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Digital Subscriptions > Singletrack > 108 > COME ON DOWN

COME ON DOWN

TOM HUTTON REPORTS FROM A BIG DAY OUT IN THE ROLLING CHALK HILLS THAT SURROUND AVEBURY’S STONE CIRCLES. A GOOD, LONG, FAST RIDE, BEST DONE WHEN DRY OR FROZEN SOLID.

Forget the Velominati: the one real rule in mountain biking is that if the weather’s going to change, it’s always going to do it when you’re at the highest and most exposed section of your whole ride.

You’ll be hot and sweaty from the climb, and as ready as you’re ever going to be for five minutes’ rest, a cereal bar and a good chew of the cud with your riding buddies. Then, just as you finally catch your breath, wipe the sweat from your eyes and start drinking in those hard-earned views, the heavens will open.

Suddenly you’re diving into your pack for your waterproof, rueing your decision to wear short sleeves, and of course shivering from that first wind-blown blast of ice-cold rain. We’ve all experienced it at some stage. And no doubt we all will again.

‘If we go there, we won’t be blinded by your jersey’.

But there’s also a lesser-known subsection of this rule; this one states that when the Sod’s Law index is particularly high, any sudden and unexpected shift in conditions isn’t only going to make you wet and cold – it’s also going to change the character of the descents you’d been looking forward to all day. And in the Wiltshire Downs that means that the steep, twisty, rutted chutes that were going to pay you back for all that climbing, are instantly transformed into slimy, off-camber, half-clay, half-chalk, man-traps that offer less traction than a pair of road slicks on soap-covered eel skin.

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About Singletrack

UK Adventure: A Dead Good Day Out Pete Scullion follows one of the Lake District’s coffin trails, from graveyard to pub. UK Adventure: Down The Sandstone Way Oli Townsend checks out England’s newest long distance trail. International Adventure: Rumble in the Jungle Jason Miles races across Sri Lanka, fuelled by tea, coffee, and a fear of elephants. Trail Hunter: Through the Bogs of Time Tom Fenton revisits the remote, and rather wet, Doethie Valley. Is it as good as he remembers? Singletrack Room 101 Resident Grumpy Mark presides over your submissions to Room 101. Classic Ride: Avebury, Wiltshire Tom Hutton explores the rolling hills and standing stones, while testing Murphy’s First Law of Mountain Biking. Grouptest: Waterproof Shorts We’ve ground our gussets, soaked our seams, and wet our waistbands in search of shorts to keep our derrières dry. Bike Test: Living the Ti-Life Jason Miles stops stroking and staring at three polished 29er lovelies from J Guillem, Kona and Stanton and takes them out to see whether they ride as well as the look. Through the Grinder An array of goods sprinkled with summer rain, ground in summer mud, and very occasionally exposed to actual direct sunlight. Grinder Bike: Scott Scale 710+ Scott’s plus size hardtail put through mile after mile of testing. International Adventure: Murky Morzine Our Rob heads off on his summer holidays, which prove somewhat damp, but nonetheless fun. International Adventure: Blackburn Rangers Chipps goes riding in the wilderness with the varied characters who will be promoting the Blackburn brand this year.
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