Turned Out Nice Again ! – ride report 25 Jan 09

30 01 2009

Robin loved the ride we did last year from Butts Brow so much he’d requested we give it another bash.  This time the weather had trouble on its mind…waking at 5am with 40mph winds lashing rain on my conservatory roof like hammers on a drum.  Hmmm, a trip round Beachy Head was going to be interesting then!


It’s early, don’t do early, brain whirring, go back to sleep it’ll blow over soon won’t be an issue, bang bang bang bang bang, still hammering down, change the route ?, cancel the ride ?, still early, god I want to go back to sleep….can’t ignore it any longer, logon and see if anyone’s posted yet.


Ah, not the only one, Guy posted …a conversation ensued…many like minds waiting for a decision.  Not sure what to do yet, could still blow over, will be a nightmare if it doesn’t.  The fatal mistake: I rang Rich to see if they were still travelling from Surrey.  Why fatal ?  Rich is a motivational life coach, he doesn’t EVER give up, loves bad weather (in fact the worse the better) so I got the answer I didn’t want “yes, of course we’re coming, really looking forward to it”.  Job done.  Ride’s on….



Butts Brow nr Eastbourne is a lovely spot, nice open views across the sea and downs, which = howling with wind from all directions this morning.  Amazingly, 16 of us turned out.  A new member, Jamie, thought he’d be on his lonesome and couldn’t believe his eyes when the car park started filling, neither could I !


Ride choices…Claggy or Windy?  CLAGGY was the shout…OK, off to Friston then but first the head wind to tackle towards the Water Tower.  Rain exfoliating our skin like needles; easy rutt riding now challenging as hell as we’re blown all over the place; conversation (almost!) impossible; hub deep puddles to wade through; laughing like drains at the madness of it all – what fun!



Claggy we wanted, claggy we got.  Although the top singletrack was surprisingly dry for this time of year (honestly it was) but slipping and sliding our way towards the downhill run we then broke into 2 groups.  Downhill run is steep and rooty and today, greasy and very technical.  Regrouping we made our way on the traditional trail turning off at the top of the hill towards the Gallops; which were claggier than a claggy thing on clag day.  Even my Mud X’s eventually struggled with grip and I spun out, only to turn round and see Rich on his singlespeed ploughing his way through 😉


Dipping back into tree cover for more slippy singletrack we hit the bombholes.  One awkward and off-camber, the other just huge with a nice fallen tree to miss on the way out.  MINGCOMING !  The Mingster led the way in his usual ming-don’t-care style getting some serious air on the exit;

mingcomingthis time missing the stump just off the exit (unlike Rick) and the fallen tree on the way out (unlike Bob).  Everyone had a go but Bob won the prize for the best ‘styling it up’ on the way out …(see Rich’s video in the sidebar).

Tree cover keeping the wind at bay we descended for what seemed like ages (Rich with his rear brake slowly seeping all its oil) then turned back towards the Gallops, up the steep blip of a climb (with varying degrees of success), up the fireroad to be spat back out onto the Gallops.   Hoof prints collecting rain like mini buckets made the going very soft again.  Chatting to Jamie he reminded me that the winter miles =  summer smiles.  Hold that thought and spin.


MINGCOMING ! I think it’s an unwritten ritual that whenever a huge muddy puddle appears Ming has to ride past Sally as fast as possible.  Screams and whoops from behind, I think he got her ! 


Dropping via the South Downs Way to Jevington Church was great fun.  Rain gulleys, mud, slippery roots and a mini river at the bottom.  Nice.  All that’s left is the Eastbourne Mile the car park’s at the top of the hill.  That’ll be a mile of up then…


The first part steep and nobbly, then open windy and wet with more needles.  Stopping at the odd bush on the way to get out of the rain, the ladies peleton wound its way back to the top.ladies-peletonChatting about this year’s holiday plans to keep our mind off the job in hand.   The official welcoming group cheering us on as we arrived cheered us up J  


Back to the car for coffee and a feast of cake (thanks to everyone who brought supplies).  10 miles exactly under our wheels.  Everyone muddied and knackered but looking very happy.


Moral of the story? Just get out and ride – it’s never as bad as it seems once you’re out there and, thanks to Robin and Rich, we did just that today.  Now where’s that washing machine ?…. til next time.  Lisa





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