With two successful road rides under our belt, it was about time Total Women’s Cycling took to the hills.
As editor of Total Women’s Cycling, it may be a surprise to some of you, that I’m not the world’s most proficient mountain biker (read useless, but I’m working on it). Thankfully Adele Mitchell, our MTBing beauty editor took the reins and lured her friend Jackie, who owns Beyond Mountain Bikes shop in Cranleigh to lead the ride, while I trailed along at the back.
Gayle Wells, one of the riders who came along yesterday is here to share the day with you.
The dark side?
Sunday marked the first Total Women’s Cycling mountain bike ride, deep in the beautiful Surrey Hills. Jackie and Adele, both locals, kindly led – their knowledge of the trails was fantastic and made it workable for all levels of riders. I’d conned my better half Jay into pretending he was a girl for the day as moral support. Once at Peaslake, in a car park swamped with men, I decided to approach any female near a bike to check if they were part of the ride, thank god no one thought I was a stalker!
Twenty one keen ladies, and some token men, set off in perfect conditions (yes, the sun actually shone) up the first long climb of the day, an introduction to the height gain needed to make the most of Surrey Hills. Skirting round Pitch Hill up to Holmbury, it was a chance to have a good natter, always good to take your mind off the puffing climbing up the side of Holmbury Hill.
The first main single track was ‘Barry Knows Best’ a popular trail among riders which involves high speed roots and berms. It never fails to leave a smile on my face and looking at the others, the feeling was mutual. We pushed on to climb up to Leith Hill tower, where Jackie decided a bit of fun was needed, plunging down into a trail that snaked round woodland, a challenge to some of the girls. The trail descended down via small roll downs at speed with some cheeky roots to catch us out, the challenge was to stay upright.
Summer Lightening came up next, it provided a challenge to most with some rude roots spitting riders off their bikes, but after a quick dust down all was well. At this point, my Bamboo bike was coming in to its own, helping me gain in confidence as the trail continued barrelling down to Westcott at speed on twisty ribbon tracks.
A little climbing to get back to Peaslake wouldn’t be right without riding Barry’s again. We all rolled down, even the less-experienced girls gave it a go and seemed to enjoy it. All the climbing and 20 miles of riding were completely worth it, for the world famous cheese straws from Peaslake Stores at the end.
It was great to ride with other ladies and why the dark side? I think we have brought some roadies to our MTB dark side.
Thanks again to Jackie and Adele for organising the ride, to Kirsty for the forum, to Paul for the wonderful photos and to all the ladies for turning up in the sunshine.