The mini-adventure idea was to pick up the route at the closest point to us, ride the SDW ridges and hop off route at the coast at Shoreham-by-Sea, refuel then jump on the train back home. Now if you have ever ridden chalky trails in the wet you will understand why this route is way more preferable to ride in the dry! Think riding on ice and mud-clogging wheels! I’ve always been drawn to sunrise dawn raids. There is something a little magical about sneaking around unloading in the dark, almost something a little mischievous about it. Spring time in the UK offers the perfect combination of factors for a dawn raid. Sunrise is early enough for others not be around, but not so early that the early alarm deprives you of too much sleep. With the sun-rise-mini-train-adventure idea firmly planted we sat weather watching for a few weeks, waiting for the rain to hold off and trails to dry-out.
As we reach the first summit dawn was breaking. All you could hear was the orchestra of sheep, birds and the odd cockerel down below. There may be a little feeling of sleep and energy deprivation, but sunrises for me are always always worth it. They give a sense of calm and a slight feeling of smugness that most people aren’t even waking up yet and you’ve already pedalled your bike to the top of the ridge.
Rachael Walker's Juliana Maverick CC features a GX Eagle AXS drivetrain with 10-52t Eagle cassette combined with a 32t chainring. A rainbow XX1 Eagle chain tops it off.