Presumably the foul weather was the reason for such a small turnout for both the Experienced and Intermediate rides. With Simon leading the experienced ride, it was left to Mark, Terry, Lee and newcomer Robyn to join me for a more modestly paced ride.
Up Juniper Hill to warm the legs and other bodily parts as we made our way towards Headley. A fast drop down the flinty hill at High Ashurst brought the first bit of excitement when a sharp stone caused a blow-out on my rear wheel taking out both the tube and tyre. Thankfully “Terry’s Mobile Tyre Service” was on hand to help and with his skillful combination of plastic tubing, twigs and cable ties, we were soon under way again. About time too as the heavy rain had set in and we were now quite a bit behind schedule.
The climb up High Ashurst itself did little to help us - slithery roots, packed wet leaves and a fallen tree had us off the bikes for some brief walking.
Undeterred we continued towards Headley car park with a slight navigation error (don’t think anyone noticed though!) where there was a refreshments stand. But not for us sadly - they were supporting a road cycling event.
Pouring rain, sore legs, soaking wet feet and mud everywhere - we were having a ball...
The next stage of the ride towards Langley was a much better experience with some good fast trails despite the conditions and some easier climbing too. Until that is we got closer to Staine Street where another fallen tree required a road diversion around Tyrell’s Wood (another time penalty) but it did give us a fast, uninterrupted run down Alsation which saw some pretty wide smiles on faces at the bottom.
A late but welcome tea stop at Bocketts. Bemused faces from the other visitors as we dripped our way through the queue, the lovely staff as forgiving as ever at the general mess we left behind. Given the late hour and the relentless rain we abandoned plans to ascend Ranmore, instead diverting over Norbury Park Hill for one more fast descent and a quick dash back to Rykas. One last fallen tree to deal with and we were soon back at Rykas. No hanging around either - the lure of a warm car took priority.
So, a few miles under the belt, a bit of exercise, an advanced puncture training course with Terry plus tea and cake at one of our favourite haunts - what more could you possibly want from a RCC MTB ride.
See you soon,