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The inaugural Cyclist Off-Road Event

Cyclist magazine
12 Sep 2018

Sunday saw our first ever off-road event on the tracks and tarmac of Surrey, here are the best bits

It all began with a warm cup of coffee. It was 8.30am in Priory School’s car park in Dorking, and 35 of us had gathered for a roll through some of Surrey’s most undiscovered gravel tracks.

Once everyone had a pick-me-up of Cyclist coffee and signed on, we organised ourselves into three groups of different speeds, all led by HotChillee’s ride captains. We set off north of Dorking toward Ranmore common along our first stretch of gravel.

Off the beaten track

It was a lively start, on a sharp climb up to a gravel road that runs along Ranmore common, enjoying the iconic views across the Surrey Hills to the south. Once we levelled out we were quickly on a descent into tight gravel switchbacks which had all of us tuning our bike handling skills. 

From there, we were led across farmland to the next section, running east to west across the countryside. It was track that fed through woods and along fields on hard packed mud and sand, and it became clear that our healthy 30kmh averages were going to be a tall order today. 

We carried on to the bottom of White Down, famed for its eye-watering steepness, and along to Abinger Common. Here we took the road to Holmbury St Mary where we dove off the road and onto a fire road that climbed to the top of Holmbury hill. We had more steep and rocky fire road down to peaslake, which offered a mix of thrills and technical challenges.

On we went, up to the top of Pitch Hill on a track that threw a double hairpin gravel climb at us. A stretch of tarmac took us to Shere, where we climbed up Combe Bottom, from which we found our way along forest roads all the way back to Ranmore common for a quick descent along Denbies Vinyard back to our start point.

There the riders, Cyclist magazine team and HotChillee ride captains kicked back for another Cyclist coffee, along with beer from the Dorking Brewery and pizzas courtesy of the Calzone Kitchen. 

Come join us next time! Many thanks to HotChillee for the support. 

Photography by David Wren.

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