Well I know it has been some time since I have put finger to keyboard about riding up and down hills and through mud and puddles in the English countryside, but I am still doing it.
Alas this Winter has been not that kind, if anything it has been too warm, and we have been blessed with stupidly strong and gusty wind, rain and more rain, and hardly any blue sky, for what feelslike almost 3 months Consequently the land is sodden. As you will appreciate sodden ground is tough and challenging to cycle across, and well the winds have been far too dangerous at times.
Before the Winter set in I managed to complete the South Downs Way – knocking out the final section between Winchester and Petersfield and ending up in Chichester (alomst 50 miles that day). I also took my bike with me on a weeks stay in the Yorshire Dales – oh so different from the South Downs – I was lucky to fit in 2 great and challenging rides – the first one was on our first morning there – riding in dense fog and not knowing the terrain was fun and the scenery was lovely when the fog lifted.
So back to today; I looked at the on-line weather forecast and picked the best hours this weekend for my ride and headed to the Surrey Hills. Yesterdays 40mph winds had gone and blue was poking between the clouds. I had a rough route in mind for an explorationary trip and to try and peice together a couple of rides from November. The hills are quite wooded and there are paths everywhere – so while I feel I know roughly where I am I can still feel lost.
As luck would have it, nearly at destination point one I stumbled (rode) across a lovely single track trail and a the the start I met three other refugees from the South Downs and followed them down – whoop whoop.
This is the second time recetly this has happened – I bumped into Mart near Stanmer Park and he kindly acted as tour guide on its hidden singletracks – fun and not normally what I would do, and I didn’t mind too much that my bike collected so much clayey/claggy mud that my rear wheel refused to rotate!