Muddy@rse Rides the Snow Drifts of Eastbourne

10 01 2010

It was the usual M@ ride start, much faffing/bike setup/camera positioning and standing around getting cold.  Eventually we got going and rode into the fields near Wannock.  The snow was deep, almost axle deep in places, and definitely a challenge to ride through; with many sideways moments from myself, Bill the Wheels, Ollie and Gez.  Energy expenditure was horrendous, but worse was to come. 

We met Mrs Ming who was taking Chewie (aka The Hellhound) for his morning walk.  After a brief chat with Mrs Ming we went our separate ways passing another dog walker who was surprised at the age of the “grown men” riding in the snow…. stating  “Your not teenagers!”

A bit further up slipping and sliding our way towards Bleedin’Lisa my phone rang, Mrs Ming reported that Chewie had gone AWOL and was last seen heading in our direction at a great rate of knots.  Chewie duly arrived and after a discussion it was decided he could come with us.  Note to self: fix barrel of rum to dog next time!

Bleedin’Lisa was as treacherous as ever, with deep snow hiding the ruts, all of us had moments (for that read two near barbed wire fence face plants………eeek) on the run down to Folkington.  I must remember that speed will not save me every time.

From Folkington we rode along the byway towards The B’stard climb and found our first snow drifts.  Riding through these resulted in numerous OTB crashes and much barking by a now very boisterous staffie (I suspect its doggie heckling).  We then popped out onto the bridleway towards the foot of Longman and stopped for the obligatory photos before trying to ride through foot deep snow to the bottom of the hill up The Revenge.  We gave up and pushed.

Longman was unrideable, snow across the path was over a foot deep in places and the bike just sank in and stopped.  So we carried them up.  Did I mention I was on ‘The Beast’; weighing in at 43lb?  One foot in front of the other, knees burning and lungs heaving.  Every step was a huge effort, concentrating on balancing the bike on your shoulders, not slipping over, hauling your other foot out of the knee deep snow for the next step.  This was not helped by the dog looking back, unhappy at the lack of pace!  By sheer bloody-mindedness we all got to the top.  Ollie last to get there after riding into a huge drift at the bottom of the hill, shoulder deep and having to crawl out of it dragging the bike with him!

Near the summit we stopped to get our lungs back and rest.  We had a chat with some fellow “extreme sports” fans (some snow boarders and a skier) before using the nearby drifts for some bike crash acrobatics.

At the gate, with energy levels flagging and the cold beginning to bite both human and dog, we started back on the SDW.  This proved very challenging; a mix of thin crusty snow, easy-ish to ride on and a bike length later all stop as the snow was axle deep.  Even Chewie found this difficult.  Eventually we arrived at the drop into Jevington and plummeted down the hill avoiding fallen tress and the snow covered ruts to arrive very unexpectedly into 4ft deep drifts across the trail.  More drift riding antics ensued, including Chewie forward somersaulting as he followed me into a drift.  This was followed by a very sketchy ride back along Bleedin’Lisa to home, warm fire, tea and soup; courtesy of Mrs Ming.    

A few snow riding stats: ride time 3hrs, calories burnt 1600, distance 7.2miles!

What an epic ride…Ming.

clicky link for more photos:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/29512133@N05/sets/72157623055939429/

Guy’s photos from his ride today:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/9462794@N08/sets/72157623180341546/

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