Eight of us headed out along the road towards Ravenshead before taking the Robin Hood Way bridleway round the back of the village. At the end of the bridleway Jamie, Medium Steve, Shakey and I stopped as we had a bit of a lead over the others. Robbo emerged and rode past us to carry on. The Fun Hoover was powered up and vacuuming commenced! ;)

We headed through Newstead and on via the usual trails through Thieves Wood towards Cauldwell Dam. There is some quality singletrack in these woods and I was enjoying another evening of fast riding.

It has been a while since I've done this ride and when we got to Cauldwell Wood Robbo took a new trail to show us that the locals have been busy. There have always been jumps and down hill trails in the wood but recently quite a few new ones have been added including a North Shore drop built on a fallen tree. We didn't ride it because unsurprisingly no-one fancied it on an XC bike in the dark!

Instead we headed for the usual test of "The Dam". This is a steep, loose, sandy roll with very little run out. It has caused some comedy crashes over the years e.g. this classic. Recently it has changed a fair bit and is now probably easier than it has ever been? The MX bikes have obviously been going up it and have worn away the tricky step over a root near the bottom. The erosion they have caused has also made loads more sand including a chute to guide you round a turn at the bottom. Riding it was a bit like surfing: I carved through the deep loose sand and arrived at the bottom smiling.

The ride back was marred only by one trail in Harlow Wood where some idiot has placed loads of branches over the path. That's bad enough but it would appear he has also added a load of dog crap to the trail too. There was too much for it just to be the usual selfish dog walkers! I think most of us collected some on the way through.

The final sandy climb up to Ricket Lane was very hard due to the dry sand. Not many cleaned it. I was gutted as I dabbed only once and it was on the very last section of loose sand :(