Muddymoles mountain biking in the Surrey Hills and Mole Valley

Ride Report – Sunday 17 January – Newlands Corner

Posted by DaveC | January 17, 2010 | 4 comments so far

Today was not a ride to wimp out of. It was a ride to take hold of and throw around with vigour.

OK, OK, I’ve had more wine that I might usually have had by this time on a Sunday afternoon but it was still a great ride. Conditions might best be described as sticky, in an slidey sort of way. Snow and ice still lurked out there to catch you out (See DaveW later in this report).

And so it was that on a fairly warm — by recent standards — Sunday morning we met up at Bocketts Farm to wait for the brave riders to gather. Jem and I joined DaveW in the car park and soon Roo tuned up with Tony, Colin, JohnR and Mark close behind.

As the clock ticked over 8:40 it became obvious that the Magnificent Seven were about to ride again and after some umm’ing and ahh’ing it was decided the the route that was most likely to provide a reasonable pace would be Newlands again.

We headed up the Admiral’s Track and I lamented how the Council — not sure who actually owns it so take that as a generic term for whoever is responsible — have literally destroyed the surface of the track in the name of accessibility. Now 4WD vehicles can get up there they do, and taking the old surface off has left it a muddy mess. It’s almost enough to make me an angry old man.

It was at this point the we turned into eight as Paul pushed his luck further than usual and joined us just before the descent under the wooden bridges. We pushed on chatting away and pushed hard up Yew Tree Lane. Psychologically I find the climb up to Ranmore can be my downfall but today wasn’t bad and the mud wasn’t bad up there either. The next debate was whether we stuck on the main track to Newlands or cut through the woods.

We opted to use Badger Run and Collarbone as a bit of a test to see what conditions were like. Conditions we pretty much as we though but by no means the worst mud I’ve seen this Winter and progress was steady. Snow has still been on the ground leading up to the Scout camp but this was easy to ride though, just a bit of a surprise after all the rain.

After we finished Collarbone and headed into the cut-through the snow gave us the first challenge of the ride as it was still deep and very icy. That behind us we settled in to cross over to the Reservoir and head for the woods and probably the mud.

I took the opportunity to try out my new pocket Samsung camcorder on a rooty bit of trail and the results can be seen above, which is amazing for the £80 it cost me. I do recall the first JVC GRC1 camcorder hitting Dixons window in Leatherhead and thinking what a marvel that was. Technology is an amazing thing! Just so long as there is a genuine reason for it!

The woods were less muddy than they could have been but there was still some ice to negotiate and in places the gloop was thick and traction difficult. Finally onto the main track we pushed on and I found myself at the head of the pack trying hard to take the SS to 20mph with bursts of high speed pedalling. They caught me on the uphill though and DaveW and I kept a steady pace up, swapping the lead as we made steady progress to Newlands and the bacon rolls.

Popping into Newlands we saw some brave souls in Lotuses (Loti? cf. James Hunt!) including an Excel and various designs of Esprit. Personally I reckon there must have been a massive sigh or relief from them that the snow had gone.

Sufficiently refuelled and having lost JohnR already for domestic duties, Mark and Colin began muttering about heading back on the road. We made it back en-masse to the concrete bowl that doubles as a wall of death and made our goodbyes.

By this time the Sun was shining strongly and the way back seem a little more slick and less grippy. DaveW demonstrated this as he elegantly left his bike to my left and flew through the air ahead of me to land in some still frozen snow on my right. I gave him 4.5 for artistic interpretation but I do think that later riders probably found it harder going.

Paul was low on energy by this point and by the time we had passed down Collarbone and Badger Run in reverse he was looking to roll back into Dorking and home. The final four headed back down Yew Trees and up under the Wooden Bridges. By this time I was knackered and I have to apologies to the two female walkers I passed doing some very heavy breathing.

All in all though a great ride in some changeable conditions and another 24 miles to notch up plus some 3600 calories burnt. Lubricant only got a passing mention…

Filed under Rides in January 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 4 comments on ‘Ride Report – Sunday 17 January – Newlands Corner’

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  1. PIJ says:

    It certainly was an interesting day to be out, wasn’t it? Virtually t-shirt weather, yet amazingly technical trails in the hollows. Colley Hill was bordering on dangerous such was the remaining ice that covered the quadrupletrack. Many bikers gave up on it and walked.

    Some really deep, porridge like mud out there. We are talking axle deep in the usual muddy spots. The horses have really churned things up.

    But once used to it, and as you say embracing a certain level of agression, one could really fly. We managed to hit almost 30mph in quite a few places – and in areas where just an hour previous we were going over in real trepidation at walking pace. Bit silly really, but then mountain biking is ultimately silly.

    You did well to hit the 24 mile marker post, so I take my helmet off to you sir. We’d planned a 30 mile jobbie via Juniper, but slogging through the mud meant we struggled to do half of that, and I was becoming more and more concerned that the trail over there would be dire as it hardly gets any sun. Didn’t mind though as it was brilliant fun to be out… if a little hard in too many places.

    No chain suck, and we didn’t discuss “lubes” in a manly fashion either!


  2. Matt says:

    Well it’s 11 o’clock Sunday night and I’ve just about found time to read this. Thanks for the write up Dave. That HD camera looks interesting, is the jerkiness something that can be sorted? The picture quality is very impressive.

    I would have come out, was up for it but a certain local cycle shop really needs it’s new website finished so I had to pass on the ride. After a brief visit to Leatherhead and seeing Mark riding down Lower Road I really wish I’d gone out.

    Since then I’ve been working on the website all day… and I really could have done with some sun too!

  3. Mark says:

    Really enjoyed yesterday, but boy do I ache today.

    Too bloody long out of the saddle yet again, so I felt absolutely knackered by the time I got home. I had forgotten how hard that thick slippy mud can be.

    I was really feeling the burn on the way home. As Colin and I rode up the dip toward Dirtham Lane I was moving so slowly that old people with zimmer frames could have overtaken me!

    All in all it was a nice morning, and thanks to everyone for waiting for me at strategic points. Hope I didn’t slow everyone too much.



  4. Dave says:

    Actually I can feel the burn in my quads today. Too long off the singlespeed and conditions made it hard going for me too.

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