LHF Ride with the Trolls – 7 Nov 09

10 11 2009

Well the week leading up to this ride the weather was awful, but as if by magic on the Saturday morning it was a beautiful, clear sky and sun streaming down. I set off early to meet at Jay’s neck of the woods.

clicky link for short video:  http://vimeo.com/7501279

After the usual faffing about, we set off.  “Hang On a Minute!”, I said, only to realise I was trying to clip my trainers into my spd pedals – thats not gonna work!   So spd shoes now on we could set off proper, a short ride along the road and we were onto singletrack, it was pretty dry and riding well. The autumn colours were amazing; with all the fallen leaves making trail navigation a bit sketchy, but Jay knows his trails and found the way no bother (and he wasn’t hanging about either ).

We, being myself (Rick), Helen, Dez and Andy (sweeping) all hacked along following Jays’ lead and not having to worry about navigation, it was great! We made our way up and onto a ridge to a view point where Jay pointed out the basic areas we were going to be riding through.  It looked like a big loop to me but ,undaunted, we rode on working our way into a wooded area where we were confronted with taped off areas and road cones! 

It was a classic/retro car rally stage and on cue we could hear a rally car getting closer and closer.  We rode on and wound our way around on the singletrack some more, lo and behold we found ourselves alongside the rally course again.  This time an old Talbot Sunbeam, fully rally converted, came caning it past; then further on a TR7, and then a Rover SD1 …excellent!

Moving on after all the rally excitement, Dez noticed his rear cassette was loose so a quick fix ensued, that done and the mention of stopping at a cafe for breakfast, we pedalled on through yet more great singletrack and out onto the Basingstoke canal towpath for a few miles, before more singletrack then popping out onto the road and 200 metres to the cafe. 

Some healthy (not! ) food was consumed and we carried on. Helen decided to save her legs at this point for the Gorrick race the following day and we all said “cheerio”. The four of us moved on and consumed lots more stonking trails, gradually working our way round to Swinley, which was about half way round the loop. At this point we realised that we may not be able to do the whole loop due to a lack of daylight and softer conditions…well, thats my excuse. We pushed on and got to Swinley Forest.  I could feel my legs losing strength and threatening to cramp. “Oh no!”, i thought, and crammed my Shot Blocks and last remaining energy bar down my neck in an attempt to stave off the problem; but, i was getting slower on the climbs and the others were beginning to drop me.

But they kindly waited at the tops and we regrouped and carried on. Jay had had a slow puncture all day but it was now not so slow and we periodically stopped to re inflate; luckily this gave me valuable time to rest and stretch my dodgy legs.  We carried on like this until we popped out of the last bit of the singletrack onto the road and then headed back home.

Phew! I made it and with nowt left in my camelback neither. What a great days riding! Big Thanks to JAY for organising and leading (and the tea 🙂 ) also Andy for sweeping etc Cheers guys! Rick

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