Ride by Tim and Anne

*****Report by Li zAfter getting thoroughly soaked on our February and March rides we were hoping for better weather in April. We had our doubts, despite the good forecast, when it was raining as we all met up near Ardingly Reservoir. Fortunately the rain was short-lived and coats were soon dispensed with as we headed south through Haywards Heath and Burgess Hill. We had taken over as surrogate ride leaders from Tim and Anne who had done all the hard work, preparing the route, booking the pub, sorting out a tea stop but were unfortunately unable to come along on the day. We had a brief rest near Blackstone when Mark enquired whether there was any ‘rough stuff’ involved. We showed him the short section of Downs Link that was included on the route and that we weren’t sure what it would be like. Wisely (as it turned out) he decided that he and Maggs would take the main road to avoid this bit. The rest of us headed up the Downs Link from Henfield on a good hard surface for a mile or so blissfully unaware of what was in store up ahead. After crossing a bridge over the flooded River Adur we came upon a gate which opened into a very wet and muddy field, unfortunately this was the route. Chris and Helen managed to ride some of it and Dave (on a solo) managed the whole way. The rest of us walked – and got very muddy in the process. Lunch followed soon after at the Hare and Hounds in Cowfold – they didn’t seem to mind, or maybe didn’t see, the muddy feet and we all left the pub replete after good meals. Quite a few of us stripped off leggings after lunch as it felt really warm in the afternoon sunshine – what a delight after the cold and wet winter. Mark and Maggs might have made an excellent decision regarding the off road section but their choice of clothing, thick tights and long sleeved tops proved to be rather warm as the temperature soared to near 20ºC. The route got a bit hillier after lunch with a good climb up to Warninglid and then Handcross. Possibly due to the terrain it felt like further than the 8 miles it was from lunch to the tea and cake stop at High Beeches which was more or less the highest point of the ride. On the last leg back to the car park we managed to break our chain on a really nasty, steep corner near Borde Hill, luckily we did stay upright despite a nasty moment rolling backwards until Ken could pull the brakes on! As we had ridden to the start and needed to return to this point to get back, we sent everyone off without us back to the finish. Hopefully they all made it safely! A lovely ride in near perfect weather, about 40 miles covered.

SS_April - Start at Ardingly - 9:45 for 10:00. About 40 miles. Lunch at The Hare and Hounds, Cowfold and afternoon coffee at High Beeches. Please contact the ride leaders for more details about the exact start location.

Raring to go - Photo by Dave

Fig Roll Stop - Photo by Dave

A dry section of the Downs Link - Photo by Dave

The Downs Link - Photo by Dave

Sun and bare legs! - Photo by Dave

Daffodills - Photo by Dave

Short rest at Warninglid. - Photo by Dave

Dave made it - photo by Liz

Andy minus Tish - photo by Liz

Spring weather - photo by Liz

After lunch - photo by Liz

Muddy aftermath - photo by Liz

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