We trundled off from the Peaslake car park with evidence of the recent harvesting all around us. The climb to the top car park can be a leg awakener but a reasonable warm up makes the climb across the bridleway to the Judge’s Seat a tad easier.
Forestry work last year at this point changed the feel of this section but nature is recovering and it was green everywhere. We skirted around Mike’s Folly and dropped down and up to the bomb holes where nearly everyone rode through with only one slip and a couple of near misses. Riding tail I missed a great photo opportunity of the line of riders weaving through the sea of ferns. The contrast of the bikes and jerseys against the lush backdrop reticulated like a giant snake.
A huge group of ramblers allowed us through at the pine trail and made the point that this area is for us all to use and a little politeness and respect between all users goes a long way.
A short play to allow the less familiar the thrill of making the middle line and Mr. Donne was off from rock drop to bridleway at full throttle. So quickly in fact that he had no time to notice, nor slow, for the largest step down and simply flew over it. A few cries from behind confirmed that others had discovered this in time to be alarmed but not enough to do anything other than grit teeth and hold on. Everyone got down and laughed off the challenge. Until next time and they know it is there.
We climbed up and across, we rolled down and through. On some of the trails that pass through the monoculture of the rhododendrons some were afraid of the dark but still we continued on, some slipped on the roots, some skidded in the mud. We tried the tidemark hill again with some making the double birch tree standard but some of us failing despite multiple attempts due to the wrong bikes being available.
On a long linking run from the top of the ridge everyone had a chance to jump the stump but no one came close to Neil’s dramatic jump and handstand combination on the hidden tree stump of the past.
Jim tried a tail whip and a bar turn, Neil tried for the loudest landing, Mike D tried to go high and as usual Pete found the limit of his forks. And no one fell off.
Eventually we all made it to a coffee stop at Peaslake for cheese straws and samosas and wrecked the weight loss benefit of the ride; but suitably fortified we rode off towards the trig point panorama that always lifts the heart. A photograph or two before dropping into some of the remodelled trail head I ran tail. This always seems a trail that stretches groups out so you can make the wrong line choice. Sally squealed as she launched herself off the largest step of the day but landed perfectly and carried on without hesitation. I chickened to the left. Just above Telegraph road we waited for the lost souls to rejoin.
Regaining height we were joined but a couple of younger lads looking for new trails before we dropped into the last run of the day. A great run twisting and turning, swooping and jumping all the way back to the reservoir. Crossing the road we started down to Peaslake via BKB. Jim hurtled off in pursuit of the newcomers. A small group hurtled down this leaving the rest of us behind and very nearly made it all the way at full speed but unfortunately the worn trail caught out Jim at the very end and he came off. Bruised but hopefully not broken he picked himself and carried his bike down the last slope to the end with his punctured rear wheel slapping the ground.
A good ride for all hopefully and a few things highlighted. The Surrey Hills are such a well known and well ridden area that it is easy to ride the same trails each time but it is worth seeking out some of the unnamed ones.
The common trails can become worn quite quickly and in wet conditions somewhat treacherous. The point that Jim slipped was closed for a period last year and looking at the pictures on the Redlands site it has eroded considerably since then so more repairs will be needed. The Redlands trail builders run dig days so perhaps some of us could spend a little time to help maintain the trails. The Friends of Hurtwood site offers membership for £25 and gives you a say in the future of the area too.
If you might like to try our ride if you look at the routes page it is not there. You need to come out with us to share the fun.