Muddymoles mountain biking in the Surrey Hills and Mole Valley

Ride Report – Sunday 15/08/10 – The D’Andy Dance

Posted by DaveC | August 15, 2010 | 18 comments so far

Andy peforming the Dandy Dance
A mixed bag of a ride with some new riders and some old riders.

No matter how much we say we’re not a club and all riders take their own responsibility, the thought of injuries weighs heavily on me these days. I struggle to stand and watch riders engage with the more difficult drops and sections in case someone injures themselves. Alas, someone did again today.

D’Andy, JohnR, DaveW, Barrie, Colin, Jem, Paul901, Young Phil, (slightly older and definitely Irish) Philip, Simon aka DevonMole, StevenD, Ray and his mate Irfan joined me in the car park by 8:40am. We’d knocked around a few routes in the forum but came back to the old standard of Newlands Corner via Abba Zabba. A fair bit of rain had put a fine layer of slime over the trails with a little extra spread on the roots you didn’t hit at 90 degrees.

We headed off at a steady pace and I got chatting to Phil as we head up Admiral’s track. Simon did a great job sweeping up at the back, a position he was familiar with from the femole ride yesterday were he also did his motivation job on the new riders. With new riders and rain I issued the warning to keep speed in check as we ducked under the bridges to pick up Yew Trees. The riders spread out as we headed up to wait at the Ranmore Road. And we waited.

As the minutes ticked by I became more worried about the lack of Simon and Irfan but assumed it was a puncture. Then D’Andy headed back, then Barrie and then Ray to see what was up. Colin then called D’Andy who had come across a walker and explained that there were two cyclists both heading back to the car park and one was pretty badly cut up.

Irfan had apparently lost the bike going down him and cut his face, saved from worse by a helmet splitting open but absorbing the impact, and damaging his wrist (not sure how serious). So we were two men down and we’d only done a few miles. (Oh… D’Andy rode from Kingston again so he’d done a lot of miles!)

Realising that Simon was going to deal with the situation we headed on to Newlands via Badger Run and Collarbone, taking extra care to ensure the second trail didn’t own up to its name again this ride. As the rain hadn’t penetrated that deeply it left a nasty layer to slippery goo to contend with. Having shod the rear of Project Red in a Nobby Nic I was not totally impressed with its ability but to be fair I don’t think anyone found their tyres great in today’s conditions.

On to Abba Zabba via the log stack with Colin and D’Andy (2nd attempt) making it over in less that ideal conditions. This led D’Andy to do a little jig (see today’s ride photos on Flickr).

Andy clears the fallen logs

Abba Zabba was the next main attraction with Colin and DaveW clearing it before my bottle went and I moved on. Next for me was barrelling into Blind Terror (other side of the road) although a few other did the one directly after AZ. Just after this Colin departed while the rest of us headed over to Abinger Roughs and then to Abinger itself. Barrie peeled off here while the rest if us headed off behind Shere, and then to the infamous slog up to Newlands.

I hung back and encouraged Ray to push himself up the climb which he made and seemed very happy with his partially regained fitness. So much so he went of to head towards the Downs Link as we all headed back after refreshments! Good on ya Ray!

So, keeping it simple for the return we headed back on the level with JohnR breaking off with Paul901 to take the main Byway and then the road while the other of us took to the woodland to spice it up a bit. Popping out by the reservoir we picked up DevonMole again having returned from his Angel of mercy dash. Pleased that he got a few more miles in we did our normal route back along Collar Bone and Bagder run again, then retracing our steps down Yew Trees.

I hope Irfan is OK and that this hasn’t put him off. Simon though his tyres were too tarmac orientated for these conditions but I wish him a speedy recovery. Good to see Ray again and also new rider Phil, and 2nd return this year for Philip.

Hope I haven’t missed too much and I’ll let the other riders flesh out any details I missed with their comments.

Filed under Rides in August 2010


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 18 comments on ‘Ride Report – Sunday 15/08/10 – The D’Andy Dance’

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  1. StevenD says:

    Today was both slippery and energy sapping. I was really shocked when I slipped and fell on a tree root when off my bike ! The conditions made things both exciting and entertaining at the same time.

    Thanks to the Moles I was using new Crossmarks – what a fantastic rear tyre, but clearly I need to experiment with my front tyre pressure. I felt more comfortable after letting some air out at Newlands though.

    Thanks again everybody for a great ride and wonderful company. I need to work on my fitness for the climbs so I think I need to ‘toughen up’ my mid week ride.


  2. StevenD says:

    @Dave and other moles.

    As someone who yesterday was riding this course for the first time I think it important to point out that everyone was very helpful with lines and exit routes in tricky areas and pointing out unexpected hazards. You can do no more. We all sometimes have offs, most very silly and minor but occasionally it hurts.

    I feel safe with the moles, and any nervousness in new surroundings is my problem. That is sometimes the reason I hang back or ride ‘solo’ in the group – I like the space to change line and know I am not endangering anyone.


  3. DaveW says:

    Sorry for having to break away at Newlands, but noticing that it was 11:40 as we were departing it seemed unlikely that I would get home by 1:30 if I stayed with the group.

    On the way back I also saw Simon and got a more detailed account of the off. Sorry it turned out to be a short ride Irfan. I hope you recover quickly and come out and join us again.

    As Dave says, the conditions were particularly slippery. The chalk and mud dust we have kicking up clouds of over recent months has turned into a slippery slime surface over the trails. Worse even than mid winter mud, when the deeper gloop means that slides are slower and more controllable and the slime we experienced yesterday is long washed away.

    Abba Zabba was really slippery and I’m not sure quite how I got around the tree, with both front and rear wheel slides and a close shave with the tree on the right on the way down.

    Having learnt my lesson here (not) I continued with Blind Terror 1, feeling very little grip from my clagged up Ralphs and again sliding and fishtailing down it.

    I gave the Numbskull log drop a miss today, with the landing looking particularly slimey.

    Blind terror 2 was better and the steep rooty option down towards the road actually quite grippy.

    I took the Hogden trail to Ranmore on the return leg, not feeling as strong as last week (probably due to 5 days of decorating in every spare minute), but still managed to keep up a reasonable pace.

    At Ranmore, it looked more more likely that I would get home in time, so I tried a little bit of singletrack I had spotted the entrance to previously. Quite technical, with some swoopy bits, log rolls and tight gaps between trees. Definitely one to do again.

    From Ranmore I went via Denbies to Stane Street and Epsom Downs, getting home at 1:20. So at least 73 miles….well alright, more like 40ish, followed by painting until 8pm and a night interspersed with at least hourly trips to my 1.5 year old boys room, where he was having an unsettled nights sleep. Now I feel tired zzzzzzzzzz

  4. Dandy says:

    Jem cleared Abba Zabba (one of his ‘bogey trails’) before most of us got there, so a ‘big up’ for him.

    I was still on a high from clearing the fallen tree for the first time, but Abba Zabba literally brought me back down to earth.

    A few months back I caused much hilarity by approaching with too much speed, passing the tree and nearly flying over the top and off the back. Clearly I’m a slow learner, as again I found myself carrying too much speed.

    I tried to brake on the up slope, before I got to the tree (I suppose that’s progress of sorts), and found my front wheel washing out on the slimy surface and I was down again.

    I watched Dave Dubya have a sketchy moment as he passed the tree, but he held on, only to fall on his arse on the following upslope. Also followed quickly by myself – on my own arse, not his (frequent report readers will know an exclusion zone of about 10 feet is best applied to his).

    The rest of the complex was good fun, with a few of us clearing most of the tricky lines. Another comedy moment as we were towards the end of the complex.

    Just as I was launching off to tackle one of the steep, rooty, and now slimy, sections; Colin shouts out “Is it clear?”.

    When I shouted, “No”, he replied, “Too late, I’m going”. We did our best Red Arrows impression as he shot across in front of me, with neither of us having any braking capacity to speak of.

    Despite all this potential carnage, StevenD says he, “feels safe with the moles”. Good job he wasn’t riding anywhere near Colin and I, or maybe he wouldn’t have posted that comment.

  5. paul901 says:

    I’m going to go fit it next week by reducing my 45psi to an all time low of 40psi, I realise it has to happen for the slimy stuff. It is good to hear the reason for it feeling so greasy yesterday as I was really uneasy down an awful lot of mild (for you guys) descents. It was the unfamiliar and unsecure feeling through the front wheel. I am sure that Newlands Corner flapjack will have lowered my centre of gravity a couple of inches, boy was that heavy.

    So which tyres coped best with yesterday then?…

  6. paul901 says:

    fit = for


  7. StevenD says:

    Bearing in mind this whippet’s riding weight is about 13st, though my backpack was still half full when I got back to the car, so I know where I can easily shed some:

    I ran Crossmark F+R both at 40psi. The rears were fantastic and I was getting some nice controlled back end drifting when I wanted it and had a lot of faith in my left gear lever. Not so at the front, it was too high and I really should have known better. After releasing some air at Newlands it felt a lot better for the return. After getting home I found it was at 36psi.

    I will use 35+40 on my next ride.


  8. Lee says:

    Sadly a friend’s wedding with free bar the day before was not condusive to an early start yesterday. That said I did venture out for a solo effort a little later.

    Normally you have to wait until you are offroad for major obstacles, but yesterday came rather sooner than expected as I was confronted with a car on its roof in the middle of the road bang opposite Jem’s house! I think D’Andy would have dispacthed it well though judging by the pics.

    At the Tower, strangely bereft of MTBers, I did find a guy (let’s just say all the gear…) struggling to inflate his tyre. Suffice to say he was trying to inflate the tyre with his shock pump.

  9. Dandy says:

    If you’d have cleared the car Lee, that would have been worth a celebratory performance of the ‘Il Dandino’.

    I expect this to be adopted as the offical Moles dance. Accompanied by upturned bikes, it could be a sort of ‘Holmbury Haka’.

    Perhaps to be performed when you have successfully inflated your tyre with the shock pump !

  10. paul901 says:

    For those yet to be honoured by a performance, I thought Il Dandini paid measured homage to that Catweazle bloke who used to front Jethro Tull and play the flute IIRC, my eyes were watering too much to see if Dandino had perfected the flamingo one-legged pose.

  11. DaveW says:

    Perhaps a more appropriate name for Signor Dandy’s celebratory dance would be ‘The Ill Dandino’ ;o)

  12. Dandy says:

    I believe the gentleman Paul901 refers to is Ian Anderson. He became a Scottish salmon farmer, I believe.

  13. StevenD says:

    OMG, Dandy is Ian Anderson !!

    ‘Ian Anderson had farmhouse on the Pophleys estate in Bucks and on the Isle of Skye in Scotland. Anderson has never taken the driving test, though he lists off-road pursuits among his interests.’ source wiki.

    Dandy is the keenest to come over to the Chilterns – returning to his roots ? Does Dandy drive ? Cycling from Kingston each weekend is admirable but is it really due to necessity ?

    paul901 has found out who Dandy really is…. or is this just such an amazing coincidence… what this space.

  14. DaveW says:

    Dandy said “He became a Scottish salmon farmer”

    How does one become Scottish?

  15. Dandy says:

    Pedant alert! Apologies for my exceedingly sloppy grammar. Of course I should have written, “He became a salmon farmer in Scotland”.

    In my defence, m’lud, I’d written this at the end of a long day, and after having consumed a large slug of Scotland’s finest product. Not haggis, but Macallan (18 year old).

    In my practising of yoga, there is a pose called the “tree” which requires you to adopt the Ian Anderson flut-playing pose. Perhaps I should incorporate this into the ‘Il Dandini’?

    Which neatly returns these comments back to the thread.

  16. DaveW says:

    Dandy (LoL!)

    Of course you could have out-pedanted me by calling attention to the fact that he didn’t need to become Scottish to become a Scottish salmon farmer as he was already Scottish.

  17. Irfan says:

    Having returned home now from Kingston Hospital, I wanted to say a big thank you to the MuddyMoles. I really enjoyed going out with you although briefly and your friendliness. I would particularly like to say a big thank you to Simon, without whom I am not sure that I would have got home. Simon ensured that he got me home safely before he resumed his day.

    I do feel guilty that I slowed down the day for others indeed altered the course for some doing what they set out to do in the morning. Ray, please don’t feel responsible. It is hard to fully assess the situation when you have different messages and decide upon a course of action. You did the right thing by inviting me along!

    Not sure what happened or how, found myself lying on my back gazing at the sky through the leafy canopy!

    I have sustained injuries that will mean no more biking (or other duties!) for at least a couple of months, but I am not put off. Indeed, I am already planning what my next ride will look like! Not sure when, but definitely soon.

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