Ride Report: 29 March 09 – Stanmer Surprise !

3 04 2009

1st day of summer – bring it on!  Sun shining, bikers smiling, Muddy@rse tops sparkling in the sunshine.  Wasn’t it a great day for a surprise or two ?

Heading out past Stanmer tea shop (no we can’t stop yet) and winding our way gradually onto The Downs, chatting all the way with the many new faces who’d turned up for today’s ride (welcome all) then splitting into two groups; we headed up to Ditchling Beacon then onto the South Downs Way towards surprise no.1 – Jack and Jill windmills.  The sunshine had brought out the tourists so it was busier than usual but with fantastic views in all directions a quick munch stop was on the cards.

Now some people like surprises (me) and others don’t (naming no names) but pester-power wasn’t getting the better of me “where we going now then”…”which hill are we climbing”….”what’s the surprises”…now if I told you it wouldn’t be a surprise now would it 🙂 

So with the route firmly under my hat we sped off down the South Downs Way through the golf course, right then left and up onto Wolstenbury Hill.  I like this hill, not too steep, off the beaten track  and surprise no.2’s tucked away on the other side of it. 

Surprise no.2 was a steep blast towards a hidden play area.  Excellent fun.  Various lines in and out the bombholes, bigger and bigger air under tyres, fun and smiles all round then ….crash !  Chadders’ final launch out the hole saw his weight go back past the balance point, his cleats not unclip, followed by a heavy @rse to gr@ss interaction.  Winded but not badly hurt he continued to singlespeed his way round the rest of the ride (well done matey) and the next hill was the biggest of the day !

But first the ‘unavoidable mud’.  but where was the ‘unavoidable mud’ ?  It’s ALWAYS muddy coming off Wolstenbury Hill, even in Summer.  Today there was a nice dry line all the way through, remember the whoopy-doops though?  How did they get there ?  Oh well, over the road and Newtimber Hill. 

The re-routed bridleway is bedding in now and a singletrack line snakes it up to the top, but it’s lumpy so line choice is crucial to keep your front wheel down then you’re spat into woodland at the top.  Dappled sunlight glinting through the trees leading the way to the (ok, slightly vague) left hand off camber line that brings you back into the bright open sunshine.   What a fantastic day.

Now for the blast back to the road.  Bit of singletrack to start, then a wide open blat through the muddy puddles and the as-fast-as-you-dare descent that seems to go on forever. Wave goodbye to Pete and Joel then regroup while puncture no.2 was mended (quick subliminal message:  Slime Tubes).  Then off towards surprise no.3, sarnies at The Chattry.  I love the Chattry, an indian temple just where you’d least expect it, brilliant.  After our quick munch it was onward and upward back to the South Downs Way, energy flagging slightly we split into 2 groups then rejoined at the top of Stanmer Woods for some singletrack fun (I think I vaguely remember Adam Ant joining us for a while !)

Nothing too demanding in Stanmer because with 800mtrs of climbing under our belt everyone was happy to blast back to the cars, yes I know there was one final little hill, but after that it was a nice open descent to the coffee and cake.   What a great day, what a great laugh and made me remember that all those winter miles do = summer smiles, what a great start to summer… til next time, Lisa.

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