Ride Report: Ride of Smiles – Feb 2010

1 03 2010

8.30am text from Sally “It’s horrible here…are you still coming for ride?” group pow wow and 5 seconds later decision made…”gotta go and brave whatever weather is thrown at us…yes riders will turn out, that’s the Muddy@rse way…anyway, it’s only weather”

Weather Forecast: Worst storms since 1987, spring high tide meant high risk of coastal flooding (we live near coast), onshore winds at hurricane force will batter the coastline; batten down the hatches we’re off for a mountainbike ride – as you do !

Got to Firle, 4 amazed faces stepped out of cars as we realised it was barely windy and only sprinkling with raindrops. Don’t count your chickens, but it might be OK, alright it’ll be windy on the tops, but not the hurricane predicted…unless it’s the lull before the storm.

I think 10 of us set off for the potential ‘Ride from Hell’, kindly put together & led by Ollie & Sally on their local stomping ground taking in loop of Firle, Newhaven, Piddinghoe, Firle. Nothing technical, except the mud of course! Of which there was plenty and in varying consistencies and slideyness. Sussex clay doing its worst to many a component.

Killer climbs (Impossible Hill), classic climbs (Itford Hill), non-rolling descents (pedalling like crazy to gain forward momentum downhill is just not right – or fair :wacko: ) The odd tumble and Tony unwittingly offering to be Rich’s soft landing, a few punctures (remember slime, slime, slime next time) and other mechanicals didn’t slow us down too much, the mud though…well that was in a league all of its own.

Turns out our 16 mile loop (3 miles at least on unavoidable road) took 4hrs, and that was with a small group to shepherd around. The Mentalists returned to Firle completely covered in mud at 2.30pm for steaming hot coffee and Guy’s now legendary banana cake yum ! It was smiles and banter all round though as every single one of us couldn’t believe how lucky we’d been with the weather…turns out France got hit by the storm not us.

To conclude we all got changed into clean civvies and wandered (and waddled 🙂 ) round to the pub where we toasted Rich & Donna good luck for their impending birth (May), big thanks to Rich on behalf of everyone there for the drink. The fire roared while we all chatted and in no time at all eyes were getting sleepy.

Back to the cars, skies now clearing and on the way home THE SUN CAME OUT! The Ride from Hell just became the Ride of Smiles….I know we went home with one 😉 Big thanks again go to Ollie & Sally for leading the ride, it was great and a perfect start to my return to biking and to Guy for his cake – don’t forget cake donations are always welcome after a ride 🙂

Next Month: I think we might go to Leith Hill…check out the forum for details

Happy Biking til then Lisa

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