South Downs Way – Day 2

One of the best nights sleep I’ve had in a bivvy, the odd time waking which led to long gazes at ALL the stars…bloody love it. We woke to realise quite HOW good the spot was, up real high with a great view of the valley below and then the most amazing orange sky to start the day! Fresh kit on, then time to get the cookers out and get a brew on. Cant get much better than this, watching the sunrise as you drink coffee with ya mates. Living the high life we even had a some porridge to get the day started just right. Then it was time to roll out, straight down a steep old climb, perfect to get the smiles beaming. We soon hit a fair climb (there were plenty of them) and it wasn’t long before we all had food on our minds…then like magic we see a white van on the side of the road, ‘Alan’s coffee’…YES Alan! Breaky sorted, more coffee, a damn good one at that and some locally made cake, that did just fine! A bit of local knowledge chat with Alan then off the side of the hill we went and it wasn’t long before we were heading straight back up. One thing we were quite aware of was that you were either going up or down… always more noticeable when carrying all of your kit, something the four of us don’t do every weekend as we’re more often racing and trying to be as light as possible!

Camp spot…mint.

Next up it was Will’s turn to puncture…another rough descent, mostly likely helped by trying to keep up with Stu’s faaast descending – he was really utilising his new 650b set up with chunky tyres. He didn’t realise until the bottom of the hill as he was away in his own little world, descending like a demon! Puncture fixed and on we went and stomachs were rumbling and water was low, so we nearly went off piste to find food, the next nearest village was Cocking. No that name didn’t make us laugh, we’re not 12…ok I lie, we are AND we may have smirked a tad. Yes, there is NO way the four of us are growing up anytime soon! Then we noticed a farm shop, perfect and lovely food was purchased and we filled our faces…again! Water bottles filled and straight up the next incline and the sun was keeping us company and the day just got better and better, though we did notice that time was flying and plans of making Eastbourne for fish and chips was looking a little optimistic!

Team Orange.

We were cruising along nicely, another quick water stop and then back to it and then straight into puncture number three, me this time. The first puncture for tubes (we thought they would go first if anything) as both Jamie and Will were running tubeless, though, if you ask me, oldskool rules! Time was getting on and we had resigned to the fact that fish and chips weren’t going to happen, the evening was coming for us and after another short, sharp climb we stumbled upon a youth hostel, with a kitchen and pizza on the menu…we were sold! That filled a hole and would get us through for the rest of the day and then as we had now realised, we talk A LOT, so we should put pedal to metal! We were ready to roll and realised that Stu had gone to the toilet, quite a while ago…then noticed I had three missed calls from him (probably not heard because of all our yapping!). Then his face popped around the corner of the now open toilet window, asking to be let out…someone had locked him in – which led to hysterics. Once we’d freed our trapped friend we cracked on, then soon made a small deviation off the side of the hill down THE sketchiest chalky descent to pop and say hi to some friends in the sleepy village of Poynings. Following Jamie down said sketchy descent he got a ‘little loose’ and unclipped one foot, then started aiming for the bank then his other foot unclipped and he somehow stayed upright, which nearly led to me crashing as I was laughing SO hard I couldn’t see for the tears! Safely down, a quick hello to Danni and Toby and then head down, ass up trying to get as close to the end of the trail as possible.

Never growing up.

It was now dark, back to the four headlights showing the way and realising that we may have to camp before we get to the end. This would leave us a monumental task of trying to do it in three days, but I suppose we did have day four in the bag if needed… We kept pushing on, nearly stopping to camp, then noticing we were in field full of cows. Eventually, found a suitable spot, pretty much out of the wind, a tad less flat that the night before, but it would definitely do! Bivvys out, bags out, wooly hats on, time to sleep…

Day 2 coming to an end.

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