Waking up early expecting rain, we were excited to see the weather was fantastic for a December morning, cold & crisp and most importantly dry, not that rain would put us hardcore mountain bikers off riding today.
‘Nev cabs’ set off nice and early to collect half the troops while the other half were meeting us in the Box Hill cafe. We sat down for a nice healthy breakfast at 0945 and hit the trails on Leith Hill by 1045. Starting with a slog up and past the tower, stopping occasionally to regroup. The going was fairly tough with all the sloppy mud and cold muscles but the eight of us all had smiles, and giggles (Paula & Stephen). Past the tower and down a slippery muddy steep bank that almost had Nev off, the others all decided to tackle slightly different and easier paths down, then it was up another climb, past the infamous ‘Mother Hucker’ drop and on towards the cricket ground in Cold harbour where we all battled with the muddy bomb holes, struggling to keep speed to ride up the banks until we came across ‘Deliverance’. It was given this name due to the rusty tin shack that used to be at the bottom of this steep and rooty slope, the remains are still dumped in a pile at the bottom. Deliverance is much easier than it looks and takes a little confidence to ride down so only a few of us did just that with even less of us dropping off the small ledge to the right.
Heading back up to the tower for a hot tea and a slice of cake we had a much needed break, Nev helped a stranded rider fix his chain and get riding again. Here we split into two groups with Paula & Stephen staying for another tea, we arranged to meet them in the quarry a little bit later. Off we went towards ‘Donnie Darko’ a small trail near the tower with a few small slopes and some larger drops and jump. Nev and Mark were keen to hit the big drop but couldn’t quite manage to get the speed needed with the soft ground beneath them, bring on the summer! 😀 Moving on down the hill we all hit the small drop and started down the unknown trail ahead until we came across another fairly big jump, Mark and Nev kept everyone else cold while they sessioned the jump a few times, Mark making thing look easy while Nev had people cringing and looking the other way. Thankfully he avoided crashing and by the third attempt he was nailing the jump just fine. Onwards and downwards we went, slipping and sliding and all laughing like kids. At the bottom we decided to keep the exploration going and headed off to find more new trails, which we did. Unfortunately we ended up going the wrong way along them which meant lots of up and not so much down but great to find new things to ride and we found another fun jump to play on for a while before heading off towards the quarry to meet the giggling pair.
After another refreshing cuppa, Paula and Stephen decided to do their own exploring whilst making their way down to the quarry to meet the others. It was here that we found the muddiest trails, dips and slopes where we decided that it would be great to “practice” our skills and show the others that we can do it! It was giggles all the way, slipping and sliding down the bomb holes, with Paula taking a wrong turn and getting stuck in a tree! After this we thought it would be best to head over to meet the others at the quarry. This was a mission in itself battling against the mud and our own sense of misdirection….. we finally got there only to be kept waiting by the others!
We finally arrived at the quarry finding Paula & Stephen looking rather cold, oops! We stayed in the quarry hitting up small jumps and drops for about an hour before calling it a day as we were all getting tired and cold.
A fantastic day out on the trails and more to come soon. Thanks to all of you that came, best day out in ages!