Muddymoles mountain biking in the Surrey Hills and Mole Valley

Ride report: Sunday 15 April – What mud?

Posted by DaveC | April 15, 2012 | 21 comments so far

Retro Mark

Yes, we had another ride characterised by the mud….or rather the lack of it. Where is it all go in 4 days? The image is from 2003, continuing the theme for retro photos where we forgot to take any on the ride owing to having too much fun!

12 Moles assembled and were ready to go by the appointed time. I know there was a 13th Mole as I got word at the Tower where he left about 10 seconds before we arrived! He knows who he is!

So Karl had suggested we head over to Leith Hill and despite my reservations about the amount of mud we headed over that way. We climbed up Yew Trees and kept the pace brisk with a reasonable balanced group average speed was good. The first descent appeared in the form of Landrover where I took to the middle of the pack. About half way down the smell of brakes pads reminded me that I ought to have told the recovering DaveW that there was a new obstacle since his last run down there. Still, no new breakages eh!

Grip levels were high and the mud, apart from the puddles on Admirals track, had all but vanished. The Moles were in a playful mood and we didn’t hang around as punctures were abscent in the first three quarters of the ride.

On towards the Rookery climb the grind began but it wasn’t until the final 20m that Keith on his C456 SS shot past, unable to maintain my diesel cadence. Actually I was spinning quite nicely as I’d just changed my granny ring to a 26, giving me 26/36 on the front for a much more harmonious choice of ratios. At the top of Rookery we head up Wolverns Lane to our normal stop and then took the right hand turn for the second consecutive ride on this route.

This takes us down a gnarly little trail which was dispatched quickly despite some of JonH’s questionable lines (he blamed the bloke in front!). I was having fun. Then came a shorter grind than normal before heading right again and taking in a little bit of single track before heading up again as BigAl showed us some new trail. The new trail for me was quite techy in terms of off camber and roots and we mssed the Deliverance 2 climb that I later found out we were supposed to take but instead almost ended up in someones back garden where BigAl introduced a new obstacle by nudging a rope and wood swing as he went past. This required a correctly timed passing run so I was finally glad of all those hours I played Manic Miner on the Spectrum to ensure I missed it!

Back up we headed and this time took a route that ended up running down towards the Stephan Langton and then back up the other side. This does leave rather a long climb up but worth it! We took in more singletrack on the way back to the tower and were soon there where we met Toby from the Dorking Cocks. The wind was rather cutting but the edge taken off with a hot drink and two pieces of cake. MarkW arrived with family  and we briefly chatted before deciding to move on and try and get warm. Karl took us down the more gnarly face of Personal Hygiene and the did some trail pioneering owing to a faulty sense of direction before we climbed back up to Chicken Wings (other trail names are available) and I had a successful clearance following JonH, which made a nice change.

I decided against Deliverance but took a rather nervous Kev down the left and side goat track to meet the other at the bottom. A high speed Waggledance followed before making the most of the superior grip on Summer Lightning. Wolverns Lane proved to be quite busy but DaveW was having blown seal issues on his Revs so after a uninterrupted run down the Rookery, an allen key and an adjustable wrench soom hammered it back into place.

Low Med was the chosen route back up to Ranmore and a fast run down Dearly Beloved was interrupted by all manner of people enjoying the sunny day. Karl flatted but chose to fix things himself as time was now getting on and the rest of us headed for home.

Rob got a puncture in the final half mile but managed to nurse it home to the car park. We all agreed it was an outstanding ride which came with unexpected levels of grip, especially if you had ridden on Wednesday night!

Filed under Rides in April 2012


About the author

Dave's been riding seriously since about 1997 and is one of the founding Molefathers — along with Matt and Mark — that came up with the idea of a MTB website for Mole Valley riders.

He's had several different bikes but it's now mainly 29ers in Dave's stable, apart from an Orange 5.

Current Bikes: Orange 5, Salsa Spearfish and Kona Big Unit

There are 21 comments on ‘Ride report: Sunday 15 April – What mud?’

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  1. Big al says:

    Great Conditions this morning . I hope some of route choices didn’t scare some of the older Moles to much !!!

  2. JR says:

    Looks like a great ride – who were the 12 who made it out: Dave C, Keith, Big Al, Karl, Dave W, Jon H, Kev S . . . . ?.

  3. PaulM says:

    LOL, sounds like a great ride with some interesting detours, no wonder I missed you guys…Twice oops!

    Nice to be the first to the cake stop though 🙂 or maybe JR had been and gone as I only managed about 100yds with him on Wolvens before he left me in a cloud of dust! Definitely a man on a mission this morning!

  4. Andrew akak says:

    A great ride – I also cleared chicken wings for the first time (I don’t count where I stopped for a rest!). SInce I was lured into watching countryfile i’m a bit doubtful of conditions next week though…

  5. KevS says:

    Cracking ride, good company, plenty of banter, lots of climbing, plenty of “Oh Sh#t” moments (Thanks Big Al) trails in good nick, Strava segments being attacked with complete regard for own personal safety, 2 cakes at the tower, sorted.

    BTW … Karl might have a little tale to tell ref his puncture and inflation devices/tubes? I’m saying nothing but it was a good job I stayed behind with him to help fix his flat! 🙂

  6. Karl says:

    Superb ride and great company.. Thanks Al for some fun routes..
    Nice surprise drop or two.. following Al through Moonbase he then disappeared downwards without even slowing down for Deliverance, and since I was right behind him, it came as a complete shock..

    O/D’d on adrenaline this ride and managed to break my little finger on Lightning 1st bit.. it was all going so well!

  7. Markymark says:

    Great ride! Cheers BigAl for blending in some big grin-factor sections through WindyWillows.

    After spinning on Thursday afternoon/evening in winter slop i was amazed at the conditions. Apart from a few puddles which were easily avoided down Admirals it was super grippy.

    Dave – that was me in front of you down Chicken Wings, clearing it for the the first time also, whoohoo.

    Karl – how the hell did you manage to bust a nose-mining digit in those DarthVader gloves brah?!

    JonH clocked 41kms as we rolled back into Bocketts.

  8. DaveW says:

    Cracking ride chaps. Sorry to hear about your pinky Karl – are you sure you didn’t break it getting back on the bike at the speed of light and getting away before I caught up with you?! Nice to be back on the mtb after 4 weeks of convalescence whilst healing my broken rib (if you can call century rides to the coast and back with Keith convalescence…). I was amazed as always by how much more out of breath I get on an mtb than on tarmac. Mole of the month nomination for Kev for hanging back and helping Karl, when the rest of us pi55ed off.

  9. Big al says:

    Karl , I’m sure your problem with your fingers breaking is due to angle of your bars !!!

  10. Karl says:

    Thanks for v.kind comments all..

    Okay then Al.. Straight bars and strapped finger it is.. I’m doing the Devon Dirt next weekend.. looks like it will be very dirty.

    Yeah Kevs a diamond geez.

    MarkyMark.. I need bloody boxing gloves. Might improve my steering too..

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