You’re getting colder…

21 12 2010

Guy reports from a snowy /exciting /cafe monthly Club ride.

"Yeah, its the trail with snow on it. Must be this one"

“A few more days of snow and sub zero temperatures had led to a “will we go/wont we go” discussion on the forum with all the Crawley and Surrey based riders wisely deciding not to try their luck on the roads. Sunday arrived and intrepid ride leaders Sally and Ollie stated that they would head for the car park at Peachaven to see if anyone else was stupid enough to actually turn up.
After my slightly slippery drive on Falmer Road from the A27 with just one proper “OH SHI…!!!!” moment thanks to someone skidding out of a side road, I arrived (late, of course) to find five other intrepid muddy@rsers all ignoring the snow, ice and cold ready for an hour or two out on the Downs.
Local singlespeeding gurus Simon and John, who always seem to be ready for a ride regardless of the weather conditions, and almost-newbie Tim, meant that it was just six of us out for the day; I dont think this is the lowest turn-out for a muddy@rse Sunday ride but its close!
A quick discussion on the merits of Ollies’ original route, a look at the skies (dark clouds and snow obviously due soon)  and a alternative ride was suggested by Simon. After dismissing the idea of just riding round and round the motocross track for an hour another route was proposed, the word “Café” was mentioned several times…
So, firstly a climb on icy lanes turning to hard packed snow trails, a quick stop to talk to a 4×4 driver to discuss conditions further along the trail and then we set off towards the monument below Pickers hill. A fast (icy, gulp!) descent and climb across the valley then, a short hunt for those discarded WW2 shell casings… and then a long climb on the trails toward the Falmer Road car-park above Woodingdean. Simon decided that this was too easy so opted to take the longer harder route along Standean Bottom (he still beat most of us!)
A regroup and then a long descent on the snow covered  bridleway above Woodingdean and the trails next to the racecourse above Whitehawk, pausing  only to try and find John who had taken an alternative route, down to the A259, and over to the Rodean café for a well deserved cuppa (thanks Simon)and chips (thanks Ollie) to warm us up. It’s not a good idea to get too comfy in a nice warm café when it’s snowing outside and you still have a few miles to go, and sure enough, once we were finally back outside we were all starting to really notice the cold.

We may be here some time...

Fortunately the route back was straightforward on the cyclelanes (icy again) with a quick detour along the seawall path towards Saltdean. The snow was returning now with a vengence as we finished the route with a climb across the fields back to the car park and the now traditional cake and hot chocolate (with added blizzard)
So, once again proving that bad weather need not mean a bad ride, a good day on the trails was had by all.
Big thanks to Sally and Ollie for actually deciding to press ahead with the ride and Simon and John for the additional leading.
I also got to see Nick Caves’ handiwork on Brighton seafront (where he drove into a GATSO camera last week!) on the way home too 🙂




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