With a temperature reading somewhere south of zero as I left this house, this was our first properly cold ride of the winter. It couldn't have been more different to the low cloud and rain of last week though, with clear blue skies- even the mud had started to freeze!
The planned route was a standard Rykas-Juniper-Minty's-Headley-Walton-Stane Street-Alsation-Bocketts-home over Ranmore, but as we got to Headley with evidence of a fair amount of mud remaining unfrozen, I took an executive decision to avoid the likely to be muddy Stane Street in favour of a longer tea stop and cut the corner. A couple of bits of secret singletrack diverted us directly to the top of Alsation where the chance for a little bit of jumping on the way down provided some entertainment while I tried to capture it on camera.
Bocketts, and Lee's reply to 'Santa's Elf' asking what all the little children would like for Christmas of 'a Specialized Demo 8' unfortunately didn't bear fruit, but we were as usual well supplied with tea and cake. When it came time to leave, the route was up the valley, drop, then climb up to Ranmore, with the Westhumble descent giving us our final adrenaline hit before the finish. Not the longest of rides, but some respectable hill climbing and (I hope) enough fun trails- if winter stays like this who needs summer?