The best day of the week so far, which translates as the first day since Sunday that it’s not raining or blowing a gale, saw RoadMole and myself meeting at The Anchor around 8am.
Our plan was to head up to Ranmore and find some dry-ish trails to keep the legs ticking over and help work off the effects of recent festivities. We headed up Bookham High Street to Polesden Lacey, avoiding the Admirals Track as we anticipated the familiar puddles would be to hub depth and we didn’t fancy starting the ride with wet feet. The Yew Tree descent and climb was reasonably dry, though a few twitches on the descent were an early indication of how the chalkier trails were likely to be running.
We were expecting Badger Run & Collarbone to be a real mud-fest, and they didn’t disappoint.
On Badger Run, the off-camber induced a heavy slide on the slippery chalk, and as the rear tyre lost grip I vainly attempted to keep the bike upright which only succeeded in my performing a graceful pirouette before stranding myself ‘turtle like’ on my back.
Tony rushed to assist, after first stopping to take the obligatory photo.
Pic 2 is evidence of my futile attempt to remain in control.
Through sheer idleness, I’m still running Hutchinson Toro ‘all-condition’ tyres on my Santa Cruz, and after my comedy fall, Tony’s comments were that they were probably SoCal ‘all-condition’ which didn’t include thick ‘n slimy Surrey winter gloop.
Collarbone was in similar condition, and was also blocked by several trees. The gales had really ripped through this section of woodland.
At the top of Collarbone, we headed down Whitedown.
Bizarrely, Strava shows me as recording a PR down here, which is most likely due to me rarely descending on this trail, with Abba Zabba my preferred route off the ridge.
From here we headed back along the valley bottom and a climb up High Med.
ATTW3/Red, White & Rose was next.
There’s a big tree down at the beginning, but once around this the trail is now clear. This is because we stopped to remove several branches, and my trusty Swiss Army knife was brought into play to saw through a couple of larger branches still attached to fallen trees.
From here we headed around to the ruined chapel in Westhumble, and a fine coffee and flapjack at Pilgrim Cycles, next to Westhumble station.
Suitably refreshed, I took Tony up to The Snail (aka Tactical Nuclear Penguin) which received the RoadMole seal of approval, before we headed back down to Mickleham and a flooding River Mole.
More photo evidence (main picture) shows my hesitant mince through the flooding river, where I expected to hit a hidden pothole at any moment. Having successfully negotiated this, we climbed up the road to Norbury as the start of the bridleway is just to my left in the main picture, and we still wanted to keep our feet dry.
There are still two trees down on Infestation, with one requiring a ‘backwards limbo’ to get body and bike under the branches.
In summary, a fine ride in fine weather, with the mud adding to the fun; though I would appreciate it if the rain can hold off now for a month or two. 29km in just over two hours of riding, with 550m climbed.