Leaving home amidst a heavy downpour was not an encouraging start. On reaching Reigate Hill there were 6 enthusiastic riders keen to hone their skills for special events planned in the summer. Gareth, Monika, Keith and myself are preparing for the Muc-Off 8 on 11th April. Paul has the South Downs Way in his sights while Chris would like to do Trans Wales, and Mike is still considering his options. Gareth was trying out a very bright Orange bike that required sunglasses to see it.
Setting off, we deliberately held back the pace so we could all warm up sufficiently. After explaining the next section of the route we headed off at our own pace deliberately not stopping at the tops of the hills. The aim was to climb the hills and recover whilst continuing to ride. In endurance or race scenarios, it is not practical to take a rest at the top of every climb. The mud was in abundance as we slid about whilst maintaining our balance. As the rain came down the mud came up, we got covered!
The next section consisted of a 4 mile loop comprising of a long climb, some flatter parts, then a single track descent. Riding it twice individually, we learnt how to pace ourselves whilst picking the best line on the technical parts. The biggest problem was navigation as some riders added a few extra trails to the route.
Continuing up and over another hill, we reach Brockets Farm soaked through and covered in mud. With odd looks from their other visitors, we grab a welcome hot drink and a slice of their famous Mars Bar cake.
Putting on soggy gloves and a wet helmet is not pleasant, so we chose the most direct route back. There was no let up from the rain as we splashed and squelched along the trails. We could almost hear the pound coins dropping out of our pockets at the brakes and gears grated with the grime. Gareth’s bike was now less dazzling, partly because it was covered in mud and partly due to all the cack on our glasses.
Returning to Reigate Hill, we achieved an excellent average speed considering the dire conditions. Sliding down the hill I just had enough time to clean the bike and myself before the wife came home.