Ming’s Triple S – Ride Report

13 02 2011

The Triple “S”

The weather Gods blessed us with clear blue sky and a few days of frosts beforehand to make for perfect conditions.  We assembled with a minimum of faff and set off.  Unfortunately the “God of Faffage” was displeased with this and cursed us with “a plague of brake pad failure”, followed by a visitation from the “angel of going the wrong way”.  So after a good 30 minutes of waiting around and phone calls to find people the “God of Faffage” released us to be on our way.

Ming briefs his minions

We rolled across the open fields of Wannock before a puncture stopped us at the approach to the trail known as Bleedin’ Lisa.  The puncture was soon fixed and a short blast down towards Folkington led us to our first climb; The B’stard.  With some of us taking a slightly flatter scenic route it was uphill for the rest of us.  The first climb is a bit of a shocker and woke everyone’s legs up by the time they rode, pushed or swore their way to the top!

We were rewarded with a cracking drop down the South Downs Way in all its flinty chalky goodness, unfortunately I’d forgotten I was on a hardtail so took off at my usual pace before realising a degree of circumspection was required, backing off a bit to pass a lone rider cautiously making her way down (I hope we didn’t rattle her too much as we thundered past!).  Stopping at a road crossing the scenic route group met up with us and we carried on down the South Downs Way (once again passing the lone rider who had wisely pulled over to let the accident-waiting-to-happen crazy people go past!).

From there a bit of road work took us onto the old coach road at the foot of the Downs Escarpment slopes and we followed this enjoying the rooty section before turning up and attacking the second climb.  As usual the Robinator was at the front showing all us geared people how it should be done.  At the top of the climb we had a brief rest and munchies stop, sheltering out of the cutting wind whilst another puncture was fixed.  After that it was a brief roll along the South Downs Way towards Firle before plummeting down a classic Downs Bridleway towards the road at Bo-Peep.

Here the crazy people on skateboards were racing down a road open to traffic, some in full motorcycle leathers, others wearing knee and elbow pads and a particularly brave individual sporting jeans, T-shirt and a fetching pink cape (of invincibility I hope).  After watching the nutters we regrouped and headed downhill on tarmac before turning left and back onto the coach road.

Another mile or so and again we split into a climbing group and a scenic route group, the climbers were to attack the infamous Poo hill (so named By Mrs Ming after finding it covered in sheep poo and also swearing rather a lot as she climbed it).  This hill is a killer, another escarpment climb that is relentless and steep.  Proper epic stuff.  We got to the top and had a quick regroup for photo’s and tangfastics as well as a brief discussion on the food of the Gods (aka peanut butter, it must be Crunchy, sarnies).

Going up

 

To finish with this section of the Downs we had a short climb into the wind along the SDW before a fast, gullied, rocky drop all the way to Firle.  Halfway down I performed gate duties and watched everyone clatter down at various speeds and levels of control suddenly wishing the gate was about 6ft wider but everyone made it through OK.  We had a regroup with the scenic riders at Firle before a leisurely ride back along the coach road to let everyone’s legs recover for before the final climbs of the day.

The climb into Lullington Heath starts slow and goes on, and on, and on before a final tweak steeper for the last few hundred yards.  The many happy faces as people summited quickly evaporated when they realised we had one more short sharp climb left; the Flint Terror!  This is a great climb that starts steep, gets technical, gets steeper before becoming a long slow shallow climb all the way to its junction with the SDW.

I did my best to beat the Robinator up here but just when I thought I had the better of him he spun faster and rode off into the distance, try as I could the knees and energy banks were totally depleted.

not a bad day for a ride...

We arrived at the SDW/Bleedin’ Lisa junction a very tired but satisfied group.  To save having a silly accident Darth took the more fatigued/sensible riders back to the met point via the Jevington Road whilst the fitter/stupider group carried on down chalk garden of Bleedin’ Lisa at full speed before a blast back across the Wannock fields.

At the met point much Coffee & Cake was consumed as some very tired but hopefully satisfied riders loaded up cars and discussed some new club rules…….something about me not being allowed to plan any more hilly rides!

Bloody well done to everyone who took part, I deliberately planned to push us all as group and do something people normally wouldn’t and everybody stepped up and achieved.  I’ll rerun this ride as a mid month outing later in the spring or summer when it’s drier and do a couple of bits that I avoided due to the boggy conditions.

Ming

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