Ride Report: 27 Sept 09 – an idyllic Indian Summer’s Day

28 09 2009

We met roadside for a change and the locals must’ve wondered what the hell was going on: school was out, no match on today, but as the Muddy@rsers kept decending (Bob?) we gradually took over the place. The predicted sun wasn’t going to let us down today, oh boy were we blessed with a cracking ride or what? Awesome!

Indian Summer Rick

Properly back on UK time after our holiday, Rick and I were really looking forward to today. After the arduous, technicality of Moab, we’d really missed our local singletrack. Realising how lucky we are to have these super trails on our doorstep (even if we’d ridden them a thousand times) today we were reminded: There’s No Place Like Home! So we took our favourite bits of local trails and jumbled them up into a new ride.  Feedback was it hit all the buttons.

Starting off with ‘Jurassic Glen’; a cheeky narrow offering to ‘get your eye in’ and wake you out of the Sunday morning slumber, with a dip in the water below if you cock it up. And with the trail narrowing to only inches in places (with added off camber rootiness), there were plenty of opportunities. Made you feel instantly glad to be alive though, didn’t it…

Soon we dipped into a steep rutted climb linking to Folkington byway. The byway’s usually a chalky nightmare, but the plumes of dust spinning skyward made it an ethereal vision of beauty as we descended; criss-crossing the rutt like a series of mini berms with no scarey, slippery chalk to worry about taking your front wheel. Climbing even further through the sun dappled trees we regrouped at Lullington Heath. Now for even more fun: Friston singletrack.

‘Stinger Alley’ was a gorgeous fast blast and those brave enough finished it off with ‘Yabbadabbadooooooo’; an almost vertical drop in to scare or delight depending on your constitution. Then it was lovely fast and flowy singletrack, singletrack, singletrack; peppered with bombholes to play in, the exit lip getting plenty of air under the wheels of anyone wanting to fly. Awesome!

‘(Off)-Camber-Sands’ tested your balance and bike handling with its loose dust marbles collecting on its narrow, sharp corners just waiting to spit you off balance. ‘Whoopy Doopy’ was about the best I’ve ever ridden it, bouncing you happily from whoop to doop until it you hit the fireroad.

Steep or not so steep ? Whichever took your fancy, we split and regrouped by the Water Tower. The steep climb being delightfully renamed as ‘Slickgrass’ in honour of our recent mega-steep Slickrock adventures. Breath regained we spun to the top of Butts Brow and enjoyed a quick munch in the glorious sunshine, everyone chilled and happy. Oh dear, there’s only mile-after-mile-after-mile of gorgeous singletrack to be ridden next. Here comes ‘The Alpine’ trail; named because it so resembles the trails we rode in Austria last year.

Some were luckier than others getting down the gully that preceded it, but no serious damage was done. ‘The Alpine’ is as sweet as candy. Tight, twisty, edgy, rooty, off-camber and narrow; it’s one of the best bits of trail round here, and today it was riding like a dream. Then all of a sudden you’re smacked in the mouth with fantastic open views of the sparkling sea and Eastbourne: are you sure we weren’t in the Mediterranean?

At the ‘Steps of Excitement’ we were delivered a good dose of fun as riders hurtled themselves at wharp speed down the series of about 30 steps; Hobbz on his hardtail sticks in my mind and managed to knacker his pedal in the process, at least this time it was something that belonged to him lol!

More rooty singletrack to finish off The Alpine then it was back out on the Downs and meander back to Butts Brow for the final run home. The ‘Gate Team’ (thanks all volunteers) were dispatched to hold open the gates all the way down; to rendition of ‘The A Team’ theme tune. Then for the rest of us it was brakes off, ready, steady, go for a smooth freewheel blast all the way into Jevington. We were buzzing.

A quick schzlep home via the road with a return descent run into  ‘Jurassic Glen’ if you fancied a final bit of singletrack action,or the road if you just wanted that nice wind-in-your-face-kinda-feeling, all the way back to the cars. Where courgette and banana cakes were consumed with us all feeling self-righteous we’d got 2 of our 5 a day without even trying! (big thanks Caroline & Guy for the cake donations).

Today was definitely a ride to store in the memory banks for a very long time.  And made me realise that you can travel halfway round the world in search of the perfect trail. But you know what? You’ve probably got one right on your very own doorstep anyway: I know we have….Lisa

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