Being buoyed up by last weekends rides I decided I would head east of Brighton to an area I haven’t cycled for a while. After some deliberations I parked on the outskirts of the small village of Firle. From there I rode up the Firle Bostal and then along the South Downs Way to Firle Beacon . A generally smooth but steepish ascent of about 185m to get the blood pumping round my body nicely. The wind blew any remaining cobwebs away and chilled me to the core.
From the beacon I kept it simple and followed the SDW towards Alfriston before peeling off down and through Winton, back to almost sea level.
My original intention was to then head back along the foot of the Downs but I realised that was not at all ambitious. So I crossed the River Cuckmere and proceeded to climb back to the top of the downs between Wilmington and Windover Hill’s. Then, you guessed it, it was back down again, this time towards Jevington before riding up back round Folkington Hill.
Normally when I am out in this area I am going point to point and not a loop – and normally I am riding west. This meant I had to climb up from the river on a path that had only been a wide grin downhill breeze before. I was concerned that the initial climb in a tree-lined, rutted and bumpy path from Milton would defeat me – I just had that feeling
from going down it numerous times over the years it that it would be a right **** of a climb. But hey no – plodding along I made it – not sure if it is a renewed confidence or that 650b with big tyres and stans-no-tubes just climb better than 26″ wheels.
Coming back round Folkington it was paths new to me (or long forgotten). I passed the Long-man of Wilmington carved in the hillside and was soon back following to toe of the Downs all the way back to Firle.
The paths were all ride-able – albeit there were some deep muddy sections churned by horses or tractors, and deep ruts just wide enough to cycle along without crashing the pedals on the sides.
Just over 18 miles, 690ish m of ascent – all at snails pace – got to work on raising my cadence next!