I’m not usually the person you want doing the ride reports for the simple reason, as Rob will attest, I can’t remember most of the places I go to! But I have actually done this route with Rob before and a lot of it is familiar from years gone by. Here goes with memorable moments from Saturday’s ride.
Started with a hard, grassy climb up the Vale, into granny ring almost straight away; the quick, chalky descent out of the Vale was rudely interrupted by a maggot infested, decaying deer carcass. Constant strong winds make conversation difficult on the top of the downs.
After a brief snack stop sheltered by a big log, I’m sent down a fun, superfast, rutted, drop off the downs, on the way down I almost run over a pheasant and am almost run over by a rampant, Yeti wielding Paul; an evil road climb back up onto the Downs follows. We make our way to Harting and can see Portsmouth from the top of Beacon Hill; only one person cleans the vicious climb up to the top of Beacon Hill (me!) and then I’m impressed by the speed Brian, Pete and Paul come into view after the big descent down the other side.
We leaving Harting by way of a weave through a nice, meandering tree lined alley; and make our back up to Kingley via Stoughton and a rare tubeless puncture. I think this is Alice’s first big-type ride and she does well to keep with us, downing the Tangfastics to keep the energy up. A big climb follows and we head for the Kingley Vale downhill course.
The DH is a nice well-crafted series of big berms, kickers and bigger jumps, not being the jumpy types Rob and I head for the bottom, enjoying the berms and wait for the rest. There are some nice features to play on, which Pete, Brian and Paul make the most of. Paul gives Alan a bit of instruction and encouragement and Alan then frightens himself with the speed with which he approaches the big wooden jump but he decides to stop in a cloud of dust and leaves it for another day!
A great, old school style ride, with a good bit of man-made trail as the final cherry on top. Back in the car park, Rob hands out some free ales and everyone heads home very happy!