden anywhere.  This time, we were blessed, dry dustry trails … we were happy.

Muddy@rser Pete (Woodsman) led us round some of his hidden gems that just wouldn’t be found without his local knowledge and with a nice contingent of 14, we set off for a longer than usual ride at a faster pace, making the most of the lush dryness.

Quick fireroad leg warmer catching up with everyone’s holiday tales, we dipped straight into the sinewy singletrack, revisiting some old favourites along the way.  I call it The Jewel.  Because it is.  About 2 miles of tight, flowing trail, with rollercoaster drop ins sprinkled along the way, and shoulder-width ducking spooky tree sections thrown in.  Today the overgrowth made staying on trail interesting with one over the bars crash for me.  What a little gem though.  Let’s make sure its location remains secret though eh !

Bit more singletrack, shoulder-barging our way through the trees, then down a steep off-camber section which is a bit of a Work in Progress.  Damn good fun trying to keep the back wheel in a straight line.  Sally crashed into a huge log, ripping her shiney new shoes in the process 😦  Blast towards the brook, bunnyhops over the bridge, then kickback with a steep ascent to the road.  We were flowing nice today everyone pacing around the same, not much stopping.  So the road seemed like a good place to catch breath.  We were now heading towards Tillgate over open wheat fields glistening in the summer sunshine.

All of a sudden …. CRASH … Lisa got stuck in a rut and smacked onto the floor, next thing … CRASH… Guy’s on the deck trying while craning round to see who crashed.   All in 10ft of trail !  Up and dusted, back on with the ride and over the little water splash.

Tillgate.  More singletrack.  Spoilt for choice.  Pete dipped us straight in down a tight steep (bit of a theme) trail then threaded our way round until we bumped into Bob.  Living nearby he came out to say hi, stayed for a while then dipped off homeward.  Motorbikes have ripped the trails a bit making line choice interesting culminating in my ‘I hate these ruts’ cry just before we dipped into the Downhill Run.  The kids have really built this up from last time.  Big gap jumps, lovely big berms dropping into more jumps (some rollable) then a bit of northshore to finish.  Good fun.

Onward we rolled to the first water splash proper, rooty step entry making it look a bit dodgy, keep it smooth and power the exit.  The odd foot down but no one took a douche !   Being spoilt by all this singletrack we carried onto the next watersplash, another steepish entry but easier exit, everyone cheering encouragement, shoes filling nicely.

Quick munch stop by the drop in practice zone (those boyz?), refreshed we carried upward, out of Tillgate retracing knobbles back to St Leonards, back over the brook riding bankside on, you’ve guessed it, some lovely singletrack, dappled sunlight peeking through the trees, finishing off with a nice short and sharp ascent to a tired but smiling gang.  It was now scorchio so we decided to head back on the last trail.  Its got no name but its another corker, right back to the car park.  20.4 miles.  Everyone happy.  The sun shining all the way.  Isn’t riding just great ?

I love this ride, especially in the dry, and today was no exception.  Can’t wait to return cos there’s more stuff out there and if we ask nicely Pete might even show us 🙂 

Big thanks to Pete for leading, Guy and Rick for keeping us all together and to the trails.  They were real gems.  Till next time.  Lisa




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