Given the damp forecast for the week-end, who can blame us for taking ‘a little bit’ out of the working day and enjoying the reasonably dry trails? Apologies to those who were stuck in their offices, but we have all been there, honest! Running a little late, I was already ‘cream crackered’ by the time we met Jonesy and Batbling up at the start of ‘TNP/Snail’.
BB had a new trail to show us, which meant turning around and heading back up and along Mickleham Gallops. At the end of the gallops we took a left onto ‘Total Recall’. This starts with a reasonably steady climb, and I soon found myself at the back of the pack. I was able to overtake Tony though, as he’d taken an unplanned detour over the bars and into the bushes.
We ended up on the last section of ‘Life on Mars’, before turning right on the bridleway that runs alongside the golf course. Sneaking through the woods to around the start of ‘Life on Mars’, we headed back along the bridleway to The Gallops, before taking a left onto ‘Double Jeopardy’. This is a cracking, alpine-style trail, with plenty of steep switchbacks. There’s a jump which is also rollable, just, at the top; and towards the bottom there’s a small drop (30-40 cm or so) just before a sharp right hand turn. Many thanks to BB for letting me follow him down as he showed me how to take the various obstacles and turns.
We found ourselves on ‘Cliffhanger’, which is ‘High Alpine’ in reverse. Once you’ve pushed up the tricky rooty section at the end (or beginning), it’s actually quite a pleasant climb.
Back up on The Gallops, we took a ‘jumpy’ trail (see first pic above) which leads to ‘The Bat Cave’. Many thanks to Jonesy this time, for showing me the way over this double (it’s the one that features in his ‘epic crash’ clip from a few weeks back. There are some jumps and drops after the gap, which I confess I mostly minced over. More commitment required for next time.
Into ‘The Bat Cave’, where we took the ‘Tank Slapper’ option. Again, thanks to BB for showing me how to take the jump at the end, where we pushed back up for this ‘photo opportunity’.
‘The Snail/Tactical Nuclear Penguin’ was next on the route plan, so up Stane Street we headed. It was running nicely, too nicely for Tony who ended up in the bushes again
Down to the A24 and up past Druids Grove to Crabtree Lane, before picking up another trail, ‘A View to a Kill’. Again, this is lovely flowing singletrack with just a small (30 cm or so) tree drop. There is a sting in the tail, however. A steep and tricky roll-in followed by a sharp right turn. More kudos to Jonesy who throttled back on the singletrack to allow me to keep pace with him and follow his line down this roll-in.
From here it was up to Ranmore Church by a sneaky little route that took us to ‘Dearly Beloved’ as the route up to Ranmore. ‘Red, White and Rose / And then there were three’ was next on the agenda. Some DofE walkers had ventured onto the trail, and did they jump quickly off the trail as Jonesy clattered behind them at warp speed.
Here we said good-bye to Jonesy who headed back to Dorking for some afternoon work while the three of us headed back to Pilgrim Cycles for a coffee and cake. As you can see in the pic, the cheeky footpath we took was somewhat overgrown with cow parsley, and my brake levers, gps mount and watch inadvertently picked a few flowers for me. The chocolate fridge cake was excellent, by the way.
Suitably refreshed, it was a second visit to Crabtree Lane and along to the saw mill before heading down ‘Infestation’ and home.
According to my gps, I’d covered 35km with 720m of climbing. That really was a cracking ride and an excellent start to the week-end. Thanks to BB and Jonesy for showing us the way.