It was time for me to lead an RCC ride again – my old stomping ground of Peaslake was the chosen destination, and I set off in the car eager to ride there again. Too eager to remember all my kit….
As I drove through Westcott, that sudden sinking feeling hit me that something was missing. Helmet, gloves, glasses? Yes, definitely picked them up. Shoes? Oh. Pretty sure I didn’t get them. A few choice thoughts slipped through my brain as I tried to work out how one leads a ride with SPD pedals and trainers on the trails of the Surrey hills!
On arrival, unsurprisingly no one had any spare shoes or flats; but Pedal & Spoke saved the day by renting me some flat pedals for a tenner, so with my trainers on, we were in business and only 15 mins late! 12 of us for this one and we set off up the hill at a nice gentle pace. Within the first few mins the theme for my moaning was set – I don’t like flat pedals! Too many years clipped in, and this ride was a struggle, both on the climbs where I kept lifting off the pedals, and on the descents where I couldn’t stay on the pedals!
Anyway, the trails were dry, the company good and all was well – I followed a route well known to me from past years, Jelly’s Hollow, Evian, Northern Monkey to name a few. I managed a crash off a log drop, obviously put down to the pedals issue (have I mentioned that?) and put my new knee pads to their first use, but I survived to ride on with scrapes and injured pride. Never crash as the ride leader!! Nick led us up the path for a while, confident he knew where he was heading, and despite some self doubt, he was right, and swiftly handed back the leadership and the front of the ride!
We finished off part 1 down Supernova, which has been reworked nicely, and stopped for tea in the village. A broken oven meant no pork and leek slices, but some superb sausage rolls to fuel part 2 of the ride.
The whine of Gareth’s e-bike motor became a theme of discussion through the ride, particularly in the second half as he eased up the hills. Mike had a go, and his head was definitely turned! Despite Aled’s protests, we headed up Holmbury for part 2, up to the top, the down Yoghurt pots, including Dave’s detour to include an extra drop in, the full length of Telegraph, back to the top and finishing off down BKB. Lee saved his puncture until right at the end, meaning a short walk back to the car for him, I stopped at the shop to return the pedals (never to ride flats again!), Mike headed back, having ridden over, meaning an 80k ride for him, all of which meant a disjointed finish to a good ride. Thanks all for tolerating the whinging!!!