If you like Thursdays can you ride Tuesdays?
This is a difficult question because the pace is higher, breaks are few and very short and the smaller pack tends to pull everyone together at a brisk speed.
So yes if you can manage a large bridleway loop including all the hills around Brighton at an average of 8mph. You will get dropped and need to dig in really hard at times but if you do everybody waits uncomplainingly. Will you enjoy it? Maybe. Riding at your upper limit for two hours is hard work and if you only ride Thursday nights and the odd weekend slowish ride then I would not think that you would enjoy it. If you are quite fit and an experienced rider then it is very rewarding as you get to go as fast as you can and you are not waiting (long) at the end of long climbs or sections of downhills.
Tom tries very hard to find dry trails for Tuesday and has a great hit rate of finding good routes in poor conditions so it is rarely a pure mudfest and that can be a reward in itself. Most of the riders on Tuesday started on Thursday nights but as they improved the faster pace seemed manageable and that is the key transition point.
So no to Tuesday if you have not managed to ride solo around the downs at a fair pace – i.e not trundling. I would also suggest that inexperienced technical riders who are unfamiliar with Stanmer would struggle on the Tuesday rides venturing into the woods. A fast singletrack pace is great fun on home turf but quite daunting for newcomers so that is why we suggest a few Thursday rides to get to know the place and its flavour. This includes the technical element which is much greater riding in the pitch black between the trees at full whack.
As an example last night Tom had planned a long loop around Rottingdean and Woodingdean. This included some long climbs, a couple of fast descents and a a couple of steep ups than are a challenge in super dry summer conditions. The pace was a level faster than Thursday with middle ring climbs at full effort. As a rough guide this would be middle ring and middle cassette up any of the steep bits around Brighton or about 160watts if you have a power-meter thingmy. A few puddles and an ability to chop and change lines including hopping off the track were needed in places. Some downhill bits were tiny, tiny tracks and 20mph with birds and rocks and branches and everything ready to catch you out if your concentration wavered and as I dug in hard in places other riders had sufficient reserves to chat easily or power ahead to catch up the leaders. We had a couple of stops for mechanicals but you need to drink and eat on the hoof and I needed more light than a Stanmer Thursday as open hills are dark and a small gap with the rider in front plunges you into the true night.
You can examine it on strava but 25km in two hours or 100 minutes riding time with everyone faster than me. I would guess they could have managed it 10% faster. So you have a comparison if you want to try before you buy.
So should you come on a Tuesday?
A faster pace will push you more and make you a better rider. Open hills can be as challenging as the trees in places and the feeling of being out in the sky is great in winter conditions. Now it might rain, it might be windy, it might be cold but you are not that far from home and you have friends with you so you will be safe. The brightonmtb guarantee is that if you ride Thursday every week over winter then next summer you will be a better rider. Flat. If you can ride Tuesday over winter then next summer you will be a faster rider. Flat.
So if you are a good Thursday rider then come along on Tuesday. If you are not sure then just ask me and I will tell you honestly if I think you would enjoy it. I will be twisting arms tomorrow night.