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Date: 3rd May 2010
Riders: Richard, Davebus, Leeroy, Charlie, Nick and Julian
The Three Hills: Pitch Hill, Holmbury Hill and Leith Hill
Weather: 9°C

After last weeks glorious weather it's back to reality with a wet Bank Holiday weekend. But the trails are holding up and draining well and we take on the three hills challenge as we experience sun, clouds. rain and a bitingly cold strong northerly wind all day.

There's lots of singing this week, well mainly by me as I have the 'darts song' on my mind having edited my most recent video to that tune just yesterday.

Photos first, ride report to follow...

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Date: 16th May 2010
Riders: Richard, Davebus, Terry, Rob and Charlie
The Four Hills: Ranmore Common, Leith Hill, Pitch Hill and Holmbury Hill
Weather: 13.5°C

A new route today comprising hills, thrills and spills and miles and miles of smiles. A 30 miler for me, Rob and Charlie and 50 miles covered on an MTB for Davebus and Terry who had ridden from LOMAC to meet Charlie and me at Ranmore Common car park.

We set off at ten o'clock on the dot and were aiming for The Rookery where we had agreed to meet Rob. But first the little matter of Abba Zabba and the testing trail complex on Ranmore Common. It was all going well at first as the trails are bone dry and rock hard and I cleaned Abba Zabba and Blind Terror 1 then a testing off camber section of a sneaky little new trail known as Reformation before heading down Numbskull. I have an extra 5mm of suspension today having swapped out the fork lowers on my Fox Vanilla Forx from the old set that I was riding complete with brake bosses for the set that has been sitting untended in my garage for about 12 months.

Now I've cleaned this a couple of times before but for some reason I braked at the top and that led to me losing balance and falling left off the bike. I saved myself but the bike tumbled down the steep descent with luckily no damage done to the bike and a only few minor scratches for me.

Off down to Westcott where me met Rob and started the climb up The Rookery. The authorities have seen fit to smooth down this previously rutted, loose, gnarly climb (and descent) although I'm sure it will soon cut up again once the winter weather gets onto it.

We were just nearing the top when a small group of riders raced down past us and a few quick shouts identified them as Gary, Steve and Carl, our South African section out on a separate ride.

Up to the second section of Summer Lightning and we took our new favourite 'Downhill' option then climbed back up to the cricket pitch and cut across to the saddle. Across the bottom of the tower and straight into Chocolate Jesus and the Quarry descent and still we hadn't seen even a slight hint of moisture.

Down the super fast High Ashes Farm descent and up the zig zag to the Holmbury Hill Cricket pitch where a ladies rounders match was taking place today. Up to the car park and then down via Reservoir Dogs which is starting to recover following the recent logging activity and down Barry Knows Best which is dry, grippy and fast before pausing for a cup of splosh at Peaslake Stores.

I bumped into Marco and mates from Addiscombe Cycling Club and chatted for a few minutes before my 'star' radar went off and I spotted Roo of this 'ere forum and currently lens man for MBR out riding with Alan McInnally and Mike of MBR. I'm a fame tart and so headed over for a quick chat and to introduce myself before we headed up Pitch Hill towards Winterfold, the bombholes, a nice twisting descent and then the long, wet but enjoyable fireroad past Lockhurst Hatch farm and onto the Ponds Lane track towards Shere Heath where I used to ride many years ago with Markonthedowns and his crew.

Over the railway line and into Gomshall before crossing the A25 and up Hackhurst lane, through Broomy Downs and the Abinger roughs and my hamstrings were starting to feel tight as Rob headed for home.

Circa 25 miles into the ride and with the final climb up Ranmore still to come, blimey, this is a big one today. Thankfully Dave decided not to go for the pillbox climb straight up White Down and chose Pilgrim's Way instead. It's a gradual climb that traverses the side of Ranmore but you still gain a of of height.

Up onto Ranmore Common where we said goodbye to Terry and Dave who still had ten miles to go and Charlie and I headed back to the car park and the cars haven't looked so welcome in a long time. It was that tough today that we even did some warming down stretches in the car park and I never do that normally.

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all photos and content copyright of Richard Sear 1999 to 2015

Date: 22nd May 2010
Riders: Richard, Tim, Nick, and Julian
Leith Hill
Weather: 24°C

After last week's four hills effort we stick to one hill this time for a ride that sees me dust off the Specialized SX trail once again (I don't want to drag that over too many hills).

We visit the usual highlights of Leith Hill on the warmest day of the year so far and with the trails dry and dusty the riding is superb.

Nick has been exploring and we follow a couple of his trail suggestions that see us riding 'Caspers' and another lovely long, narrow trail that takes us from the top of Leith Hill to almost down opposite Deliverance II.

Nick has managed to catch his face on an extruding branch from a fallen tree at the entrance to the short Personal Hygiene trail and has a nasty looking graze just to the right of his eye; a lucky escape.

After recovering for a few minutes he is good to go again although his confidence has taken a bit of a battering and he is cautious for the next haf an hour or so until he gets back inot the groove.

We run into a guy riding a unicycle and follow him down Slidewinder. It's difficult enough to get down there on two wheels so I have no idea how he manages to get almost two-thirds of the way down before having to jump off.

Roll on the summer.

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all photos and content copyright of Richard Sear 1999 to 2015

Date: 25th May 2010
Halfords Tour Series, Canary Wharf

The first race of the Halfords Tour Series took place this evening and as it was taking place within 100 metres of my office it seemed rude not to attend.

A good event although a little late running it was an opportunity to take lots of pictures and get up close to the action. I also shot some video and it is available here: Tour Series, Canary Wharf: a cycling movie

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all photos and content copyright of Richard Sear 1999 to 2015

Date: 30th May 2010
Riders: Richard, Tim, Nick, Jason, Davebus, Terry, Rob, Felix, Lee, Beany and Barny
Holmbury Hill & Pitch Hill
Weather: 18 °C

A busy cycling related week for me this week.

Tuesday evening saw me at the Tour Series pro-road race event in Canary Wharf followed by Wednesday evening spent at the slightly seedy Prince Charles Cinema in Leicester Square in the company of Felix and Uncle Riotous to watch the London Premiere of 'Follow Me', the latest release from Anthill Films.

And a reet good film it is too, watched again in the comfort of my own home after acquiring a copy later on in the week (thanks Leeroy).

So back to the weekly commute and having left my bike at work overnight on Wednesday I returned on Thursday to find two completely flat tyres. A bit annoying as I haven't had a flat in circa 2,000 commuting kilometres this year. I fixed them and topped up on new tubes on the way home.

Friday morning I stroll out to the garage and there's another flat on the rear tyre. I fix it (again) and head off to work. Friday evening ride home and within a mile of leaving the office there's a crack like a rifle shot and the rear is flat again. I fix it (for the third time this week) and head for home but as I reach the bottom of Clapham High Street it goes flat again.

I give up and push up the High Street to Evans where I buy another tube and having examined the worn sidewalls on the rear tyre (Spesh Armadillo) I buy a new tyre too (Continental Ultra Gator skin). After fitting tube and new tyre on the pavement outside the shop (they won't let you change it inside due to 'elf n safety') I start pedalling again.

I reach Morden and am just starting the climb up to The George when unbelievably the rear goes flat again. Fuck that for a game of soldiers, I start walking whilst getting the phone out and calling my long-suffering wife who comes and picks me up just outside North Cheam. I have checked and fixed it again over the weekend but wondering what will happen come Tuesday morning when I'm back on the commute.

But back to the MTB'ing and after an inauspicious start this turned into a great ride with good weather, great mates and plenty of new trails (thanks Nick).

We were expecting a new rider (Barny) to join us but come the allotted time there was no sign of him and we had a big group riding so we set off. Five minutes into the ride and the phone rings. It's Nick (who I'd forgotten said he 'may' see us in the car-park). He's just turned up and found Barny and so we wait ten minutes for them to catch up.

The group is getting itchy feet now as Rob and Colin are on limited time having young families waiting at home so we push the pace around the first few trails.

Another pause at the end of Surfer Rosa waiting for Davebus who is riding as tail-end Charlie. He passes on the news that Barny has felt the pace is too fast so has turned round and gone home. Wow, does that make me feel bad. We don't usually drop people but fair play to Barny for making the decision at probably the right time before he got out of his depth or the wrong side of Holmbury Hill.

A quick bit of fresh singletrack on Holmbury before we fly down Barry Knows Best with Jason riding the new section for the first time (he's only been riding closer to home so far this year). A quick loop back up the bridleway and we ride the new section again before heading over to Pitch Hill.

Nick has been exploring and shows us some of the more extreme stuff that has been put out of action by the ranger. You know, stuff that requires a chainsaw to take down. Around the back of Winterfold and we ride some of the quieter trails before eventually leading us back onto some freshly dug singletrack apparently known as Supernova.

The trails are fast and firm following yesterday's light rain and after saying goodbye to the three riders who had parked up at Peaslake we take a break for refreshments before heading back over Holmbury for the final run of Yoghurt Pots followed by Telegraph Road where we hopefully didn't upset the large group from All Biked Up who were standing around the chicane/gully section pondering it as me n Lee launched ourselves into it at full pelt.

Telegraph Road is a well known and overused trail but there is really not much better as a final run of the day as it dumps you out directly into the car-park.

There's certainly a couple of new trails that we have stored in the collective memory banks and will be looking to ride again in the near future.

Check out the latest videos we have uploaded

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all photos and content copyright of Richard Sear 1999 to 2015

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all photos and content copyright of Richard Sear 1999 to 2015


click to view click to view click to view Steve Neill Big Trev Orange Dave dialled bikes pewter headtube badge Dave and Dave outside LOMAC Dave on Summer Lightning A grinning Trevor Steve (again) Davebus and Neill on Stane Street Jason next to Denbie's vineyard Trevor struggles up the climb Dave followed by Jason on Stane Street Banstead Downs singletrack It was getting dark by the time I got back Richard (that's me!) Surrey Hills logo at the top of Coombe hill Gary dicing with the cars through New Malden Stag party Gary's Giant SCR 2008 model  A cheerful looking Gary part way round Richmond Park speed limits for cyclists! Kingston Gate, Richmond Park view off the side of Headley Heath Bianchi K-Vid carbon forks self-portrait whilst climbing between second and third hairpin on the Zig Zag Road, Box Hill Dave and Mat, the folly, Reigate Hill urban riding, Richard in Ashtead High Street a bit underexposed but a nice shot of the view from the North Downs Way Richard dropping in on Colley Hill No, not the Mediterranean, this is outside LOMAC, Ashtead High Street Richard showing off for the camera Mat and Richard, Stane Street Richard, Headley Heath Mat on Headley Heath Gary with our 'rabbit' in the distance Gary in the dusk Richard Gary chasing the yellow 'rabbit' in the distance Cas Cas Richard 'self-portrait'