A short roll down the road from the car park and it was into what is about as nasty a start as you can get round here: the short but relatively steep bridleway up the hill in order to head over to Bulcote. The shock of this had most of us puffing and panting fairly quickly. It also had Medium Steve down when he got his rut choice wrong!

On the first descent I was already glad I had chosen the full susser. A winter's horse traffic combined with the recent dry spell has left all the trails pretty rough. The trails for this ride are not at all technical and have few gates or other natural re-grouping points so we were all expecting a fast ride. The Fun Hoover didn't dissapoint and soon sped off at the front. The trails were so dry that those of us at the back spent a lot of the ride travelling through clouds of dust! England in March! Surely not?

My view for most of the ride!

I never intended these diary entries to be lists of miles and time stats but as I recorded this ride on my phone here's the info for it:

Total distance:   20.14 miles
Total time:  1:56:23
Moving time:  1:48:28
Max speed:  25.75 mph
Average speed:  10.38 mph
Average moving speed:  11.14 mph
Elevation gain:  1,182 ft
Min Elevation:  203 ft
Max Elevation:  519 ft

The natural pecking order of the ride was quickly established and it was a case of just trying to catch up with The Hoover for most of us for most of the ride! Right near the end there was a split when half of us realised it was all down hill to the pub if we went one way while Robbo headed off in a different direction! We only got back to the pub 10 minutes or so before them but obviously copped for the expected abuse when they did arrive.

It was nice to ride different trails for a change but I never enjoy the "field" rides as much as the woods. That was probably the last "completely in the dark" night ride for some time as the clocks go forward this weekend?