Saturday 12th February, MTB Polesden Lacey

Five riders met at 09:00hrs by Nonsuch Mansion: Dave Rapson,  Bill Martin, Adam Domaingue, Dave Clarke and myself leading.

The weather was cold, with intermittent sunshine as we weaved our way between hundreds of ‘Park run’ participants and dog owners glued to their mobile phones oblivious to what their pets were doing!

Soon we could relax after exiting the back of Nonsuch Park and concentrate on the route ahead out through Ewell to Horton Country Park. The park was unusually busy with horse riders today. A couple of stops were required to let the riders pass safely before we exited the south side and crossed onto Epsom Common. The paths here had dried out considerably from the frost-damaged porridge I encountered last month.

Our next piece of off road after crossing the busy A24 was into Ashtead Park, where very few people were seen. We crossed the park at speed and soon after were passing through the back streets of Ashtead to where the climbing begins!

The trail ascent up to Stane Street has a large amount of tree roots and can be tricky when wet. We negotiated it without incident and headed down towards the south side of Leatherhead.

More trail climbing ensued and eventually it had us arriving at Polesden Lacey for elevenses.

A quick ‘risk assessment’ was performed, and the vote was to sit inside the cafe, probably something to do with the 14mph icy, cutting wind blowing around the courtyard of this hilltop venue!! Sausage baps, pasties and tea were used to refuel. We are finely tuned athletes after all!

Soon we were back on the trail descending towards Great Bookham and Bookham Common. At this point an unnoticed, unmarked speed hump caused Bill to have an argument with Gravity – he lost(!) and obtained a bruised right elbow and knee in the process. The bike sustained fortunately no major damage and so the ride continued at a slower pace to allow ‘Poor ol Bill’ to recover from his tumble.

We dropped gently into sleepy Fetcham and ‘iggy, wiggied’ our way following a path alongside the railway back into Leatherhead town centre. After this it was more back street doubles until we crossed over the usually busy M25 and the peace and quiet of Ashtead Common.

At Horton Park I parted company with the group and headed to the car park and the warmth of my car. The rest headed back towards Worcester Park and Sutton.

A pleasant ride – hope the bruises aren’t too painful Bill!

Just over thirty miles for me.

Paul White

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