Long Man’s Revenge – No Pain, No Gain !

21 07 2008

After taking over the green at Berwick, strategically placed just outside the pub(!!), we headed off for a leg spinner along the Weald Way towards Firle Place. 

We’d decided this ride was going make the most of the lovely dry summer trails, taking in some killer climbs and nice high mileage.  A little epic !

The first climb from Firle promised to get the legs pumping, now named the Be’atch, it lived up to it’s name.  Nice singletrack start, breaking trail as we went through the bulging undergrowth, slicing skin – ouch.  This climb’s got a sting in it’s tail, as I arrived the gate was already open (thanks guys) meaning a finish to the top was achievable.  Time for a munch !

Onward to the Beacons, rumbling down the trail on a butt-clenching hidden rutt that had you twitching as you rode, hoping you were on the right line, if there was such a thing.  Through nettle alley – remember that one?  Then down chalkey gulley towards Bishopstone, sun shining as we went.  Oh I needed a bit of sunshine this crappy weather recently has been getting me down.  Today was a nice little energy bank boost..

The pace was good, the group not too large for a change, we were rolling and it was a good day.  Onward and upward though through the golf course, then, breaking more trail down the nice off-camber to the bottom of Puncture Alley.  Everyone re-grouping, bleeding from all extremeties, we headed off through puncture alley (claim to fame 19 punctures last time out; today =1), we kept the pace up and rattled down the rutted decent into Alfriston.  Claiming one crash victim on our way, new bike, first crash, into the barbed wire – unfortunately neck first, but up and dusted off for more rutty-ness towards Alfriston and the Deli.  Oh the Deli !  Everything they sell is gorg so if you’re ever up this way, call in 🙂

Re-fuelled and happy to continue on cold legs we climbed out of Alfriston on the South Downs Way, slowly heading towards the Long Man’s Revenge.  The Revenge is a killer hill.  Possibly one of the hardest in the area but hey, no pain, no gain.. right ?  Halfway up the SDW we skirted left and headed towards the valley ride under the Long Man.  Blink and you might miss him but to the RH side there he was.  His Revenge, well it’s a double killer hill running along his backbone. 

Double back, fecking hell, yes we really are going up there, it just gets steeper, and steeper, and steeper, nice stepped chonks to mess up your wheel traction and then, just when you think it can’t get any worse, it does !  The trail steepens up even more, you turn the corner it’s loose, it’s treble steep, it’s tricky.  The Long Man has reeked his revenge… we did warn you !  Rob, not happy with doing this killer hill in his middle ring, decided to beast himself and take another run, all in the name of training for 24/12..I think he wants to win boyz !

Leaving Rick and Rob to play with The Revenge we headed off to Winchesters Pond and then the fast decent into Charleston Bottom.  Sun still shining, everyone happy but knowing ‘ The Tree’ climb was to follow.  It’s another little killer, this time, short sharp, lumpy with a kick in it’s tail.  Everyone through we re-grouped at the top before heading into the Stump Dance singletrack of Friston.  Ignoring the ‘Steps of Doon’ this time, we carried on through the woods and headed via road back towards Alfriston.  Over the river bridge, back through the village (no stopping this time) up the last hill on dead legs we then headed back along the Wealdway towards Berwick.  25.5 miles, 900mtrs climbing, plenty of tired but happy faces, coffee & cake on the green then those who had time, over to the pub for a pint and some well earned grub. 

What a great day!

Thanks to everyone who turned out for our mini-epic.  It was fun and got us in the mood for the weekend to follow 24 hrs in Plymouth, nice 🙂   Edit:  Oooh forgot to say thanks to Sally for her fairy cakes, I think they went down a lot better than my Phish cakes (you had to be there lol!).

Next ride – 31 August probably a North Downs ride so keep watching for info…

Lisa & Rick




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