This ride lead was a slightly impulse decision since I wanted to do a singletrack epic and see some RCC people again before I go back to Sheffield. I had plotted out a route that would include every trail I could think of including a great tea stop, but I forgot to warn of my intentions on the website.
Eight of us started from the Plough in Bletchingley and rode though Gravelhill wood, down the sand track and up to View Point. On the way down to the A22 bridge we encountered the first interesting trail feature - a steep roll-in, which caused lots of discussion. I eventually convinced Mat to man up, and after riding it perfectly he admitted he had been a massive wimp and that it was fine. If only he could apply this to everything else I try and bully him into riding…?
Next we headed over to the girls’ school and up to Great Churchwood where I hit a decent sized root gap I had spotted on the hardtail but not ridden due to fear of casing it and pinch-flatting. Definitely one to show Phil at some point. Some more off piste riding was next and we almost got dizzy riding round and round the next trails. One family of walkers which we encountered on three separate occasions were particularly amused.
Before long we arrived at the big bombhole which also always causes much umming and arring and ‘maybe next time’-ing. Mat kindly cleared some branches out of the bottom so that I had a relatively clear run out. Sadly I was met with refusals from all other riders in the group, a disappointing show. We carried on through the woods, narrowly avoiding unexpected stacks of chopped wood and I decided to try a trail I haven’t ridden in nearly a year. I fully expected it to be strewn with fallen trees, but it was perfectly clear and is an amazingly fast and fun trail to attack at full pace.
Next was Al Fayed’s which was extremely horsed, but still running quite fast, another trail I hadn’t ridden in a long time which almost led to a high speed collision with a bush. We headed across to Leigh Place and then past Bay Pond to the tea stop at Green Rooms on the triangle in Godstone. The service of sandwiches was a bit slow but worth the wait, however the cake came almost instantly and disappeared shortly after.
After a nice break in the sun some of us continued up towards the Harrow while others turned home. Maybe the ride was too ambitious since at this point Gilly left for Reigate and then I had lost the whole group apart from Mat and my Dad. Our group of three enjoyed some quality singletrack and even tried a new tight and twisty trail. After a bit of effort we cleared a fallen tree from the ditch-gap jump in Oldpark wood which I managed to summon enough energy to sprint at and clear.
On the way back up to View Point Mat peeled off home and I headed back to the Plough for a late (3:45) lunch with my Dad. Still not sure whether arriving back minus the entire group was a success or not, but I hope everyone had a good ride and enjoyed some new trails. I certainly had a great time riding all my home trails again, which I had begun to miss after a while battering through rocks in the Peak District.
Thanks to my Dad for back-marking and to Mat for taking pictures.