Muddymoles mountain biking in the Surrey Hills and Mole Valley

Ride report: Sunday 11 July – Leith Hill

Posted by Matt | July 12, 2010 | 7 comments so far

Anyone who managed to ride over the weekend in the South East will tell you how hot it was. The description ‘Bar-B-Q weather’ was never more apt, especially on the Saturday when Cathie and the girls went out. By Sunday things had cooled a bit (we even had – gasp! – a few drops of rain at the start) but it was still a hot and humid ride.

Setting out from Bockett’s were D’AndyC (who wasn’t really there), DaveC, Paul901, Tony, Emily, ErickM, JamesS and myself. All I knew was I wanted to avoid the Box Hill area since there they had a Village Day there, so it was off to Leith Hill instead.

We soon found that despite the brief spattering of rain the day was going to be only a little cooler than Saturday’s scorcher and those of us who had ridden either Friday or Saturday could really feel the hot weather taking it’s toll as we climbed up to Yew Trees.

The ride up to Ranmore stretched us out further as Tony and I chatted our way up the climb and by the time we reached the Ranmore Road, Emily had decided we were going too fast for her today! I hate to see riders have to abandon the ride but it was probably a good call by Emily as we had some long miles ahead of us. She wouldn’t be the only rider who suffered on the ride either!

We headed on toward the LandRover descent, approached with a bit of circumspection on account of the short shower but in fact it was fine all the way down. After the chance to catch our breath at the bottom we crossed over toward Westcott and the Rookery climb.

My bike is currently creaking badly on account of the various suspected issues. Pivot bearings are likely to be contributing something but I think the drivetrain needs a few replacement parts (middl ering, chain, cassette and jockey wheels for a start) as the creak is most pronounced under hard pedal loads. This was certainly the case as Tony found me on his tail all the way up the – now easy – Rookery climb. It really wasn’t my knees…

Along Wolverns we headed and then on past Summer Lightning to the bombhole area. If you say it quickly it doesn’t take long but it’s quite a distance, gently but steadily uphill. The bombholes were riding great and we were soon at Deliverance where we had a closer look at some of the less extreme lines down.

Not fancying the climb back up we carried on through the humps and dips near the cricket ground, Dave finding a nice line through which felt ideal. Then he took us further off-piste on a nice bit of singletrack that edged us ever nearer the Tower. At this point D’Andy peeled off as he needed to get home early.

It wasn’t long before we were starting the climb up, passing two attractive female horse riders on the way. Their mounts made easy work of the Tower climb while the rest of us stalled or span out apart from me who managed a very wide (but easier) line up and round. I had to resort to the granny ring though.

After tea and cake at the Tower we were just heading off to Personal Hygiene when a shout of ‘Muddymoles!’ came from Rich who was leading his DoMTB crew to the same spot and then on to Redlands.

After riding Personal Hygiene fine I stalled at the top for some reason for a tow-dab (must have been the audience!) before heading down and on to join the rest of the Moles. We settled on the climb up and back to the cricket ground before another rendezvous with Rich and co. at Deliverance.

Pressing on down the rooty track toward Waggledance it took a fair bit of concentration over the dips and bumps before picking up Waggledance proper. This was riding really nicely for me today and I soon picked up Dave’s wheel tracks. We then rolled straight into Summer Lightning in an effort to keep some flow going.

Again, things felt great, I’m trying to actually go slower and get more of a feel for the trail rather than pinging off turns, roots and rocks. Not easy but I’ll keep practising. Oddly I think you end up going faster, or at least more smoothly.

The second section of Summer Lightning saw us having to wait while three riders rode UP Summer Lightning. This was not cool, dangerous as hell for the riders coming up and for any heading down as you just don’t expect bicycle-shaped obstacles to be there.

In fairness, they really didn’t know it was one-way as there’s no signage at the bottom end but I’m very glad I hadn’t just tried to string the first and second sections together and decided to wait for the others instead. A nasty accident avoided as a flat-out bike down there would have met them head-on.

So I was a little wary as I led the others down (after parting from James) but the trail was riding beautifully and was a real hoot. I carried straight on to the final section and was panting good and hard at the end. It’s a very physical way to go riding.

By now Erick and Paul were starting to show the effects of the combination of hot weather and hard ride. We headed on toward Wolverns as high speed and I was really starting to enjoy myself.

Our plan was to take the rocky gully and brick alley back into the back of Westcott which turned into a fairly technical effort as the trail was heavily overgrown with bracken. Oh, and nettles. Some of us noticed there were nettles along there!

Despite that there was some nice, controlled, noodly riding through there to get down onto the farmland back to Westcott and we were soon back in the village. At this point it was a choice of MacPherson’s Mount or High Mediterranean but I don’t think anyone seriously fancied the MacPherson’s slog. So, just as we were heading off toward the trackway we met a couple of female riders on a Cyclepath 22 inspired ride from Woking to London via Dorking.

After we’d established they were a) confused by the signage, b) not planning to take the train from Dorking and c) map-less we offered to show them the trackway into Dorking so they accompanied us for the next couple of miles or so.

It’s not until you ride up the trackway of High Mediterranean with a couple of hybrid equiped riders that you realise how bumpy it would be for them! I hope they weren’t shaken around too much and that they found their way after we left them!

We were by now, a slowing group, with Paul and Erick quite tired. We had little left to do though as we rolled back down Yew Trees at a comfortable pace. The suffering of the Polesdon climb was soon dispatched and that was pretty much that for the day. I think everyone knew they’d had a ride that’s for sure.

All in all, 24-odd miles on one of my favourite routes.

Filed under Rides in July 2010

Matt

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 7 comments on ‘Ride report: Sunday 11 July – Leith Hill’

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  1. paul901 says:

    As ever, an enjoyable ride and chat. Very dusty out there, plenty of ‘claret’ on the arms (well, not much really) from the brambles and a lot of nettle stings. It was only during the afternoon at home that I bothered to read up about them, hollow tubes are left in our legs with a mix of acid and hystamine and is apparently why we shold treat with a PH balanced dock leave if at hand. I don’t know about you but I don’t quite manage to grab any on the trail. So, next remedy is bicarb of soda made into a paste (tried it, doesn’t work for me) and finally anthi-hystamine. Nope, right out of those. A man-scratch to knock out any of the blighters seemed to work best!

    This was my first ride coping with the technical parts albeit slower than other moles. Actually riding down Landrover for example being a personal first. Since the moles are used to me being off the back my struggling would have looked normal but wasn’t. I bailed out of Personal Hygiene and the last couple of bomb holes before the cricket pitch as examples due to exhaustion.

    In roadie terms I “hit the wall” (thankfully only partially) for the whole ride and at no time on the flat or otherwise did I have usual power. So, the fact I coped as well as I did was a pleasant surprise but I was virtually chair-bound for the rest of the day and slept through all alarms this morning.

    This has got to be the heat as a sporty neighbour had exactly the same sort of day yesterday.

    Those shorts certainly looked “dandy” by the way and were responsible for those of use sporting adaptalite glasses staying on darkest setting. On the way back they were back to their normal lighter shade 😉

  2. DaveW says:

    Sounds like a great ride, albeit tough in the heat. As I was covered in scabs and bruises from last weekend’s off, not to mention the broken rib I decided to stay at home and rest (not really – well the injuries are real, but I didn’t rest – I went mountain biking at Tunnel Hill with Warren and others – there are some great trails around there. We must see if the locals will take a group of us moles around sometime).

  3. Dandy says:

    It was good to get out, having initially thought I’d be absent due to an excess of beer and a lack of sleep. I’d managed to grab half a dozen hours kip, and having only consumed half a dozen tinnies, I felt able to make the trip down to Bookham, though I knew I’d have to bail out early for a lunch date.

    The trails are still in fantastic nick, and if I’m going to suffer from lack of traction, I’d much rather it was from the loose dirt than mud.

    My return from the foot of Leith Hill followed a similar route to you guys, and I ws able to get back to the car in well under the hour. Sadly for me, missing out on the hill climb resulted in me missing out on cake, too. The energy gel prior to the return worked, but was a poor substitute.

    There really are a nice couple of kickers on Wolvens Lane that you can launch off from, it’s such a shame that they’ve flattened the final descent (or initial climb). I know I would have got lost at the back of Westcott if I’d tried the narrow gulley.

    See you on Wednesday, and lunch was excellent btw 😉

  4. John R says:

    Sounds like a great ride. At 0830 I was blissfully asleep after a very late night. But I did get out around lunchtime, driving a Stumpjumper FSR over to Holmbury for a few runs down Yoghurt Pots and BKB. Really enjoyed it, but I suspect I found the Orange more fun.

    High Mediterranean – I can’t figure out which that is???

  5. Matt says:

    You’ve been up there a million times John! It’s just another name for the trackway up to Ranmore, but we turn and go across to the Ranmore car park (more of a gentle, road-free climb).

    High Med because there’s wild orchids apparantly…

  6. Orange Roo says:

    I have read with relish and envy of the accounts of the last few weeks riding that I have missed. I have been grounded by two things:-

    a) My kids that expect me to be around on a Sunday morning – more convincing clearly required;

    b) My “off” a few weeks back which clearly affected satisfactory knee use. I have decided to invest in some leg armour…

    I have been making up for the lack of MTB by riding to work a few times each week (22 miles each way) which is at least keeping my fitness.

    Mind you I now have some new Orange branded Endura shorts, so I need to get back out and test them properly. Hopefully, they will help me stay on my bike!

  7. DaveW says:

    Glad to hear you are still alive Mr Roo. Both a) and b) can be addressed by being harder ;o)

    Good call on the kneepads. I wonder if 661 offer some form of protection against emotional blackmail?

    My kids and my wife know that I will be out on a sunday morning every week, except in exceptional circumstances (when I’ll go on a saturday instead), so I don’t get so much emotional blackmail

    (although my 3 year old sometimes says that she would like to come along on her wooden balance bike!)

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