Muddymoles mountain biking in the Surrey Hills and Mole Valley

Ride Report: 23 November

Posted by Lee | November 23, 2008 | 10 comments so far

With the sight of snow falling as I peered through the blinds this morning I knew it heralded a testing ride; for body as well as soul. Although to some degree, I took comfort that the night’s harsh frost would have left crunchy and crisp trails for us to plunder. However as I left the house, with snow now making way for hard sleety rain, I did stop and wonder whether I might be better off back in bed.

As I inched along Kennel Lane with the freezing rain giving me the sort of wake up call only the SAS can surely enjoy, I followed tyre tracks in the freshly laid snow giving me hope that another Mole was up for some punishment. As Bocketts Farm came into view, with only a couple of minutes to spare, the shape of a lone Dave silhouetted against the threatening sky suggested I wasn’t the only one to harbour desires for a weather-induced lie in. Soon though we were joined by Tony, Jez and Jem, but Mr I’ll-be-out-whatever-the-weather Colin, was conspicuously absent.

After a few weeks of avoiding the worst of the Ranmore mud, we decided that a change is as good as a (skiing) holiday and headed over to Polesden Lacey, down the Yew Trees descent and up the track to Ranmore Road. It didn’t take too long to realise that any hope for hard, crunchy trails was just a pipe dream as mud, standing water and some snow patches was very much the order of the day. That section of the ride passed without incident and gave us all a chance to warm up after a chilly start. Dave seemed to make short work of the climb despite the switch down to a 19-tooth ring out back on his singlespeed.

From the road, we passed the Scout site and squelched along the North Downs Way, veering off down Land Rover for a white knuckle descent where speed was your friend and foe in equal measure. A brief stop to wipe the tears from our eyes, we saw a familiar figure emerge on the horizon. It was Colin who, as it turned out, must of miscalculated his arrival time at Bocketts and left without us. A few jibes later, we set off up the trackway back towards Ranmore Church and Denbies House where we descended back to the A24, but not before a combination of wet roots, leaves and frozen fingers saw a few of us struggle with the tight right-hander above the vineyard.

We said farewell to Jem at the underpass and the rest of us dug deep into our souls and found some resolve for the climb up the flint track to Boxhill cafe where the promise of hot drinks and flapjacks gravitated us to the top. With the cafe shrowded in a blanket of fog (I half expected Steve McQueen to appear) and the rain beating down it wasn’t a surprise to see we’d be dining alone. With body temperatures falling outside of a thermal imaging camera’s range, we saddled up and headed for the descent down Little Switzerland, which left facial features brittle to the touch. With the homing beacon ringing loud in our ears and rain running down our necks, we cut through Mickelham and back along the A24 towards hot showers and sugary goodness.

Roughly 17 miles under tyre was a pretty good effort in testing conditions and being home well before midday will have no doubt earned a few brownie points too.

Filed under Rides in November 2008


About the author

As Baz Luhrmann said in his Sunscreen song: look after your knees, you'll miss them when they're gone. Well, until they do finally give up the will to live and screech to a halt like a knackered bottom bracket, I'm just going to keep riding because that's what I love.

Whilst I'm more full time parent and part-time biker these days, I still make the best of the time family life affords me, even if the fitness yo-yos massively.

I ride a Cotic Soul, which is currently single-speeded, and also a 2010 Trek EX-8 for drier times.

We are a pretty lucky bunch to live in such close proximity to the Surrey Hills, which gives us an embarrassing amount of trail choice. Some of my all time local favourites have sadly now been 'decommissioned', but with the likes of BKB, Summer Lightening and China Pig, there's still plenty to smile about whichever way you turn.

There are 10 comments on ‘Ride Report: 23 November’

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  1. Colin says:

    Must get myself a watch ! There was some cussin as I set off, thinking you had all opted for the duvet option. I should trust you more-woops.

    Good ride fellas even though I did feel like a contestant on the UK version of Endurance

  2. Matt says:

    My hat is taken off to you guys. I was out late Friday and unexpectedly on Saturday too so was feeling the strain.

    In my defence, I’d already made the decision not to ride on Saturday evening. Need a couple of early nights to catch up…

  3. Dave says:

    Going back to the Kenda tyres improved the grip but they are taller and that Conti’s so I was suffering a double whammy of a tooth less on the rear and longer circumference on the rubber. All in all too hard for me going up Box Hill although I suspect that the cold had a part to play. Strangely satisfying ride though!

  4. Colin says:

    Longer circumference – I’ve not used that one yet Dave!

    In all seriousness, can I just point out to anyone who may not be aware, Dave isn’t a singlespeed wuss like me (32:18).

    He’s got the penny farthing 29″ wheels so 32:19 isn’t too shabby.

    Although I had to walk up Box Hill every now and then, it was nice to be able to appreciate the scenery for a change.

  5. Lee says:

    I’m sure Dave will correct me if I’m wrong, but i thought he had a 33 tooth ring up front, making it more or less like 32:18 overall.

    Either way, it’s a bloody good effort, especially yesterday. I know on Wednesday, all Matt and I could do in parts was sit back and admire the tempo you guys spun out.

  6. Dave says:

    33:19 but on a 29″ wheel (with taller tyres) which is basically about 2 teeth different to 26″ wheels from what I recall. Having said that Jez was pushing 32:17 and my pedals were turning slower according to him.

  7. Jem says:

    Well what can I say, I wimped out.

    My orange 5 was feeling slightly nervous by all that steel with there perfectly round tubes and HARD tails

    Two nights on the curry and a good session on the beer, not a wise move.

    Glad to hear you enjoyed Box Hill, I was probably in the shower by the time you came down Little Switzerland.

    Sorry guys, will be out Wednesday, hope to see you then.


  8. Tony says:

    I’m still getting the feeling back in my face after coming down Juniper bottom. Great ride but that was seriously cold!

    Cheers, Tony

  9. Jez says:

    Wow, the rain really came down when I left you and made the lonely way home. Good ride. I think my better half thought me a bit mad when I squelched in the door. As Dave says, strangely satisfying.

    I think my Northwave boots could do with a neoprene collar like Shimano ones to stop them filling up with water though.

  10. Rob says:

    I have the Shimano boots with the extra collar but it does not stop them from filling up with water ! I was out on Holmbury with the DOAMB crew in the pissing rain but still had fun. A top tip for drying out your soggy shoes…..stuff a babies nappy in each shoe – this draws out most of the moisture inside ( a particular problem with so called waterproof shoes as the water has nowhere to escape to ) before finishing them off atop the kitchen radiator !

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