Early start to beat the heat, meeting at Steve's at 8.15. Four of us - Wazza, Andy, Steve and me. Around Aynsley Tce and up Crap Happy. Man, what a crowd... Just a constant stream of people, on bikes, walking, running, as far as the eye could see, all the way up. None of us gapping out too much, brief regroup at the top then into Vernon, chasing down the large group a fair ways ahead. I caught the last of them up on the top flat before the road. Across the road and another pause letting the big group and some other guys get ahead before we headed off. Caught up the three oldies, confusing them each time I caught one them thinking that I was one of their buddies... Slowed descent down and I finally passed the last one at the pond. Alas, at our old regroup spot there's the biiig group ahead, clusterfucked on the rocky sequence just round from there. I got going and caught their tail end Charlie not far round and so at the highest point I stopped and let the boys catch up and they kinda paused too, and let the muppets get ahead. Good enough gap, so got moving again, not a bad run around and at the next high spot, just after the cattle grate there was Mark and Marie. They turned back and joined us back to the forest where we had a nice long cool break in the shade.
Down the Thomsons, Steve leading the first half, me the second. Nice wee blasts, then across the Dyers Pass and into Old Dyers (first time since September (and 18 months before that!)). Fast blast down the first section, and I could hear someone on my tail. Finally I buttoned off and it was Mark. Continued our way down all the way, gleaning some shade, and strangely a few spits of rain as we rolled through the lower section before the climb to the road. Across the road and up into the trees, for another shady pause for regroup. Climbing together we topped, across and into the wee singletrack that leads to the skidder site. Another pause here, and then decided to hit up Cool Runnings, which I hadn't been down since 2012(!!!). It's quite unused, by the look of it. Some massive jumps, and in a couple of spots no bypass, but was a fun wee doddle and next into Flow and Bridges blasting out the bottom (again, catching someone), then into the Hidden Valley Link Track. Cleaned the creek, cleaned the first hairpin, then botched the second hairpin, balance rolling me off to the right. Cleaned up the rest of it, gasping for air and stopping in the last shade for a regroup as each team member caught up. Over the fence and another rest, Steve shooting the shit with some guy.
Marie headed on ahead, and Mark led the way to catch her. I nearly bollocksed one of the big corners (the one with that had a slip in it a year or so ago), but otherwise had a good run, passing Marie not long after the stile, then bombing it, chasing Mark all the way. He cleaned the final rut, but I baulked just before it. The others all hung a left avoiding the messy hole, and re all regrouped finally in the shade next to the jump park. Where to have coffee??? No local cafes appealed, so Elevate was decided on, and we (nearly) all ended up having an Erdinger - well earned. Home well before 12.