Sunday 15th - Hans Sole ride out. Valley of the lost dog eggs.

Solo initially today. Didn't fancy a typical Golf course / Headley / back home route so took a wide drift over to Leatherhead via Epsom Downs. Very, very dry out there so the trails were fast rolling but alas not I. Fancied a plod; come on - I am approaching 50 and have spent the past two days doing youngster stuff, so give me a break already. Anyway, there I was, plodding, heading from the duck pond to Epsom when a cyclist passed me on the right. He did it very silently, no good morning, nothing. Personally I find that a bit odd. Doesn't hurt to say "Hi" now does it? Anyway he was faster than me so I let him go. Well until the muppet had to unclip then clip in again. He made a right pigs ear of it so I passed him. He must have made a pig's ear of the descent as well as I didn't see him again until circumnavigating the race track, when again he passed me silently as I ambled along. Strange fellow. This time, however, for some reason I chased him down and managed to get quite a bit in front. He was just too, well, frankly too much of a prick for me to follow in his wake. He chased me up the hill but I was having none of it; the silent fellows place was behind me, so that's where I kept him.

After that little adventure I dropped down into Leathehead for a cafe stop. Well would have had any been open. Leatherhead was very odd; the High Street was chock full of cars parked at jaunty angles yet there were no people at large. Eventually found noises coming from the playhouse - religious chants. Each to their own.

Leatherhead was boring, as ever really, so I took what the locals call Alsation upwards. Really why they call it this is beyond me - the alsations were not present. Indeed a more apt name would be "Valley of the lost dog eggs" as it was full of dog turds. Aren't dog walkers lovely people? My tyres got covered in the stuff and it stank. Bastards. Anyway it was a pleasant climb, not as hard as some would make it, but OK. I stopped for one rider coming down, expecting a speedy chap. I waited. And waited. As he came into view he must have been 70 by the looks of him with a ginger beard, and was aboard a full suspension PACE. Now I ride a PACE, and they are not common bikes. This guy obviously wanted to be alone, as he just nodded as he went glacially by. You'd think somebody on a rare bike would stop and pass the time of day with a fellow devotee. Ah well. Each to their own.

Took a turn off the main path to do Life on Mars the wrong way. Again Dog Eggs were aplenty. I stopped to wipe them off when a man walks past with two alsations. "Puncture?" I ignored him. "Puncture?" he repeated. "No, dog shit." observed I wittily. "Aye, you'll get a lot of that here." Especially if you've two f'kin massive wolves in tow thought I. I didn't say it as I also noticed that hanging down from the dog collars were two muzzles. You don't fuck about in the woods alone with a guy who has two alsations. "Funny dear, the dogs are normally hungry after their walk, but not today."

Other odd one at Headley [arranged to meet AD here as this is the only place in the Northern Hemisphere he can find solo]. Watched some young guy standing alone by the bikes - head'phones on. He then slowly wheeled his mountain bike throught the car park then rode off. Very odd. Each to their own.

AD did eventually turn up after a slight detour via Bloxwich or Nuneaton, he wasn't sure. By then I'd eaten my cardboard and wallpaper paste cake and drunk my horridly cheap coffee [hate to sound like I have a downer on Ali's cafe - let's be blunt: I do!*] so was kind of ready for the ride back. To be honest by then I was knackered. My arms ached from the kite flying, let alone the wine tasting / evening ride so I just wanted to go home. AD, however, was up for a spin so off we set. Luckily he's still a bit off-form from the accident so I was able to keep up in a fashion. We took the naughty proto path by the M25 - you know the one, where the locals have been building log blockades; that or a family of hydrophobic Beavers have moved in. Full of nettles and hidden gullies, but are we not mountain bikers?

Oh and as the hills are still dry we took the chalk path at speed. AD zoomed off and I tried to catch by following his line through. We were both doing fine, big ring rides when we had to stop for a horse rider walking her nag down the hill. So let's get this straight. Your horse, or you, don't like the hills? So pray tell why take the chalk path down? The most extreme route off the hills. You just like spoiling things for others?

Post ride we were having lunch at his house. However by then I was not having any of it; I just wanted to sit down and dribble. I'd gone past the point of no return and needed time out; even talking was too much. So, good company that it was, I just found a hidden corner and stopped there until lunch [which was pretty good I may add] was served. Even beer didn't wake me. Really zonked out.

Pleasant ride, good lunch, but I should have spent the morning nursing a coffee and broadsheet in a cafe somewhere rather than go out for an extended 4+ hour ride. Writing this I am absolutely pooped. Going for a ride actually spoiled my day.

*Ali's used to be brilliant, really good. When it was a beat up caravan and she worked alone her home cooked food was excellent, and I even took my wife there one Sunday. I'd always stop there on my rides and have an egg banjo. These days it's just cheap junk, especially the coffee, and she rarely stops her conversation with the woman helpers. Unless a walker or Big Bollocks turn up. Perhaps it's just me?