Brian went off nice and slowly for a gentle warm up. I wish. I was pushing by Falmer and regretting a missed ride opprotunity or two since last week but the trail was hard and the pace even so I was only a little way behind. The gate was being held so off I went trying to use the smallest of inclines to help the next up bit.
We cut down in a rush back to the A27 and then climbed up the nice little hill on the SDW. I like this hill, for no reason, but I find it hard every time so that makes it a B hill. Dropping through the wooded section I took the original high line with Steve following almost into the tree and then I braked hard as I saw the long slide line into the bottom corner. Someone had almost come off. Steve promptly threw new dad caution to the wind and cut inside and powered away.
The long hill back up is a slog but gradual enough to make it stretch out the small differences between most groups of riders but we continued on, still as a group, to the top gate near Black Cap. Just one more short incline and then a trundle. I wish. At the top Mark hared off along the flat with Brian and Steve on his wheel. Matt and I wound up and eventually I ran out of gears. I used to ride this section in the big ring but tonight I struggled in the middle but I will not be replacing the big ring in any event. We caught them holding the next gate.
Over the lumps and bumps until we reached Ditchling Beacon and saw a couple of other riders returning to their car. It must be summer. A camera on a post showed an eager amateur trying to capture a picture of riders silhouetted against the red setting sun. Matt and I rode up against the fiery red sky and just at the point to take the picture his light fell off. Probably not the ideal picture then.
We looped back via Rag’s Bottom, stone drop gate (where you drop a stone in the mud), and back towards the horseshoe field. We tried the tiger line to the top but none of us could manage even the first section. Steve will include this hillclimb as part of nis new summer triathlon it seems. Mark complained that it was so steep he could hardly walk it.
A last flash through some singletrack and we split for home but Matt put some of his new found singletrack skills from his Astounding Adventures day to the test. The first section is quite twisty and he did not get any benefit bu t the next bit we eased a little and then he held the wheel easily.
By the time we popped out into the grass of Stanmer he had found his swoop. So money and time well spent.
So come along next Tuesday and enjoy the longer, quicker stuff but don’t miss Thursday for the singetrack fun.