Another crappy ride.

For "the sake of the team" at work I've taken a hit; I now only work three days per week. Wife theory of life number one dictates that man free time = DiY jobs around the house. However this contravenes man theory number one that free time is bike time. So today I went out for a spin, as you do. I'd wanted to go over to Ranmore, and this was set in my mind. However as soon as I set off it was obvious that a long ride was out of the question. Why? Because the first time I hit a small bump in the road I realised that I'd a migraine headache right at the top of my skull. It was painful to ride but I was going to be buggered to cancel it and go home; that would infringe man rule number two: don't give in to wifie DiY pressure. So Caterham it was for no other reason than I'd get a ride in without pushing the headache too far.

Now the ride to Caterham is a bit of a none story. You follow route 21, so I'm not going to do a boring pedal stroke by pedal stroke account of my journey. It'd be like describing a ride along a tow path. However, the slowness of the ride added in to the slightly tedious route choice meant looking thinking time. "Are there any new trails worth exploring?" was the result of my deliberations. Now if you've ridden with me or followed this blog you'll know I have a rather eccentric appreciation of what constitutes a trail. It could be nothing more than a sight line through trees, or a theoretical pathway - I'll follow it one day. And indeed that's what I did today. I just followed something that I should not have. Hence I'm not going to say where it was, as that is Blog Rule number one: never say where naughty trails are. I'll just describe it. Muddy. Off camber on a slope. Gradual rise followed by a one-in-three climb. Naturally it was a shitty route choice..... in that direction. I always do emergent pathways in both directions; you never know do you? My one-in-three hike-a-bike turned into a brake application test. If I'd not had the headache it would have been fun. It still was oddly enough. Muddy enough to have perhaps 10% traction, steep enough that even with my arse touching the back tyre application of the front brake meant no weight over the rear at all. And you have to really brake. It's not a straight fall down the slope as you have to dodge trees. At one point my front was sliding and my rear tyre was in the air. Can't wait until it dries out.

The run back was tame too - headache you see. But on the tops for some reason they've cut all the bushes and trees right back - well, gone actually. The trail is completely exposed now and at 400m the wind was a spiteful bastard. OK it was six degrees C when I set off, but in the wind it was nasty.

Caterham run means either Route 21 back, or the more fun Pilgrim's Way track to Merstham. Headache or no headache I was not going to miss out. At the trail head it looked ridiculously muddy. And it proved to be. It was so muddy that brakes were not needed, just plough down. But it is such a long slope that no matter how muddy you pick up a fair bit of speed. At the bottom is a thick hedge with 40m of singletrack running through it. The Pilgrim's Way hits this at an oblique angle with a sharp turn to the right afterwards. It takes a bit of skill to get right at the best of times as you have to scrub speed but retain enough to not look a wuss or spoil the curves. Now I intended to scrub off some speed prior but a walker had stopped to watch me come down the hill so being a twat I left it until the last instant to brake. Or I thought I'd left it - turned out that point was perhaps 5m back up the trail and I was going way to fast. An accident was about to happen. Bizarrely for me it all worked out to my advantage. I was saying "hello" to this person, not really thinking anything other than "poo" when my rear tyre caught on something and spun it off to the right, twisting the bike around into a rear wheel drift - ending perfectly in line with the gap. If my tyre hadn't caught up I'd have ploughed head first into a tree.

Sometimes a ride is shit but something utterly brilliant happens to make it all worth the effort.

Now, best get some power tools out and empty the hoover bag onto the floor ;¬)