Saturday 24th December, off road, Walton on the Hill

Ten riders met at Nonsuch this morning: Dave Rapson, Tracy Caudle, Trevor Kite, Mick Curtis, Dave Elliott, Freddie Vaval, Dave Clarke, Sean Slammon, myself, and Bill Martin leading.

Weather dry, overcast and with a temperature hovering around 9°C, but very muddy. Bill’s route took us out of Nonsuch Park to Priest Hill and through the back doubles of Epsom before we joined a path called  ‘Rifle Butts’ which slowly, but surely, climbs to the top of the Downs and comes out by the ‘Derby Arms’ pub opposite the racecourse stadium.

Sean got his chain well and truly wedged between the cassette and hub spokes atop of Epsom Downs. Whilst Freddie, myself and others helped to extricate the recalcitrant chain, a moody middle aged horse rider with her young charge (6 or 7 years old) who was barely able to control his miniature steed, proceeded to moan at us for being on the bridleway. She stated, ‘This is for horses only!’ We wished her a happy Christmas and corrected her politely on the meaning of ‘Bridleway.’ Then it was up and down over the Downs and a slippery, muddy slog ascent to the cafe at Walton on the Hill.

On arrival we set up tables outside as the inside of the establishment was packed out.

Various hot liquids and healthy options were consumed and we entertained ourselves by watching Trevor change a slow puncture. After a round of applause when he’d finished the repair it was time to head back.

Bill’s route back took us down a narrow technical descent and then a climb up the back of the racecourse Downs to Tattenham Corner. A short stretch of road led us into Nork Park for the final descent to Cheam.

Good ride Lady and Gentlemen, fifteen miles for me. A slightly shorter ride for me because of not parking at Horton. The car park closing time was unknown for Christmas Eve and I didn’t want to be cycling all the way back home to Berkshire if it closed !

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