Muddymoles mountain biking in the Surrey Hills and Mole Valley

Ride report: Sunday 16 January – Easy does it

Posted by Matt | January 16, 2011 | 5 comments so far

Today saw my return to off-road riding, my first outing this year. In fact, it was over a month since I’d last been out on the Orange and that in itself was a rare occurrence during the latter part of last year. So it was with a fair amount of trepidation that I approached today’s effort.

Dave near Abba Zabba

It’s not the only riding I’ve done recently. That honour went to the new Specialized Elite road bike in my garage but frankly I hadn’t given myself too much of a work out on that either, just in case. For the next few weeks my motto is going to be ‘Think spin!’ as I ride my way back into fitness.

At the car park today was a fair number of us Moles. Barrie, Jez, Andy661, JamesH, Tim, Emma, Jason, PaulM, myself and eventually DaveC! Our plan was to stay fairly local as we had an idea things were going to be heavy going on this side of the Surrey Hills so we headed out at a leisurely pace toward the Admiral’s Track.

I can’t say I’ve missed the run along here and the subsequent climb up to Ranmore via Yew Trees but it passed easily enough. I was really forcing myself to keep a low gear and low pace and just keep spinning, knowing that too much too soon was just going to leave me feeling fed up with being back to square one.

At Ranmore we turned onto Badger Run which felt rather slippy under wheel. With no winter running I’m in at the deep end with my 2.25 Nobby Nics as I try to get a feel for grip levels. Mind you if you don’t commit to a line you’re always going to struggle aren’t you? So I tried to just go with the flow.

Looking for that flow proved rather difficult as we continued onto Collarbone toward White Down as it’s customary winter surface presented itself. Greasy clay and wet roots, with sections of soft sapping mud found us all drifting and fishtailing our way along the trail and I soon remembered to try and ride in straight lines as much as possible.

At White Down we headed round to the Abba Zabba complex, taking the sensible chicken runs as much as possible. With the damp surface they’re still a bit challenging but being on the Orange meant I had most of the aces stacked in my favour. I’d forgotten what a quality bike it is and was starting to enjoy myself!

The gentle pace we’d been setting continued as we hit the tarmac before turning toward Westcott, running along the valley parallel to the A25. I always enjoy the view down the valley toward Dorking with Ranmore on the left and true to my motto was quite happy to spin along.

Our untaxing route saw us ascend High Mediterranean (don’t even think about suggesting MacPherson’s!) to bring us back up to Ranmore. From here we headed toward Denbies and I finally got to ride a trail the others have been talking about for months.

It’s a tricky run down toward the vinyard, providing a nice alternative to the more established routes and pleasingly avoids potential contact with walkers and other riders which has to be a bonus. Dave’s called it ‘And Then There Were Three’ as it’s ‘the third way’ but I couldn’t help noticing it’s in three sections too which helps the logic! Great fun, my inexperience with it (and Tim in front of me) meant I didn’t clear it all in one go but it looks promising once everything dries a bit.

By the time we reached the A24 I was starting to feel a bit tired so Jem, Jez and myself decided to head back while the rest headed up Box Hill for a tea break and a few extra miles.

Our route back included the Crabtree Lane climb and Jem’s favourite (River Run) which hadn’t been on my agenda but I got talked into it. Enjoyable though it was coasting rather than caning it along there I was glad I’d made the decision to quit early. I wasn’t suffering a dreaded sugar dip by any means but I sure felt like I’d been on a bike ride and was happy to call it a day.

All in all, probably the best part of 19 miles in mixed conditions. It was great to finally see everyone again and to see the sun as well, a bit of a bonus after weeks of shivering from home to car to office. Most important of all, I can start to call myself a cyclist again!

Filed under Rides in January 2011


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 5 comments on ‘Ride report: Sunday 16 January – Easy does it’

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  1. John R says:

    I love the photo of Dave C.

    Wish I had been out with you, sounds a good ride – maybe when I can join you in a couple of weeks it will have dried up a bit.

  2. Dave says:

    There was one comedy moment worth mentioning. Barrie and I have a bit of a history of doing Blind Terror 2 (the complex on the other side from AZ) and we didn’t want a bit of mud to stop us. With others working their way round to the left I saw Barrie tentitively head to the edge and ease over, back whell locked up, and then plough on down. With heart in mouth I followed, determined to to lock the back up, only to see Jem entereding from the left just ahead of me. Well there was no stopping me now but a few choice words and some cries from Jem and we managed to avoid a collision. Laughing, probbaly nervously, I managed to string the berms together and exit over the roots.

    The mud does make it hard work!

    After Matt and co left we headed up Box Hill for refreshments but my back was starting to hurt (the main reason I was out on the comforatble 5) and I ended up walking the last 1/2 with Emma.

    After the break we headed down Juniper Bottom which was free from walkers and provided a nice fast run. Back over the A24 and up through Norbury park where we stood still long enough for Nick, Andy and Graham to hunt us down! We finished up with Infestation which was more of a controlled slide and back.

    GPS showed me a little under 22 miles and 1900 calories.

  3. Barrie says:

    Hi All
    Great to see everyone, it was good to stay more local and I did score brownie points with the Mrs. for being back early! Dave blind terror 2 is always good fun, since a few times we have done it as complete flow and it’s always hard to resist it, mind the few times I have followed you straight over without hesitating has sort of given me a little more confidence with that one. On Sunday when I stopped and tentatively went over, there was a large Gulp, then my sphincter did twitch quite a bit but it was fun
    Matt good to see you out again and great job ion the website
    Cheers everyone

  4. kc says:

    Sounds like I missed a good ride but I was out gunning it around Crowthorne Wood / Swinley.

    I arrived early to pick up my number for the Grand Vets race expecting to find a few ol chaps who were just out for a ride. No way! The assembled whippets soon disappeared over the horizon. Still it was only a sprint event of 16 miles and I am a tortoise not a hare. Nevertheless 3 laps, including the corkscrew was immense fun and I managed all 3 in about the same time for each lap.

    What was interesting was that at the end of lap 1 I was pretty much on the rev limiter and consciously said I must slow down and focus on the trail ahead, being as smooth as possible. At the end of lap 2, I was surprised to see that my time was identical to lap 1, but I felt very relaxed.

    In contrast, I then tried to push harder and was less smooth and had a comedy off resulting in a slower lap by a few seconds. I suppose even tortoises get tired, but I think there is quite a lot in this smooth progress concept.

    Sorry to hi jack the ride report. Give the Saddle Skiddaddle series a try – great fun and some new trails to explore.

  5. Jez says:

    Sounds like KC is well ahead of his Keilder training schedule. Racing in January is going to make for a long season!

    I rode singlespeed on Sunday, something I’ve not done too much of, and felt the effects today in the shoulders. It might just have been battling with the bike in the mud though.

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