Fourwents Pond at the edge of Holmwood Common provided us with a new start point for the mtb club ride. I’d warned of the amount of climbing that was involved in this route on the web site but didn’t hold back on the apologies all morning as the group of 21 determined riders tackled each one of the hills with grit and determination and no complaints (well none that I heard anyway).
Heading out across the fields to Beare Green we hit the longest and nastiest of all the hills (and the first of the apologies..) which was a road climb up to Coldharbour. Having caught our breath we then sped on to take on the singletrack of Summer Lightning. This is a fast and technical piece of gorgeous singletrack that everyone blasted through skipping over the roots and drops nicely.
From there we made our way to Leith Hill. Powering up the East side of the hill is the only way to get up to the Tower as this is an immensely challenging climb – everyone got to the top and we had a break there whilst Sue was able to stock up on water supplies.
From the Tower it was on to Holmbury and a skip round the Yoghurt Pots – a chance to replay youthful days of ‘mucking about in the woods’ – marvellous! Keeping up a good pace we headed over to Barry Knows Best, a hugely fun and recently improved piece of singletrack with some great switchbacks which dropped us down to Peaslake for our tea stop. Having picked up James again (he’d had a mechanical which had now been fixed) we set off for Abinger, before climbing (more apologies and me promising ‘just one more hill to go’) back from Westcott up to Coldharbour on the Green Sands Way.
Stopping outside the pub in Coldharbour I cramped embarrassingly and everyone had the good grace to let me recover before we then sped back to Fourwents Pond via Redlands Forest where we said a collective ‘hello’ to the memory of Tony Rogers (a wonderful club rider who we sadly lost to a heart attack back in 2007 in Redlands).
We covered around 23 miles, 2300 odd feet of climbing (yeah, sorry about that..) and arrived back around 1:40pm. Simon, hope you’re ok after your spill, John, I trust that back wheel is being ‘trued’ as I type and Matt & Tom, thanks for back marking – to everyone who rode out yesterday, thanks for coming along, I really enjoyed it.