As usual there was a mix of early and late arrivals to the car park of Ye Olde Bridge Inn and plenty of banter and faffing as our motley crew assembled. Baz was one of the last to arrive and had forgotten his battery so Phill lent him his brand new light (that he was about to try himself!) and nine of us rolled out of the car park. It was so warm that some people were back in shorts. Others, like myself, were soon sweating in winter gear.

As we headed across slippery bridge it was obvious that this week was going to be a bit harder work than recently with the ground being very wet. The sandy soils in the Nottinghamshire woods mean that they are always ridable but tonight we'd have to be a bit more choosy over which sections of singletrack we rode. Once we were into the woods proper Shakey took the role of leader and set the usual Thursday night pace i.e. fairly quick. The slippery logs in Calverton woods (see the photo in the last ride blog entry) were particularly treacherous and everyone was struggling with them. Robbo had two goes at clearing them and ended up in a heap to much laughing and heckling :)

Not far into the ride the outer cable housing for Robbo's front derailleur split open plonking him into granny as the inner cable popped out! He wasn't having a good night. A quick bodge with a bit of stick wedged behind the mech put him into middle ring for the rest of the ride (all you need for rides round the woods really).

Quick break for some Jelly Beans

We carried on round the usual trails without any incidents. At one point we stopped for a quick re-group and I was surprised to find we had been riding for an hour and twenty minutes. It didn't seem that long to me. Obviously others were feeling a bit different as a short while later there was a split with Baz, Medium Steve and Smithy heading back to the pub while Shakey lead us into another little loop. Throughout the ride it had been spotting with rain but not enough to bother with a coat. Around this time it got a bit harder; still not worth getting a coat out for but it prompted us to head back too. On the way back Phill had a minor crash - obviously it wouldn't have happened if he had his new light to see the slippery root? ;)

Back at the pub Stu & I cranked up the mobile washers to rinse off our bikes before putting them in our cars. They (and we) weren't actually as bad as I was expecting but the delay in getting into the pub was definitely needed.