For all the well known reasons 2020 was not the best year for us but we made the most of the local trails and explored some areas that we haven`t before.
Jacint wanted to finish the miserable year with a New Year’s Eve challenge. He ran the marathon distance before and he thought that the last day of the year was the right time to try and beat his previous time. So it was decided that he would run and I would cycle with him. I was to take extra water and snacks for the challenge. As there were some uphill sections I left a bit earlier than Jacint and we agreed to meet at Newlands Corner. From our house I cycled along the River Wey and a few kilometres later I joined the North Downs Way long distance trail. I met Jacint briefly just before St Martha`s Hill where I opted for a wider path while he stayed on the North Downs Way.
It was a frosty morning – proper winter weather – but the forest path was really muddy. I had to push the bike uphill and reached Newlands Corner later than I thought I would. Jacint was running with good speed and it was clear that he must have reached and passed Newlands Corner earlier. I continued on a wider track that was easy to ride on.But as I was getting closer to the turning point the mud – ankle deep in places – forced me to push the bike. And I only met Jacint at my 19th km. He had already made it to the turning point (at 21.1km) and now was running back.
The return journey
I decided that it was time to turn back. Jacint was still running with good speed so once again I was left to struggle with the mud. By the time I got back at Newlands Corner, the grass was frost free but the slope was so slippery that my bike slid sideways. I decided that – once again – it was better to push the bike. The wheels collected so much mud that they struggled to turn, so I had to remove some of the mud with a stick.
By the time I got home Jacint showered and started cooking. I completed the 40 km in 4h 20mins which is not a world record time by any means and I was covered in mud from head to toe. Jacint however beat his PB on the challenging trail.