Muddymoles mountain biking in the Surrey Hills and Mole Valley

The only way is Vole

Posted by Matt | January 2, 2014 | 7 comments so far

Happy New Year everyone!

Just before Christmas, Dave posted to our Facebook page that there was a rumour we were thinking of changing our name from the MuddyMoles to the Water Voles in light of the Great Flood of 2013. That might not be a bad idea…

This Christmas has been a frustrating time if you are a mountain biker who wants to go riding without a snorkel. In fact, I’ve just read that Surrey has experienced it’s wettest December in 99 years, with the 210mm of rain falling on us poor souls only marginally eclipsed by December 1914. Of course in comparison to 100 years ago, it could be worse, you could be in a very wet trench in Flanders with plenty more things besides falling on you, so be thankful for that.

The upshot of all that is that the start of 2014 gives us the perfect opportunity to put the mud into Muddymoles, so best learn to love it.

I did manage to get out once on the MTB over the Christmas period, after a disappointing failure at both my 10K a Day initiative and at keeping the weight off. I joined Yvette, Ginny, Jo, Jess (from Singletrack School), Albert and Dave on a ‘lady ride’ to Newlands Corner as a kind of toe in the water (no pun intended) to check my fitness after a virus I picked up mid-December. It didn’t work out well.

Actually, that’s not true, the ride itself was great, taking place in lovely sunny mid-winter weather at a gentle pace with some great company. Despite a lot of fallen trees to clamber over I enjoyed it hugely even if my wife couldn’t help noting my five hour absence (I brought out the rarely-used ‘multiple chain fixing’ excuse, which was in fact true). The trouble was the next day I felt I’d been the unwilling recipient of first prize in a ‘Cage Fighter experience’ competition, so much did every limb in my body ache. Seeing as early December saw me riding every day for 16 days, it was a little surprising to find my ride fitness had disappeared so quickly. I blame the mince pies.

At least I can say I managed 3000 miles last year, although a good chunk were road miles. That needs to be rebalanced a little this time round, and will be helped by revamping the Five. I’m going to see if I can hit 3600 total miles for 2014.

I will admit it would be easy to retreat to the burrow and not emerge again until, say, March but that’s no way to spend your time is it?

So, January. Mud, overflowing rivers, dubiously deep puddles, our natural habitat. Game on.


About the author

Matt is one of the founding Molefathers of the Muddymoles, and is the designer and main administrator of the website.

Having ridden a 2007 Orange Five for many years then a 2016 YT Industries Jeffsy 29er, he now rocks a Bird Aether 9 and a Pace RC-627.

An early On-One Inbred still lurks in the back of the stable as a reminder of how things have moved on. You can even find him on road bikes - currently a 2019 Cannondale Topstone 105 SE, a much-used 2011 Specialized Secteur and very niche belt drive Trek District 1.

If you've ever wondered how we got into mountain biking and how the MuddyMoles started, well wonder no more.

There are 7 comments on ‘The only way is Vole’

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  1. Dandy says:

    With this newly discovered enthusiasm for riding in the mud and rain, I trust you will be turning out on Sunday? 😉

  2. Dandy says:

    With this newly discovered enthusiasm for rain and mud, I trust you will be leading Sunday’s ride and not skulking in the burrow?

  3. Dandy says:

    Ah, so the first comment from my Blackberry did post after all. So fantastic it had to be repeated 🙁

  4. Matt says:

    Have you ever heard the phrase ‘echo chamber’ D’Andy?!

    Since you ask, I hope to be out on Sunday but can’t guarantee I’ll be leading. More like limping I think.

    Will we seeing you and getting the chance to find out what clothing you might have got for Christmas? Just so we can know how the year’s going to go 🙂

  5. Dandy says:

    Can’t vouch for the pattern, but the material will most likely be Goretex and definitely waterproof 🙁

  6. stevend says:

    Matt, I think you should set a separate target for MTB miles, 3000 is a nice round number. 🙂 In my experience 200 for 6 months and 300 for 6 months nails it. 😉 I think my own target will be more modest this year, unless we get a great summer. Happy New Year to all of the Moles.

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