Ride Report – 2nd Anniversary ‘Can’t believe how the time flies’ ride

28 10 2008

Well, it wouldn’t be the same without torrential rain, would it ?  I’m convinced every anniversary from here on in will be about as wet and muddy as it can get, and if the turnout of 19 mentalists’ anything to go by, we’ll love it no matter what 😉

An XC loop was on the cards starting from Stanmer, heading out to the SDW cresting the top of Newmarket Hill.  The road hugging trail waterlogged and slip slidin’ under my wheels for the first time proper this winter.  Taking a risk to leave mud tyres at home was probably my biggest mistake today.  Decending Newmarket, brown mud slush filling our eyes as it catapuled off front tyres, deep rutt riding making things ‘interesting’ and my unknown flat tyre adding a bit too much spice to my riding as it swerved in and out of the rutt.  Chaingang gate openers making the final singletrack decent real good fun (thanks guys).  Regrouping, huddling under the railway bridge, muddy smiles all round.

Flat tyre temporarily inflated (Slimes unusually letting me down) it was off to the Steps of Death.  Slippery as hell today, the lucky few making the challenge.  A bigger challenge lay immediately ahead though ‘Heartbreak Hill’ otherwise known as Long Hill (remember it?).  It’s a killer in the dry, it’s evil in the wet and saw many pushing; singlespeeders doing a great job til the hill bit back about halfway.  All conversation wisely saved for the top.

Rain subsiding and clouds lifting were we going to be lucky ?  Best not tempt providence so onward along the SDW heading towards Ditchling Beacon.  Last year the scene of many a green chalky crash, today cleaned nicely.  My tube’d now given up the ghost, quick bike swop while my trusty mechanic offered to sort it out and I headed onward to keep ride flow going.  OK there was a joke or two about Rick getting in touch with his feminine side on my shiney pink embellished bike but he’s got thick skin so we just kept going 🙂   Weather now deciding to lash us in varying waves of moistness as we rode the exposed and windy ridge.

Ditchling we split, road schlepp for those with sense (it was now lobbing it down) and another bit of muddy XC for everyone else.  Hooking up at the top end of Stanmer Woods we headed off onto a new trail, led my Adam, lovely sweet singletrack decent with the odd log to tackle – nice and tricky in the wet.  Wet roots spitting my back end all over the place, Bontrager ACX tyres not dealing with the conditions on offer (Hugh, letting some air out did help though ta).  The slimey climb back up to the ridge made it hard on the legs and energy levels.  Quick munch / energy gel / mutual admiration of decorative facial mud splats and we were off again heading towards Stanmer’s by now familiar singletrack.  Decending all the way on tight snaking singletrack to the final steep whooshey drop into the fields.  They think it’s all over ?

Nah it was time for the tea and cake.  Ignoring the now constant downpour we huddled. 26 October 2008 – Remembered as a celebration ride of more bikes, more laughs, more mates and more cake.

Big thanks go to everyone for turning out today; to Janine for letting Guy out on his very own wedding anniversary; to Guy for the cool Muddy@rse Anniversary Cards that adorned bikes (hope you rememberd to get Janine an appropriate card too)!; to the suppliers of all things cake; to Hugh and Adam for helping lead through Stanmer; to Rick for leading, sweeping and mechanicing; to Ollie for his blog fettlings over the past year; and finally to all of you for making all the hard work and effort worthwhile.  Viva Muddy@rse ! Here’s to next year.. Lisa

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