Three riders started at Cheam Station on an overcast day with the temperature hovering around 5C. These were Paul White, Dave Repson and Bill Martin.
Mick Curtis met us at the cafe stop today after his trusty cyclo-cross steed failed before starting resulting in him being delayed whilst he fed, watered and saddle up the proper ‘Big hitters’ mountain bike with the 29″ wheels.
Our route took us out of the back of Nonsuch park and into Ewell. We followed the Hogsmill River for a mile or two through some of the famously sticky mud that area has to offer during the winter after heavy rain. This had the result of turning my 26″ x 2.25″ wheels into 29″ x 3.25″ and added about 10lbs to the bike.
The going was a little slow at this point for me as the famously “Good in all mud conditions” reviewed ‘Nobby Nick’ tyres do not like the mud that resides along the Hogsmill River and clogged until mud was being plained off by the frame stays.
I’ve always been of the theory that the mud alongside that river is layers of pure flood silt mixed with London clay so is extremely sticky, indeed for some time after despite riding through every puddle I could find the stuff would not wash off! (Even the garden hose on my return home was hard pushed to wash it off!)
Eventually the bike became lighter after we’d turned away from the Hogsmill and were into the western edges of Horton Park.
A brief exchange of pleasantries with the Kingston Phoenix Cycle Club took place as we passed through the car park heading towards Ashtead Common.
On Ashtead Common Bill was looking left and right trying to find some deep mud to play in, however I advise caution on leaving the hard pack path in the lower area as from my past experience I stated the area we were in was bog land this time of year that I’d sunk into before.
We crossed the railway carefully via the pedstrian barrow crossing to the north of Ashtead Station and crossed into Ashtead Park.
In the park we met a nice young lady with a very happy, soppy little sausage dog. That little dog despite its short little legs had a turn of speed on him that seemed to be quit capable of keeping her on her toes, ‘fitness wise’ running after it!
Shortly after we arrived at Biker Bean, Ashtead for elevenses. Mick Curtis was there as planned, Bill Martin left us at that point having a deadline for being home. Shortly after Bill left Brian Harris arrived for a chat.
After elevenses with drops of rain in the air Brian went his way on the road and we left out the east side of Ashtead back to Staine Street and over the usual route, Thirty Acre Barn and Epsom Downs southern perimiter bridleway route.
The final decent was through Epsom Golf club and Nescot College boarder path. The last two miles for me were back to Cheam Station on the road instead of Nonsuch Park as suggested. Alas I’d only just got the bike clean enough to go in the back of the car, so didn’t want to cover it in mud again as this creates problems driving home with windows steaming up as the mud dries out on the bike. It’s a bit like having a soggy dog in the back of the car!
Just around the corner from where I was parked we got a headlight flash from a driver and I was pleased to see Bob Green at the wheel with a big smile on his face. Nice to see you Bob even if it was just a passing hello!
Mileage for me 18.9miles in 2H: 3min. For the others in our group who’d ridden from home add another @6 miles.