Cold and wet, this ride was going to test the men from the boys, but 8 intrepid chaps set off from Milford at a flying pace. Down Moushill Lane and Borough Copse we hit the fast bit of single track along the Hammer Ponds and came out on Thursley Common. Whilst the rain meant that there were deep puddles, slippery tree roots and many inches of slippery mud, there was never any point in not embracing the mud and the wet, and the easiest course was always straight through the middle of the deep puddles.
The generally damp sandy paths of Thursley were a brief respite, except for the gorse scratching the mud off our legs.
As we hit Thursley village the rain started to beat down harder, and Highfield Lane towards the Punchbowl began to flow with muddy runoff. With steamed up glasses removed, and a technique of shaking off the helmet drips to help the vision, it was a relief to complete the climb and for the first time, visit the cafe for a quick muddy coffee.
There was a trail of mud out of the cafe, where we discovered 2 flat tyres, which meant more tube changes in the pouring rain. At this point it was difficult to feel hands or feet. The downhill Highcombe Copse route was still fast, but slowed by some rather determined dog walkers, and also a big fallen tree at the turn out of the National trust area and into the riverbed like ravine. It was more of a paddle to the bottom. Cold wet, but certainly a challenge, and a challenge completed. By the time we eventually got back to Witley we’d clocked up a very cold wet 38km.