Bill’s meeting point was Nonsuch Mansion at 09:30hrs today. Nine rides turned out for the ride, Barry Gregory, Dave Clarke, Mick Curtis, Dave Rapson, Sean Slammon, Tracy Caudle, Trevor Kite, Bill Martin our leader, and myself.
Given the size of the group we split it into two and I was duly deputised as Second Officer White by Bill. The route plan was discussed, and Bill seemed to have an enthusiastic amount of climbing towards Box Hill. Not a problem as I took Barry Gregory, Mick Curtis and Sean Slammon and the rest went with Bill! I love being a leader, because if you don’t fancy a hill you don’t have to go up it! 😉
I followed in Bill’s general direction out towards Epsom Downs. Early on Barry took a tumble at slow speed due to a Jack Russell off the leash and trying to bite him. Alas an all-too-often often encounter with inconsiderate dog owner! We made our way out via Epsom Downs across the summit being careful to avoid ‘The Gallops’ area where the F1 horses get tuned up and raced. Then after dropping to lower Walton Downs it was a short, steep, sandy climb up Sheep Walk to get to Headley Court. We stopped part way up the climb to let horse riders pass. We’d been kindly warned by other cyclists passing opposite that there were some skittish horses ahead, and with the temperature already at 21c at 10:30hrs the stop was welcome!
We rattled our way south on Stane Street aiming towards Denbies, or the bottom of Box Hill. Now I must admit there are sections of Stane Street I haven’t ridden for at least ten years and so this was a little bit of a ‘Route knowledge’ refresher. “Where’s our local man Steve Edgar when you need him I thought?” as I stopped to study the mobile on both map and compass apps to make sure our direction was true. Our route was OK and heading in the right direction, but after dropping down a very dusty narrow gully descent I decided that with my memory well and truly refreshed that I probably would not use that particular part of the trail again, especially if it was wet!
We exited the trail around the area of the pub in Mickleham, bottom of Box Hill, a road that I remarked that I hadn’t ridden along for at least twenty years! Soon we were down on the cycle path next to the busy A24, minutes after that we were at Denbies and Bill’s group as I expected had not arrived given the extra climbing on the route he was using.
We were half way through elevenses when Bill’s group arrived about twenty minutes after us. Much tea, coffee and fuel was consumed before the question of, ‘Who’s riding back which way and with whom?’ was asked. I opted for the ‘Little Boys Route’ back along the flat A24 cycle track (In my defence my lower back has been messing around this last week!) and the ‘Big Hitters’ went out the back of Denbies and climbed up to the top of a hill and that was the last we saw of them! To find out where they went on their route you’ll have to see Bill’s report. I also have to report a defector at the elevenses stop, Sean Slammon joined the ‘Big Hitter’s’ team for the journey back!
Barry Gregory, Mick Curtis and myself headed in the direction of Leatherhead. Our route was pleasant and for the most part flattish. We arrived in Leatherhead to find the main road by the rear entrance to the sorting office closed for gas repairs, a bonus for us as we had the road to ourselves. Barry parted company with us heading towards Fetcham and Stoke D’Abernon which is the logical route if you happen to live out Hersham way. So once again ‘The Dynamic Duo’ headed back through the residential areas of north Leatherhead towards Ashtead Common and Horton Park. Alas this time I was actually parked in Horton Country Park and so the ‘duo’ became a ‘solo’ as Mick disappeared into the distance heading for the Hogsmill River route back through Nonsuch Park for home and I propped the bike up against the car and turned off Strava.