Muddymoles mountain biking in the Surrey Hills and Mole Valley

Ride Report: Sunday 16 May – Newlands Corner

Posted by Matt | May 16, 2010 | 11 comments so far

Oh dear! What started out as a straightforward ride to Newlands today for 15 of us ultimately degenerated into two lost riders and at least four separate groups riding home!

It’s not always like that, honest!

Before any of that though, this morning, as I rode up to Bockett’s Farm I wasn’t sure who I’d see. I knew Tony and Colin would not be around and wasn’t sure about Lee or DaveC. But to my surprise on arrival I found a large-ish group forming, not all of whom I knew!

By the time we got going we had Barrie, DaveC, Joe, Jez, Jem, Erick, AndyC, Philip, JohnR, Mark, Marcus, Nick, Paul, a guy on a Turner (sorry!)?? and myself. We headed off with Newlands Corner in mind on a fine morning and were soon riding down the Admiral’s Track to Polesden. I was happy to initially sit mid pack today and have a chat with people but confess I’m hopeless with remembering everyone’s name first time round!

Even so it was great to catch up with Philip, Erick and Jem as we progressed toward Ranmore. Already it was clear we had a range of speeds that people felt comfortable with as the group was soon spread out but with key Moles front, mid and rear all seemed fine. We’re quite used to waiting and quite used to struggling to keep up with riders!

We headed down Yew Trees, slowed somewhat by several walkers and riders coming up the hill but were soon digging in to the first climb of the day. I guess it’s actually quite brutal as once past the flinty track you still have a bit of a grind to keep going. Soon I could see we were getting a bit strung out.

Even so, by hanging back to pick up Jem and Paul who were happily chatting away we were still reasonably close together. As the climb wore on Jem and I got talking and hauled in four or five other riders as we rolled up the hill, I haven’t seen Jem for ages so it was great to catch up.

At Ranmore it was no more than a short wait for us all to regroup and press on, along the tarmac a short distance and then off toward Badger Run and Collarbone. Readers will be familiar with our route so far!

Again, we were managing things reasonably well with stops as long as needed and no-one left behind. Soon we were up on White Down and working our way through the trees where Joe, Jez and AndyC all had a good attempt at the massive fallen oak – Joe in particular saw it close up but we were all shamed by a rider unconnected with us who cleaned it with plenty of momentum and some finesse.

From here we carried on through the trees and headed to the singletrack to the ‘dogging car park’, crossing the road and targeting Abba Zabba for the second time this week. While we waited for some of us to give it a go it became clear that Erick and Paul were missing. After a bit of a wait while Jem and DaveC back tracked for a bit without success we decided to press on toward Blind Terror, showing our new riders some of the best brown trousers riding this side of Leith Hill.

As always, some of us rode Blind Terror II, some didn’t which is fine by us – I’ve often bailed out of the big drops in this area but today felt perfectly confident. After Blind Terror II we tackled the steep roll in next to Numbskull which I have to say I’ve ridden better. Maybe my Fire XCs are just too marginal now? They certainly felt like they were on someone else’s side!

Further attempts were made to hook up with Erick and Paul and AndyC headed off to find them after making phone contact but to no avail. Instead the rest of the group crossed the road to Blind Terror, the massive roll in that appears when you least expect it. Once again I was fine with it and rode it all the way down and over the jump at the bottom where we all eventually re-grouped.

This is big stuff and I was a bit concerned for the several newbies in the group who might easily have felt pressured into taking on more than they were comfortable with. I hope that wasn’t the case as there were plenty of short-cuts and bail out options. Fortunately we all reached the road safely where we were re-joined by AndyC without Erick and Paul. He’d been unsuccessful in finding them and had reluctantly decided to head back to us.

So, just 8 miles in and two riders missing. We decided to push on to Abinger, along the Roughs and on to Gomshall and Shere from there. Again the group kept getting spread out but the odd stop was sufficient to keep everyone on track. To be honest I was quite enjoying rolling along at a sedate pace as recent rides have been quick, particularly my rides to work on my own. I needed the rest and the Surrey villages make to very pleasant riding.

So we made progress with the odd bit of strenuous work thrown in with numerous sharp climbs and sandy drags to keep us working. Soon though it was time to make that long climb up to Newlands Corner.

This climb is one of those that feels it goes on forever. I started plum last but more than any time riding I think you have to find your own rhythm climbing and go with it. Slowly I started catching and passing riders, reeling in bunches of two or three all the way up. There was no way I was going to catch Barrie and John up ahead but I was pleased with progress and ultimately managed to ‘summit’ maybe 25 seconds or so behind them, my heart about to explode. All that for an Eccles Cake!

Newlands at least provided an opportunity to catch up with everyone over a coffee, my only wish being that it could have been a bit warmer. Joe, Mark, Marcus and Nick decided to stay behind for a more leisurely return while the rest of the group (now down to around 9 riders) set off for home. John and myself were starting to get a bit short on time and led the others on a brisk run along the North Downs Way which soon had the group stretching out.

By the time we’d got over about one third distance we had a lead group over the rest and reluctantly had to agree to part ways, leaving just John, Jez and myself to head off while the others regrouped.

What followed was a really fast blast home with John, Jez and myself digging in and taking turns to pull each other along. I’ve never covered the run from Newlands so quickly and I doubt the others have either.

It’s not technical in any way but the way we were steaming along in close proximity brought out the roadie in each of us I think! Big rings and upper third cogs all the way home, finishing off with a very fast run down to Yew Trees from Ranmore. In terms of tiredness I still feel I had the advantage over John and Jez’s hardtails (how can a 6 inch travel full sus be so quick!) but John broke me going up the final Polesden climb. Ouch!

Parting from John just after Polesden, Jez and I managed a slightly more sedate pace back to the car park, arriving by 12:05 feeling quite pleased with ourselves I think for what was a good ten miles or so of sustained running without any stops at all.

Apologies to all who fell by the wayside today or struggled with the pace etc. of the ride. It’s not always like this for us and I do suggest you stick with it as that’s the only way you can really get ride fit. Not that I think anyone’s particularly short of fitness, it’s just miles mean smiles really. At the end of the day a 25 mile round trip at a quick-ish pace at least gives you the excuse to snooze on the sofa all afternoon. I know I did!

Filed under Rides in May 2010


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 11 comments on ‘Ride Report: Sunday 16 May – Newlands Corner’

We love to get comments from our readers - if you've spent a few moments to comment, thank-you.

If you haven't had a chance yet, jump to our comments form if you have something to say.

  1. Dave says:

    I seemed to have a lot more energy and strength of than of late and pushed fairly hard most of the ride. To get up Newlands in the first 6 or 7 was great.

    Blind Terror on a big wheel bike is just sweet. The new Maxle Reba’s did a great job keeping it all pointing the right way. the Bonty XDX tyes seem to have enough grip and also provide a smooth rolling platform.

    After the lead pack broke away on the way back we too pushed on at a decent pace and the final descent down Yew trees was flat out and a bit dicey in places although I didn’t trouble the skid mark Matt left behind last week on one of the corners.

    Good stuff!

  2. D'AndyC says:

    Life of Reilly, Matt. I have to pay for a morning off with a long list of chores in the afternoon, no snoozing for me 🙁

    A very enjoyable ride, where for once I found myself more at the front of the pack than my my more normal position as ‘lanterne rouge’. Maybe those fast, dark ‘n wet winter rides are finally paying off?

    It was nice to clean Abba Zabba again for the third time in two weeks or so, and I felt so confident I nearly tackled it again after abandoning my attempt to find Erick & Paul. What stopped me was the thought of cocking it up and giving you all another 15 minute delay (which maybe means I’m still not that confident on Abba Zabba after all). I did get to roll down Blind Terror 2 a second time though, which is always fun.

    The good news is that I took a call from the ‘Erick the Lost’ as we stopped for our coffe and cake at Newlands Corner, to hear that he and Paul had safely made it back to Leatherhead. And finally, the Turner Flux rider was Andrew, who demonstrated that those bikes climb pretty well!

  3. Jem says:

    Really good to get out with the Moles ride again after a fair time away.

    I decided to stay at the back for the outward ride to Newlands chatting to a couple of new rider’s ( Paul and Andrew- the guy with the Turner). Nice to meet you guy’s, sorry we lost you Paul.

    I tried to dig deep on the final climb up to the tea hut to see where my fitness level sits at the moment. Not too shabby, but still off the pace somewhat.

    Good to see Roger ( Colin’s brother) and his crew at the top, had a chat with them for a while.

    Dave, your diesel service certainly has done the trick, now producing Turbo Diesel powerrr! You still had plently left in the tank right at the end of the ride.

    I however was wasted for the rest of Sunday, now slowly recovering with a cup of tea this morning in the office at home.

    Yes I know i’m late for work.

  4. John R says:

    Another great run and nice to see Jem out again. We certainly had the best of Sunday’s weather.

    It’s great to hear all this talk of Abba Zabba and Blind Terror, but at the Lanterne Rouge end of the downhillers I was happy just to do the Chicken Run on my hardtail for a second time.

    I’m off on my travels now so, ash clouds permitting, see you in June.

  5. Colin says:

    Lee and I went out for a dawn raid ride yesterday, 20 miles, home by 9:30. Unlike you bozos, we both cleared the fallen tree, me for the first time.

    We didn’t get photgraphic evidence sadly so you’ll just have to trust me on that one.

    Glad you had a good ride, eventful as ever!

  6. D'AndyC says:

    Aha, all is clear now. We haven’t seen him for so long we failed to recognise that “shamed by a rider unconnected with us who cleaned it with plenty of momentum and some finesse” was, in fact, Colin.

  7. Dawn says:

    From where I was standing Colin it looked a sweet clearence, even having the finesse to throw in a nice track stand halfway through the move.

    Dawn x

  8. Matt says:

    LOL at ‘Dawn’!!!

  9. "Turner Guy" says:


    it was great riding with you guys on Sunday – hope to make some more rides if you’ll have me…

    I marked a few of the spots like Abba and Blind on the GPS, not so I can remember how to get to them, but so I can remember how to avoid them!

    The Turner may be a good climber but it was passed by a couple of Orange Fives which was pretty impressive. I will have to get some training in for next time, although my excuse was the 30 miles and 4k ft climbing I did on Saturday plus a bit too much time lolling around the flat at Swinley looking for routes.

    Should be there for next Sunday I hope.

  10. Paul (Lantern Rouge) says:

    Here’s part of the email I sent to Matt yesterday:

    “Thanks for the hospitality of the guys this morning. It really was a virgin ride in my case. First things first, not sure what happened when Erick and I got dropped off but it’s always a risk of not catching where the group has gone and at that point it was quite fast. Last sighting was at the green fence (reservoir?) and just down to the left of it we think we missed a minor trail veering left which led to a sheer drop that I understand some of you guys ride down (no idea how). [Reading these comments it must be Abba Zabba and I recall Erick mentioning it now, he says we were 50m away from the group without realising it]. It took us some time to get to that and it was quickly obvious the group needed to get going and not worry about us. So, an apology to all for the inconvenience of them sitting waiting. I had no phone numbers to call of course or would have done straight away but thankfully Erick was in contact with Andy.”

    We got back okay and ironically my road knowledge told me where I was every time we crossed a road.

    I’m not likely to forget my first ever green laning in a hurry, I’ve only ever been a roadie and this was like nothing I have done. Tough but enjoyable and I’m sure these Sunday rides are going to make for a fast (and fit) learning curve.

    I can’t believe the amount these bikes take and the Whyte 901 has already amazed me. My road bikes live a life of luxury by comparison.

    I’ll try not to get lost next week!

  11. bazza says:

    Hi all

    Thanks another great day, enjoyed the complexes from the start of Abba Zabba, still feeling very much out of sorts at the moment, I was spent by the time we reached Newlands. On the way back I had no answer to Matt, John and Jez who pressed on. good crowd out with some new faces who seemed to be enjoying their new bikes, so well done to them for hanging on and Jem good to see you out again



Leave a comment…

Have your say – we'd love to hear what you think.

If you have something to add, just complete this comment form (we will not publish your email address).

*Required information.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.