MTBBerkhamsted ride report - Berkhamsted, July 22
A slightly diminished group this week, aka the hardcore, comprising me, Dave, Jeremy and Paul. Having tanked it down solidly for the last few days Ashridge was likely to be a quagmire so we headed to the other side, first along the canal and then up Sugar Lane where a surprise encounter with an oncoming scrambler almost ended in tears.
Paul had to go and rescue a damsel (OK, tenant) in distress at his barn so we called by there before rattling down to The Black Horse in time to catch the morris dancers in the last of the evening sun. The people outside the pub were charmed at the site of this merry band of strangely dressed men observing their strange rituals out in the English countryside. But the morris men didn't like us hogging the limelight so we moved on, to go and look at some ostriches instead. Chesham Vale is nothing if not exotic!
The rubbish weather left the trails more like mid-winter than the height of summer so the going was claggy, Dave putting so much power down on the way up from Bellingdon he literally snapped his chain in two. Sheer power in them legs it would seem.
Diving down nettle alley we got to the bottom and realised we didn't have Paul with us any more. Options were discussed, "shall we just leave him?" included, but honour prevailed and we went back up nettle alley to get him. But he wasn't there. So we went back down nettle alley, cursing his sorry Irish ass with every sting only to get a phone call saying he was already well on his way to The Riser. Trust that homing instinct… Not wishing to be too far behind plans of an off-road return route were abandoned and all available speed was made on the road back to Berko.
Sadly Jeremy's extreme downhill tour of the alleyways of Berkhamsted proved more treacherous than we thought, Dave coming a cropper and running into a fence. In his defence he didn't have any lights. Down at the pub we found Tom - paperwork you say? - and Paul, Jeremy finally managing to spend the remainders of the last few weeks' whips we'd inexplicably denied him from using to fund Sunday's tea and cake stops.
'Til the next one!