The three trepid amigos Nick, Dane & Patrick decided that the torrential rain, flooding and wind the night before was for wimps, and the Dibbfest training show must go on. A route across Hascombe, Winterfold, Smithbrook Kilns and Cranleigh was embarked upon, and with the clear bright blue sky and a dazzling winter sun making it a magical morning, the only thing to tackle was the trails.
We knew it would be muddy, and the bridle paths took some negotiating. Normally Dane’s technique of powering through the deepest puddle triumphed, but with the deep clay often more than half a foot deep, and with last night’s water filling every rut, the going was extremely sticky. And if mud sticks..and your wheels spin.. then there’s only one way and that’s not forward, but off!
The heavy leaf fall caused by the strong winds also disguised the squelching surprises underfoot. The leaf cover did give us grip, but only downhill. Trying to power through the sludge was certainly a challenge on the legs!
Once on the downhill into Winterfold the trail speeded up, and we soon skidded into Smithbrook Kilns for a quick pitstop at Beyond Mountain Bikes. Unable to solve Nick’s squeaky saddle (possible not the bike?) and reluctant to take them up on the offer of a new full suspension Stumpjumper at £3000, we headed into Cranleigh in search of a bacon buttie. Unable to locate an independent coffee shop that was open (we needed an iPhone bap app), and thinking we were just too dripping with mud for the pub, a park bench outside Costa seemed to do the trick. After shooting the breeze, and watching a wide variety of MAMIL’s wobble by on their Sunday road bikes, we headed back on the Downs Link from Cranleigh to Godalming. A 34km ride was topped off with a quick diversion to The Cricketers, where the world was quickly put to rights over a swift jar or three.
Highlight of the ride was Dane having a hill named after him: