Muddymoles mountain biking in the Surrey Hills and Mole Valley

Ride report: Sunday 1 November – Moles in the Mist

Posted by Matt | November 2, 2015 | 17 comments so far

Mole Mayhem on Wolverns Lane
Well now here’s a thing. An actual ride report, from an actual ride I was actually on today.

It seems at face value that not much Mole riding has been gong on recently but actually, our habits remain much as they’ve always been. Every Sunday, we go for a ride.

When I say we I mean of course anyone who can drag themselves out of bed and get to Bocketts Farm for 8:30 in the morning. Several times these past months I’ve contemplated it, and several times the force of the duvet has been strong with this one. Not today.

I wasn’t the only one to make an effort. Andrew came up from the country to see us with his wife and daughter, putting me to shame in my level of recent commitment. Also on the ride today were Tony, DaveC, Nick, Mark, Lloyd, DaveW, Elliott, Jem and Karl, making 11 in all. Sadly, the Grand Mole remains out of action while JohnR and D’Andy are feeling the force of employer expectation.

Today was a misty day across a large part of the country and in our corner of Surrey that was pretty much the same. Our only hope was to rise above it – literally – by heading to higher ground and that’s exactly what we did. Leith Hill to be exact.

We started off as many a ride will from Bookham, heading up the long climb to Ranmore. I haven’t ridden with these guys for ages, but I have been riding so didn’t have too much trouble settling back in. It felt just like normal.

As we winched higher we found the mist clearing in places but generally it remained stubbornly fixed in place. With no breeze and very quiet climatic conditions there was little to disturb it. Even on Ranmore the murk continued as we headed to Wire in the Blood.

I find riding at this time of year the most challenging of all. After months of firm ground things suddenly get wet and slippery, which is bad enough but then it gets covered in leaves which hide the trail quite effectively. These also start to get wet, leaving a tricky surface to ride.

With the famous Ranmore clay once more a feature then, I took it easy along WitB and picked a careful line down LandRover, finding the Five to be a stable companion today. We crossed the railway and headed to the Rookery to tackle the climb up to Wolverns Lane.

Sunlight on Wolverns Lane

It really is months since I’ve been this way. I’m not sure I’ve ever ridden it so slowly – not by choice – without having to dab a stabilising toe down, so was quite happy to maintain my momentum to the top. Soon also we continued up Wolverns Lane to take the MarkyMark line of least mud resistance toward the top of Summer Lightning. Then is was on toward the cricket ground, and then up towards the tower.

Having come within sight of the Tower we let DaveW take us on a sample of typical Leith Hill riding, heading down the hill to Windy WIllows via some lovely flowing trails. It was a pleasure to be on the Five which continues to be a faithful servant despite its’ distinctly retro spec sheet these days. It’s all very well to keep current with decent forks and a 1×10 drivetrain but it gives away the benefits of larger, wider wheels and slacker geometry that is de regeur in the modern world.
Above the clouds at Leith HillOnce we’d regained the Leith summit it was time for coffee and cake. As we neared the top we finally broke through mist and came out into a lovely, warm, golden Autumn day. It took a few moments to realise that we were looking down of a sea of cloud to the south and the north, with the Weald blanketed by a smooth layer of white.

After our break we started out return journey via the ‘new’ trail down from the Tower (does it have a name), and then on the longer man made trails down to the cricket ground. The flow was good, the effort levels quite high with plenty of enjoyment to be had. Without interrupting things too much we soon continued on to Waggledance and by the time we’d reached the end of that we needed a breather, kindly provided by DaveC who played his joker with a disintegrating front mudguard.

Moles with no mist

Having got our breath back, it was time for Summer Lightning. I had a blast, getting close to my personal best times on each of the sections despite struggling to remember exactly where it went! More fun was had further on as we hammered down Wolverns Lane to the top of the Rookery.

By the time we’d despatched that and started on the climb back up Ranmore there were plenty of tired legs in evidence and we were well and truly back in the murk. Our final choice was how to get back down to Polesdon and on this occasion we settled for Dearly Beloved, sweeping down through a blanket of golden beech leaves.

My final mileage was 25 miles which brought the total for my first five miles-a-day week to 115 miles. I’m not expecting to maintain that level I can promise you!

Filed under Rides in November 2015


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 17 comments on ‘Ride report: Sunday 1 November – Moles in the Mist’

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  1. MuddyDave says:

    In A scene not unfamiliar to the Morris 1100 branch beating scene from Clockwise I beat the Mudguard into submission when I got home. The plastic clip has basically work and lost it’s ability to clip and I filed the point off a wood screw, took a drill to the mudguard and screwed the f**ker in place! Now come unclipped!

    Great ride with stunning views at the top of Leith Hill.

  2. Jemster says:

    Great day to be out, especially when we broke through the fog. Stunning! Nice to have a decent sized group out and chat with familiar faces that havw not been seen for a while. Not feeling too shabby today either.

  3. tony says:

    A thoroughly enjoyable ride with a good size group. As Matt said it was something of a shock to come back (3 weeks without riding 🙁 ) to find the trails slippy and covered in leaves. Although not as muddy as I was expecting it to be. The legs also seemed OK which was a nice surprise.

    Jem – you were in fine form and the Leith Hill Tower felt like an island away from the rest of the southest.
    Matt I know what you mean about the Rookery climb – I was running out of gear since I was going too slowly!

    Hopefully I’ll be back out on a Sunday morning before 2016!

  4. JR says:

    “Dandy feeling the force of employer expectations”? I am lost for words.

    Otherwise looks like a great crew for a Sunday.

  5. JR says:

    And those leaves look soooo photogenic.

  6. Kev says:

    I really think D’Dub needs to go and get measured by a proper bike fitting expert tho’!

  7. MuddyDave says:

    Incidentally, copyright violation! 6th January 2013 I used “Mole in the Mist” for the ride report title!

  8. Karl says:

    It was a marvelous ride. Even the air had a full sweet scent on Leith, and I was quite heady with the opiate mix of endorphins, adrenaline, a fully engaged mind and body, the sunshine, and a thoroughly positive group mood.

    Had a downer on Monday in reality land tho.

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