Muddymoles mountain biking in the Surrey Hills and Mole Valley

Big Al’s Peaslake mystery tour

Posted by Tony | December 3, 2012 | 10 comments so far

Waking up and finding it was probably the coldest morning of the year was a good start. Why? Well because it promised crisp trails, a beautiful morning and getting out on my MTB for a change!

moles in the frost

It certainly was cold. My car said -5.5degrees and by the amount of scraping I had to do I fully beleived that. Driving over to Peaslake it promised a beautiful clear morning. Al was already at the car park, as was D-dub, soon to be joined by JonH (after a “bike off the top of the car” incident that he was lucky to get away with little damage to his Yeti), Elliot, Andrew and after a short wait (keeping it real riding over) JohnR.

As usual there was a mix of bikes. Single speeds (Big Al), bigger rides (JonH and D-dub) and me joining Elliot in the 29er group with my Specialised Camber Carbon (review shortly). Elliot on a new Giant Trance?

The usual fettling and chat was abruptly curtailed as soon as John arrived. It was just too cold to be standing around, as those shivering in shorts could have confirmed. There was no shame in tights under my baggies for me!

We were straight of into the trails and immediately started climbing to get warmed up. It was soon obvious that the trails were in the best condition they had been for ages. In most places the surface was like grippy concrete,with only a few areas where the frost hadn’t got fully under the trees providing a broken surface, but even there it wasn’t gloopy. The only places where it wasn’t idea was where the deep pools of mud hadn’t frozen and this lead to slippy roots as the water was spread along the trails. Even then as soon as you left the short pools of mud, the trails were so solid that tyres cleared quickly and with a couple of revolutions you were rolling fast again.

By the power of Strava I can tell you that our route was Roller coaster, Curly Wurly, Eric, Timmy Free Ride, Annoyance, The Gulley, Double drop, Three bomb holes, Dog S*&t alley, Secret Santa (very festive), Eldorado, Rockstar, Arroyo, Carpet Land, Vauxhall Nova, One Man and his dog, Yoghurt pots, Telegraph road, I should coco, BKB. No me neither!

Still getting used to big wheels I was enjoying myself, even with a small tree hugging incident. Although Andrews Reverb switch – knee interface was worse.

The trails were a blur of one after another – thanks Al! A great flow. Seemingly soon it was a quick teastop in the Peaslake Sunshine, where Ray turned up with another one of his “ladies”. Then it was off up Rad lane for another quick blast, finishing off with BKB. A full action 16miles that seemed much harder.

Obviously we weren’t the only ones thinking that it had been a great morning to get out. On our return the Walking Bottom car park was packed. The only “issue” of the day was trying to wash the bike down with a frozen hose.

Filed under Rides in December 2012


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  1. Muddy John says:

    It was a fantastic morning to be out in Peaslake and Al’s tour was a perfect mix of trails. I made a tactical mistake at the Peaslake shop of going for cheese and potato pasty instead of something sweet – and was paying for it with fading blood sugar levels on the last few runs, and up Whitedown on the way home.

  2. LordOnOne says:

    It was well worth getting out in the cold for one of the first properly frosty rides of the winter. Solid trails easily made it the best ride I’ve had for months. Standout amateurish moments include taking a lie-down via slipping sideways on “eric”, and having a root shoot me and my California-suited rear tyre sideways so hard it caused an unclipping!

    The new frame did what I wanted, in delivering a similar feel to the outgoing one, just slightly lighter and with a far more refined feeling rear suspension. Credit must also go to the new Type 2 derailleur for not requiring a chain guide, making wheel/chain changing easier and producing a much quieter ride. To my surprise, just after taking a seat in the bus shelter, another Trance 29er rolled by.

  3. Andrew AKAK says:

    Tights, trousers or leg warmers – if I could decide which to buy then I wouldn’t be so cold!

    Lots of fun on Al’s Pitch loop, if you could spot the roots fast enough then the trail surface was ideal.

    • Matt says:

      Andrew, I tend to use knee pads on the basis they protect my knees and keep me warm at the same time! With shorts and knee pads the effect is similar to a 3/4 bib or short and plenty for most riding.

      If it’s really cold then I get the tights out and wear baggies over the top.

      There’s an added bonus if you have unlined tights and wear bibs underneath as you can peel the tights off at the end of the ride and all the mud goes with it – useful if you are driving. Or trying to get in the house ASAP without dragging mud in with you.

  4. Big al says:

    Always happy to lead the way with what Peaslake has to offer , it was a shame we didn’t have a few more riders out . You all missed an excellent mornings ride with the best conditions I can remember for a long time .

  5. Dandy says:

    That sounded like an absolutely fantastic ride, I can well believe Lord On-One’s “the best ride I’ve had for months” comment (assuming we’re still talking about mtb’ing !)

    I’m with you, Matt. Shorts and knee pads for almost all conditions, though maybe for -5.5 C I would wear the full-length Seal Skinz socks or my 661 Veggie shin pads to keep the calves warm, too.

  6. KevS says:

    Image 2 of 3 concerns me!
    We need to have a serious talk with Big Al about his choice of colours as it is a slippery slope he is travelling down.

    He might soon be seen as a follower of (Gok Mole) fashion! Eeeeek!

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