Muddymoles mountain biking in the Surrey Hills and Mole Valley

Ride report: Hindhead Blackdown loop, with dry trails for once

Posted by Tony | September 8, 2013 | 21 comments so far

It was a select group of Moles that met up just outside Hindhead to ride MarkyMarks Black(hawk)Down loop. Or in other words those Moles who could be bothered to get up to meet at 8am in Hindhead. The “elite” / “early riser” group consisted of JohnR, Ddub and MarkyMark (our guide for todays adventures), TonyD, Big Al, KevS, Dandy (wearing possibly the most tasteless top yet and that’s saying something!), Lloyd and myself. With minimal faffage we set off on time!

Moles ready to roll

Ready to Go - Hindhead

Out today were some interesting looking bikes. TonyD on a Liteville (German brand) 650b that could be adapted to run 130mm or 160mm rear travel. BigAl on a Transition 29er with what looked like a good amount of travel. Hopefully we’ll get some reviews of these machines from Al and Tony in the near future.

Rolling out of the carpark we were almost immediately into great woody singletrack that wound down the hill to Whitmore vale. It’s one of my favourite starts to a ride. Where we gave the riverside trails a miss since MarkyMark reckoned that one of us would end up in the river!

The pace was good from the off and the rain of the previous day had just kept the top of the trails moist. KevS reckoned that the trails were perfect and I didn’t disagree. The only negative recurring theme was the sudden changes of direction let to lots of group emergency breaking. I was surprised to end the ride without another rider (KevS and Al – that’s you!) ramming anyone else.

Just as we came out of the whitmore vale a sharp shower rolled in and we stopped for a quick coffee and food fill up in a roadside shop while the shower passed over. While MarkyMark considered the top shelf mags. “Tractor” p*rn. Well we were out in the countryside now!

We were off again into the woods, in a confusing (even for Markymark at times) series of trails, passing past an estate agents wet dream of houses. All of a sudden we popped out at the A3 and across more scrubby common to a little play area. A previous time we rode this particular part of the ride Karl had a bike vs bike accident here. In fact many of the noticeable route way points on this route are now where Karl has previously crashed.

Jonesy gets air

The ride gradually climbs from this point to Marley woods before dropping down to the A286 on a fantastic swoopy trail that dipped and curved round through the woods. Previously this trail and been tricky in the mud but today it was a blast.

Across the A286 there was generally more climbing until we got to castle copse. The climb here has been unrideable on previous occasions. Today the first half was a perched on the front of the saddle grind, then up the rooty second half of the climb everyone had a go but no-one quite managed it. D’Andy spinning like a F1 engine, almost made it but was defeated by the roots. I clouted a root near the top which stopped me dead and I have a blue little toe!

Once at the viewpoint near the top it was time for a break and photoshoot. The sun was out, giving a great view of the southdowns, all the way to the Shoreham gap and the sea beyond.

On Black Down

Most of us broke out energy gels or other sports foods. Although we were impressed with Lloyd bringing along a full coronation chicken sandwich.

Black Down

Back along the ridge we traversed little tracks. Sometimes with less precision, as I caught my bar end and I got shot out the side of the bike down the hill!

Then it was time for the air merchants to practice on a great set of little jumps. With photographic evidence of D’Andy flying.

Dandy gets air

Al gets air

Next it was down a tricky descent (“where Karl stacked it and tried to give himself a new as*^ole”). Following D’Andy and DDub down the trail it was full on with big rain ruts, branches to catch you out and rocks all over. I was surprised to catch our down hill master D’Andy.

As we crossed over the road at the bottom the clouds darkened and the rain came lashing in. We stopped briefly but decided to press on for the last climbs of the day as legs were beginning to complain (D’Andy “Please let it end”).

As we got back up to the woods by the Devils punchbowl the rain cleared and we had a pleasant spin back to the car park.

This route is usually damn tough but even the recent rain and the rain on the day didn’t significantly impact the trails. The conditions remained almost perfect. The rain didn’t dampen our spirits either and the whole ride was a blast.

Filed under Rides in September 2013


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  1. Andrew AKAK says:

    Monster energy eh? that must be from Dyfi. And a nutcracker frame 🙂 nice that yours has a seat tube brace Tony as it makes it look a bit safer!

  2. Matt says:

    those Moles who could be bothered to get up to meet at 8am in Hindhead

    Oooh that’s a bit harsh Tony! I would have loved to come out to play but it’s my youngest’s birthday weekend. The fact I had a hangover (rumoured) had nothing to do with it… 😉

    BTW Tony, are those rather Intrepid looking shorts I see there? D’Andy had the cheek to question my dress sense the other day but having seen his top I see I can let my case rest now!! Actually, to be fair, I think everybody was questioning my dress sense!

    Looks a great ride chaps, that long descent where Karl went for some body piercing is pretty tricky, lots of leaves and concealed, windfallen branches that can be quite sizeable.

    I have actually cleared that Black Down climb and had KOM for a long time, mainly because there’s a gate that someone kindly opened for me on the only occasion I tried it!

    Next time I hope…

  3. Tony says:

    Well the “couldn’t be bothered to get up” wasn’t a sly dig at you (although maybe you did feel guilty?) but at a certain “little big mouth” who said they might join us and got lured away with a sleep in.

    My shorts are Race Face numbers but given the Moles raving about Intrepid shorts, I’m going to order some.

    Just cleaning that climb should get a special away on Strava! I did think that I was going to make it but just clipped a log sticking out. Normally it’s a killer in the wet.

  4. Big al says:

    Not sure I’d want to try somebody’s used shorts ? And yes Kev there could be sizing issues ?
    It was an enjoyable XC ride riden at a good pace due to the dry conditions .
    Cheers Mark for leading the way .

    • Matt says:

      They are freshly laundered!! And they don’t have a chamois thankfully, wouldn’t want you guys to suffer mine – bring your own!

      I meant being medium sized shorts the downhill ones will fit almost any of us although I have managed to squeeze into a small pair of Missions.

      God I sound like a walking advert. Not meaning to, just happen to have some familiarity with the shorts at the moment!

  5. Karl says:

    Nice ride report Tony,
    I had so many mentions, I thought I was there!
    Actually, subconsciously, I think there was fear involved in my decision to not go as after much birthday alchol in the preceding days, I may well have met another Nemesis.
    As it was, had a very nice ride in lovely conditions over to Leith with Paul M. A much later wake up time helped, and we did the Bomb-holes a lot, and much of the fun stuff round the back of Leith too. Just wish either of us knew where the hell we were going.

    Can I just stand up for D’Andy and say that I very much like his top! I sympathise too, with the “Please let it end” comment.. Mine would have been much sooner following you bunch of bloomin Olympians.

  6. Dandy says:

    “down hill master D’Andy” – I think Strava times might suggest Big Al would take issue with that comment, and our ‘Strava battles’ on Golden Nugget suggest there’s not much between you and I !

    Oh yeah, I quite like that top; and at least it didn’t clash horribly with my shorts – miaow

    Nice ride, Marky; a fun, but tough, day out.

  7. Markymark says:

    Good write-up Tone! Tearing up the Strava top ten slots i see!! Really enjoyed the loop again. Would like to try it in reverse next time.

    The newly named ‘Karl’s Gully’ downhill section saw a few changing their pants before we’d even rolled into it, mainly because of the horror story/warning about Karl carving himself a second arsehole in the top inside of his leg courtesy of a brake lever.

  8. Bazza says:

    its sounded great guys, very envious, pity I could not get out.
    Will try to catch up soon out on the trails

  9. Jonesy says:

    i laughed out loud at all the refences to karl’s crashes.

    that’s a fine reputation you’ve built up, karlos!

    lloyd’s coronation chicken sandwich looks nice

  10. Jonesy says:

    One day, of hope to emulate both your style and frequency of crashing. I think I’m vying with Dandy for 2nd place

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