Last night, as JohnR pointed out, was a great night for a ride. Long, long daylight hours thanks to our proximity to the solstice, hot weather and dry trails meant we really should take advantage of circumstance. And what better way than to get in a spot of Pitch Hill riding followed by a pint in the Hurtwood Inn?
Yes, it was time to reprise our ‘classic’ Pitch and a Pint’ riding!
Tony was kind enough to offer me a lift and we were trailed over there first by Colin in his passion wagon and then by DaveW as the ever resourceful moles took various different routes to Peaslake. It was all starting to feel a bit wacky racers to me!
At the car park we found the place was full of riders, not all of whom were with us. The mid-week Surrey Hills effect was in full force though as once on the hill I think we only briefly saw a trio of other riders. Where does everyone go?
There were 14 of us, heading out tonight. Tony, Colin, DaveW, JamesH, JohnR, Trevor, Amanda, Chris, Adam, Darren, D’AndyC, Paul and myself joined eventually by BiketechMark. Quite a crowd and a strong group of riders.
We headed straight up the hill and headed toward car park no. 3 via some steep roll-ins before crossing the road and heading up the steep climb past Caution Steep Slope and on toward the Windmill on Winterfold. Soon we came to the first tester of the evening, Two-Headed Dog.
I’ve come off down here before but tonight was fine, this time a remembered not to carry too much speed over the lip at the top. Darren and Adam both decided to have a go at the really steep drop that is favoured by few apart from DaveW (when he has his flats with him or a pair of spd shoes to fit his pedals!). Both rode the drop well but I can’t ever see myself doing it, especially after seeing Adam nearly endo on the second part as the sharp drop nearly caught him out. Fortunately no harm done though.
Crossing th eroad we headed on up to the Judges Seat where I’m ashamed to say we spoilt a couple’s picnic by turning up en masse to admire the view. They were very good about it but if I was them I wouldn’t have been too impressed. They did get treated to Adam launching his bike confidently off a couple of the gnarly lines up there though, while the rest of us looked on impressed.
Soon after we left them to some peace and headed off toward Jellies Hollow (I still prefer Jenny’s!) along the lovely rollercoaster trail along here. I had a contact elns that kept lifting in one eye which made my progress a bit hit and miss but it’s great fun along here, one of my favourites.
Looping back on ourselves it was off to the bombholes, followed by the twisting singletrack that comes after. I struggled for a rythmn along here and reckon I’ve been spending too much time covering miles rather than testing the Five. Now it has the Nobby Nics on though it’s feeling much grippier which helps.
Gone In Sixty Seconds has well and truly gone, so it was off back toward Pitch, working our way round past the Windmill and the rooty steps down to the road. We tried our hand at a few jumps along the way as we headed uphill (all stalling on the steep sandstone climb) before we finally came out at the start of the T-trails.
These we in great condition as we shot off down them, my ropey technique making itself felt again as I kept braking in the berms but even so swift progress was made. Onto T1 and Tony was close behind Chris and me. He’s quick along here so Tony amused himself ringing his bell at us, how he did it without falling off at the speed we were going I don’t know! This long trail seems to snake forever through the pines and we were all panting at the end.
A short rest, then it was onto to T2-5, on the whole I really like these later T-trails but I just can’t seem to get cleanly through the narrow tree and stump opening about a third of the way down. It’s very frustrating!
By now we were pretty close to the village, with the last stepped gully taken fast but haltingly by me as I careened off the sides a few times. Passing the opportunity of an immediate pint (well, most of us did Andy and DaveW eh?!), we rode up to the start of Barry’s via the off road climb and then came down it at a fair old lick as the night started to fall.
The final bermed sections seem to be getting better and better and once or twice I could feel the bike was running quite well as I entered high and swooped downwards at each turn. I could tell from everyone’s reaction at the bottom that we’d all had a blast along there.
Back to the pub then for a lovely pint of Shere Drop (once we’d finally been served by the slow staff). We weren’t the only riders drinking there either as there were a few groups coming and going, underlying that at least our sporting activities occassionally bring in a bit of cash to local businesses.
All in all, a very enjoyable ride, 9 miles or so of intense riding, lots of fun and smiles all round.