A wild ride

In perfect weather conditions the last intermediate ride of October was wild indeed! Starting with a snarl of brambles to catch bare ankles, the tone was set. Our fluctuating posse of eleven-ish riders lost Stewart almost immediately to a broken and unfixable chain and gained another, a guest appearance from Lance.
We climbed the Park Farm ascent and headed for Netley Heath and beyond. The broad fire roads of the Heath had us quickly to the real meat of the cross country ride I had planned. From Green Dene we meandered along twisty and narrow bridleways that are little used by MTBers but see plenty of horses. Consequently the recent rain had the trails well-churned.
At Sheepleas we rode down to East Horsely and our appointment with tea and cake. Helen suffered a puncture only half a mile away but this meant our arrival was staggered.
Back on track we headed for Coles Copse and a bridleway that climbs under three Lovelace Bridges. Sadly we lost Robin just before the climb to tackle a breach in the sidewall of his front tyre (he insisted). 
Then, as a special treat for Phil, we made a detour to the Crocknorth Bridge (another Lovelace structure) where the Victorian designers had thoughtfully included bike stands in the parapet walls (see pics). And we think we found the start of the Bingo Bongo Dave single track – for another time.
The next section took us through terrain so overgrown that it had Cheryl fretting about lions and tigers. However, the only interesting wild life seen all morning was one buzzard and one kestrel. Our route was so unfamiliar that even Lance couldn't work out where we were.
The boggy conditions and abundant vegetation had slowed our progress, so Cheryl and Geoff bade farewell at Ranmore to head home. After 22 wild miles finally we got back to Milton Heath for 2:15 – apologies! Special thanks to Sue and Geoff who took turns to shepherd us all from the back. And to Julian Wade who showed me some of the trails earlier in the year!


Event / Article Type
MTB-Intermediate Milton Heath 25/10
Crocknorth Bridge