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2nd January 2014
Riders: Richard, Stevo & Jasper
Holmbury Hill & Pitch Hill
Weather: 9°C

The Festive 500 turned out to be a disappointment for me with only one ride and 102 km covered out of the expected 500 so I was keen to start the new year off with a bang.

After weeks and weeks of rain a clear, dry day promised at least the illusion of fun as Stevo, me and Jasper met up at an unusually deserted Holmbury YHA car-park. I suppose that is one of the benefits of mid-week riding.

But the drive over to Holmbury showed that at least two horseman of the apocalypse had visited over the last few days as there were fallen trees visible along all the main A-roads from Epsom to Westcott with signs of rapid chainsaw action by the local council contractors as well as lakes of rainwater in every dip and depression on the roads.

We set off up Holmbury Hill and can already see that the trails are saturated with much standing water and deep mud. But I'm dressed appropriately with a change of clothes in the car. Steve also has a change of clothes and Jasper is just glad to be out on the trails and we don't let this spoil our fun.

I'm grateful to be wearing my Fauxleys which keep the muddy spray out of my eyes as I slither and slide down various trails on Holmbury Hill before heading down the 'I Should Coco' trail to Peaslake and then up Church Climb onto Pitch Hill.

Conditions are pretty similar here and we ride Proper Bo before heading back up to the crossroads and down Curly Wurly. This trail is holding up pretty well and we stop for some posed-photo action before heading down to the bridleway exit.

There's a steep section which I negotiate well but as I exit onto the bridleway my front wheel drops into a depression which is like quicksand and as my wheel comes to an immediate halt I'm ejected over the bars and onto the bridleway.

I land heavily feeling winded and can immediately sense that my ribs are heavily bruised and probably cracked. Steve shows concern by immediately grabbing the camera to take a shot or two of me lying on the deck as I catch my breath.

But I've ridden with cracked ribs many times including a week last year in Destination X where I cracked my ribs on the first day followed by a week on the road bike climbing three alpine climbs of 2,000 metres and so I grit my teeth and carry on.

We head over to Evian which is wet and slippery and then climb up a bridleway that is more like a river before heading down Supernova towards Peaslake Stores. But there are more surprises in store and the second half of Supernova has at least six very large trees down on it and Terry's Corner has totally disappeared.

A break at the stores for foodage and drink and we head back to start the clim back up to the trig point. But hold on a minute, my front wheel has a monster sized wobble on it. We climb past the BKB exit and at the next flat section pull over to check it. I feel like Laurent as I have about 4 spokes loose, two of them with big bends in them that must have happened when I crashed earlier.

Stevo has a nice little Crank Bros toolset which includes a spoke key and I tighten the loose spokes and although there's still a wobble on the rim it's enough to get me home. I really must buy some new wheels as I've had this front wheel since October 2002 and it still has v-brake rims on it.

We carry on to the top finishing with the Yoghurt Pots and Telegraph Road and back to a still empty car park.

As I'm writing this I'm feeling like an old man as I'm bent over double and moaning each time I move my chest but this was still a great first ride of the year.

Happy New Year to all our readers. Here's to many more rides in '14.

 

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all photos and content copyright of Richard Sear 1999 to 2015

 


I'm still struggling with cracked ribs so there's been no riding this week except for a few gentle commutes. So instead we have a guest article for you from our good friends at MTB-Spain.

Hello Diary of a Mountain biker readers!

I am sure many of you have previously seen the excellent video's and articles concerning MTB Spain, already placed here by our beloved editor Richard Sear. He has now allowed me to put a few words together informing his readers of what MTB Spain has been up to over the last few months.

Firstly we have run 2 mountain bike leadership courses, these are aimed at anyone wanting to guide or lead groups of people on mountain bikes in an off road capacity. We managed to put 21 riders in total through the 2 courses and succeeded in gaining 19 passes. We also managed to sneak in a 3 day tour of Snowdonia for 6 clients. This is a fully guided package holiday in our own country, taking in all best features of Snowdonia National Park.

Our first race skills course was a huge success, with a further 2 planned for summer 2014. We had 3 clients attend this course and they left knocking minutes, not seconds, off their best recorded times.

We have also re­launched our new website why not take a look and let us know what you think? You can also join us on Facebook.

So hopefully you are now asking "What's coming up for the new year?" LOADS! On the back of a triumphant 2013 season, we head back to Spain in March 2014 with only 2 weeks left to fill. As you know several DOM riders have already ridden in Spain with us. Feel free to contact them for their take on the trails and venue, or contact Richard himself who actually came out with us on our very first inaugural trip. We are sure the feedback will be positive.....

Following our March 2014 packages we intend to head back out in September/October for 6 further weeks. In between we have some guided Snowdonia packages going on, along with outdoor first aid courses and our nationally recognised MIAS mountain bike leaders courses. Also, as previously stated, we will be running more Race Skills courses.

All that's left now is for you to check out the website, join us on Facebook and contact us for a leadership, skills or guided package in the UK or Spain.

Remember guys, it's all about the downs!

See you on the trails.

MTB Spain

Martyn

 

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all photos and content copyright of Richard Sear 1999 to 2015

 


18th January 2014
Riders: Richard & Louise
Nonsuch Park
Weather: 7°C

I've been having trouble sleeping after cracking a couple of ribs on the 2nd January but I've been keeping those legs turning over on my cycle commute to work. I've even extended my route home on a couple of days this week from 28km (18 miles) to 40km (25 miles).

Today I thought I would take the opportunity of an otherwise cycle free weekend to get out with the lovely Mrs Ess for a gentle spin around Nonsuch Park on our moutain bikes. we only covered 10 km but it was nice just to ride slowly, be back on the Prince Albert and share my cycling activities with my wife.

 

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all photos and content copyright of Richard Sear 1999 to 2015

 


25th January 2014
Riders: Richard, Louise & Ben
Nonsuch Park
Weather: 9°C

My ribs have finally stopped killing me and it's now just a dull pain. I've also stopped taking the co-codamol but I'm still not quite up to serious mountain biking. So I take another short trip around Nonsuch and Cheam park and environs with the wife and youngest son.

 

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all photos and content copyright of Richard Sear 1999 to 2015

 


 

Ride Archive

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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'