Planned a ride with D on Sat, with the plan being to ride to the Beacon along the South Downs Way, and then down to Stamner for some Singletrack action.
It was D’s first ride in a while, so rather than coming down to Shoreham, we agreed to meet at Clayton Hill, which was less faff and a larger proportion of flat for him.
That left me riding from Shoreham along the SDW to get to Clayton for 10:00.. about ten miles.
I left with an hour and ten minutes to get there, so rode up Mill Hill and then Truleigh Hill to get some fast miles under the belt (faster than the ridiculous slog up hill from the DLT junction with the SDW, anyway).
I cursed myself for mentioning the fact that it was starting to dry up on this stretch.. a week of pretty consistent rain left it an absolute quagmire again.
Got to the Dyke in around 40 mins, with an average still (just) above 10mph. The ride up from Saddlescombe Farm was a nightmare; just no traction to be had. So I pushed up through the glade and then up the rest of the hill until I could find some decent traction for pedalling.
Got to Clayton ten mins late, having pretty much gunned it. We rode to the Beacon from there, and then down the Beacon road to the entrance to the woods that I’ve been using.
It was slow going through the Singletrack, the lack of traction caused by the rain exacerbated by the mud turning both tyres into 3″ wide slicks!
Normally the first section of Singletrack brings me swooping out on to the main fireroad that goes through the middle of the Singletrack, but on this occasion, I managed to get us lost, and the gate you emerge from to look down on to Stamner House to the right, didn’t materialise. Oops.
We did stumble across a big concrete pond though, which I think I’ve seen referenced in forums before.
We found our way back on to the Fire road and rode back up it, finding the Beacon road eventually, then riding back to Clayton over the SDW.
We parted company there, with D reversing his outward journey, and me deciding, due to the quagmire that was the bridleway running alongside Brendan’s Saddlery, to ride down the A23. I then rode up the Brighton Mill Hill, and back home through Hove.
Distance: 34 miles
Avg: 8.7mph (including Strava auto-pauses)
Elevation gain: 2,576ft
Strava Tropies: 47 inc. 16 PBs
A great ride, can’t wait for it to dry out, especially at Stamner!