North of Bilsthorpe we went through Cutt's Wood and were pleased to find the trails were still bone dry despite a warmer week with rain. We continued through Rufford on trails I haven't ridden for quite some time. The trails in Rufford are only really worth doing at night when no-one is about. Too many walkers clog them at weekends. Apart from a few fallen trees and fallen leaves hiding them they were fast flowy fun.

It's all a blur!

We turned round the back of Amen Corner and headed down a short bit of singletrack next to the Center Parcs entrance. I bet most people don't even know about trails such as that one and many others that we do on rides like this? Next we turned North again towards Edwinstowe on the field bridleway. This was truely "down hill with the wind behind us" so was very easy going. The payback pain had to come though. It started as we turned onto the bridleway alongside the River Maun and then hit us literally full in the face as we picked up National Cycle Route 6 heading south towards Sherwood Pines.

As we finally entered the relief of some shelter in the trees we got split up as Baz and Medium Steve took a left that the rest of us in front missed. Mobile phone calls failed to get us back together so we carried on in two groups. We did a few sections of the Kitchener Trail which was thankfully dry. When they "built" this trail all they did on some sections was stick some signs up on what was once "local knowledge" singletrack. These sections are for the most part now terrible compared to what they used to be. They are either 5 foot wide mud baths when wet or have loads of "cheat" lines. I was reminded of this as we rode what we used to know as "The Santa Trails"; every tight turn seemed to have about three line options around different trees!

As we headed for our exit of the forest via the railway drop and bridleway to Limes cafe we met up with Baz and Medium Steve by sheer luck. Well I suppose it was actually quite probable as we were all heading for the same place? Re-united we headed onwards to Bilsthorpe and the final onslaught into the wind.

The predictable order was established with Robbo, Shakey and Fairy up front. Mad Dog and myself decided a roadie style train was the best approach and waited for Baz and Medium Steve to catch us before upping the pace. We needn't have bothered as they didn't stay with us. Pretty quickly we saw the back light of Fairy who had been dropped by the front two. I shouted at him to get on the back as we passed him but he didn't. To top it all it was now spotting with cold rain. It's at times like these that all those folk sat at home in front of the fools lantern are probably half right when they say "you must be mad to be out cycling in this"?

Mad Dog and I took rapidly changing turns in front and the riding was not nearly as bad as we had been expecting. The roadie tactics worked! We arrived back at the pub car park congratulating each other on a job well done. It might have been a fairly unpleasant night weather wise but as usual everyone had enjoyed a good ride. We weren't at all "mad to be out in it"!