The forecasters weren’t telling fibs this time, we explored a freshly washed Surrey!
Despite the weather, looking at the grins on faces, I’m going to chalk up my first event as a success!
Just under 30 riders set off, despite the foreboding weather forecast to enjoy the Surrey Gravel Explorer ride, an amazing ride of contrasts through areas of outstanding natural beauty crossing chalk heathlands, long swooping stretches of maintained gravel path interspaced with one or two more challenging sections. With a choice of two routes, the 110 km challenge or the 80 km tour, there was something for all riders regardless of experience and fitness.
Having set everyone off at the Velodrome I hot-footed it by train to the feed station at Brockett’s Farm just outside Leatherhead. These guys did a fantastic job, cake, tea n coffee, water bottles and the all-important loo’s.
The uber keen decided to forgo the feed station and cracked on, however, a large number, dominated by riders from Penge CC decided to ride back together, to go an opportunity to miss, so I joined them on the return.
Once though Leatherhead the route travels through Epsom and Ashstead Commons with their beautifully maintained paths, which lead on the Hogs Mill stream, a relatively unknown Greenway back into London.
It was here that those forecast storms, well, stormed with thunder and lightning and gallons of tropically warm water instantly turning roads into gushing rivers.
No point in trying to stay dry, that wasn’t going to happen it was a case of Sod it, let's get wet.
There is something childishly fun about riding in torrential warm rain, the excitement of deep puddles, instant mud and that feeling that someone should be telling you off but they CAN’T…yippee its just fun fun fun!
Sadly, despite enjoying the rain dancing, the enthusiasm for the mass finish wasn’t there and our group of 12 riders had been whittled down to three by the time we reached the velodrome,- ah well, you can’t have everything but it will be a ride I’ll remember for a very long time.