Ride report: 31st October, MTB Denbies Wine Estate, Dorking

Four riders set off from Cheam Station south side at 09:00hrs. Dave Rapson, Adam Domaingue, Bill Martin and myself leading.

My initial thoughts were to ride up and over Epsom Downs, but I soon decided against it with the clouds racing across the sky. We were pre-storm this morning and supposed to get the lot around 11:00hrs. The winds were already gusting from the south west at around 35mph. We knew we were going to get it, just would we get it after the ride had finished or during? The odds were against us.

We headed out across Nonsuch Park and south over Epsom Common, Ashtead and the back streets of Leatherhead. At the roundabout at the bottom of Givon’s Grove, (A24 Leatherhead/Dorking) we got the answer to the weather question. The heavens opened up big time and then there was no option but to punch on through it to Denbies for hot tea and a bacon roll. The going was hard, the wind was being funnelled right along the Mole Valley right into our faces at about 40mph. The rain was torrential and stinging.

We made it to Denbies in the lashing rain where Bill secured a table whilst we got the food and drink. We sat in their marque watching the biblical rain get heavier and heavier until one side of the car park was about eight inches deep with water. We continued to drink our tea and watch the rain filling a heavily swollen bulge in the marque’s roof, it was getting bigger and bigger. To my surprise it didn’t split with what must have been around 90 litres of water in it. The rain continued to pour and someone in our group checked the weather report on their moby phone: “The rain will not stop for three hours in your area.” “Serves you right you silly cyclists” someone added!

So we set off once again for the return leg of the ride. It was going to be a ‘no thrills,’ fast and as direct as possible route. We set off in the deluge and found loads of flooding along to A24 cycle path, this lead to plenty of conversation extolling the virtues of waterproof socks, which we were all wearing. We also had a bit of a sing-song along the way with such favourites as: “little ol wine drinker me,” “Raindrops keep falling on my head,” “Raining in my heart” – Buddy Holly and a few others.

As we past through the middle of Leatherhead the rain slowed and almost stopped, which made things a little better. The heavy rain had been tolerated with some enjoyment due to the 35mph tail wind blowing us back through the Mole Valley, now the rain had eased, it had just got even better. We crossed the footbridge over the M25 and followed the trail into Ashtead Common. Soon after we were in Horton  Country Park where I bade farewell to my amphibious friends and headed with some alacrity to my car parked close by with a lovely dry change of clothes therein.

Good ride my aquanauts, 30 miles for me, possibly some of them could be classed as nautical miles!!

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