Muddymoles mountain biking in the Surrey Hills and Mole Valley

Ride report: Sunday 17 October – Leith Tower

Posted by Matt | October 17, 2010 | 9 comments so far

There are some days when everything feels like an effort. Like the bike isn’t connected with either the ground or your brain. For me, I’m glad to say that today was not one of those days. Perfect weather seemed to bring out a rare spell of highly enjoyable riding.

We had another large group assembling for the traditional Sunday ride at Bockett’s Farm today. I counted DaveC, Kevin, Lloyd, Lewis, Emma, Darren, D’Andy, MarkW, PaulM, Barrie, BiketechMark, Paul, Rob and Andy making up a group of 15 riders.

The morning chill had us shivering at the start, a sure sign the weather is due to change. For today though it was golden leaves, sunshine and nicely damped trails thanks to recent rain so conditons couldn’t have been more ideal.

Almost immediately out of the car park we came across our first hazard of the day (and season) as the 50 yard stretch to the first bridlepath was strewn with hawthorns from a recent round of hedge maintenance by the local farmer. I couldn’t see how, with 15 riders, we would all escape puncture-free but somehow we did which was certainly a good omen.

Dave and I had decided Leith Tower was a suitable run for the group and I headed off up the Admiral’s track with Dave shepherding at the rear. It’s always hard to know how fast to go but we stayed reasonably well-together as we headed to Polesdon, my recent relative lack of miles making itself felt in my lungs, chest and legs.

Our usual run down to Yew Trees and climb up to Ranmore passed without much incident apart from Paul losing his water bottle and only realising a couple of miles later. After a regroup we took in Badger Run before turning down toward Landrover.

I like this descent as it’s one you can pick a tidy line down, which I was in the process of doing up front before Darren steamed past me. At that point I found myself tucking in behind him and relying on the powers of 150mm travel on the bike to get me down in one piece instead!

All safely at the bottom we next crossed the railway line and continued on toward the Rookery. The banter and chat was in good voice today with plenty of snatched conversations to be had through the group as riders caught, passed and generally swapped places as we went along.

The Rookery climb is no longer the technical challenge it used to be, instead a lung tester but not much more. As we paused at the top we ran into Jess and Danielle from Astounding Adventures for the first but not last time of the day as they were out on a guided ride. It was great to catch up with the girls again.

Wolverns Lane, with it’s many meandering turns called. I can’t think of any better way to gain height while still enjoying yourself as the slow turns force a constant need for weight shifts and feathered brakes to make real progress.

As we reached the high top path which lifts you up above the Lane itself I encountered a couple of riders coming down the path at speed and was less than impressed to see they had no intention of checking their high speed.

My understanding is you should always yield to riders climbing but they just charged past after giving me a few moments where I thought I was about to get properly clattered by them. I had a wire fence on one side and a ten foot drop the other and was on singletrack so had few options. They just launched off the side, nearly collecting Andy on the way with no apology. By far the least impressive bit of riding I’ve seen for a while.

We continued on, and despite my tired legs managed to keep a flow going as we headed up to the start of Summer Lightning and then continued on via the bombholes to the top of Deliverance. After that, a few minutes of twists and turns brought us out to the cricket ground.

We met Toby of Dorking Cocks fame here who was busy getting things ready for the November 5 fireworks, although we thought he was just building some platforms with all those pallets!

With a tea break calling we headed for the Tower via a nice roll-in that Dave showed us and then onto some twisty singletrack that spat us out into the gulleys near the foot of the Tower climb. I had to engage the granny but made it to the top via a gently meandering route without too much drama.

Here we indulged ourselves with tea and cake (fruitcake for me) while we watched a load of runners coming up the same climb we’d just completed having set off from Dorking. Fair play to all of them but it’s more fun by bike!

Heading back, we took in Personal Hygiene, which was fun as usual, before working our way across the more open hillside to the cricket pitch again where we continued to see streams of runners. We ducked back into the woods and soon reached Deliverance again.

Maybe it was the fruitcake but I was feeling pretty good and was more than happy to give it a go after seeing Darren just get on with it. Myself and a couple of others (D’Andy?) did it too and I must say I felt quite comfortable. Sometimes I ride it, sometimes I don’t depending on how I feel. It’s not one I expect to do everytime by any means.

I led the field on from here to Waggledance and for the first time in a while could ride my own pace along here without anyone in front. You have such an advantage doing this as you’re not distracted by other people’s lines and I really enjoyed myself with a fast run.

Next on the agenda was Summer Lightning and I was really starting to feel a flow, so much so that each section felt much shorter than usual. I guess I was just going faster than normal as Dave pointed out! Well, it’s all relative.

It was also hard work and leading a group of fast riders back down toward Wolverns was taking it out of me. I had to stop to ‘bunch the field’ (ie. catch my breath) at the crossroads, then it was back on it again. I launched both the jumps along here quite tidily but further back PaulM had a stack which sounded quite nasty even though no harm was done.

We finished our efforts on Leith Hill by retracing our steps down the Rookery and then it was back up to Ranmore via High Mediteranean. I refused the offered White Down climb and with a few riders starting to show signs of flagging I didn’t think Macpherson’s was a fair ask either!

Having reached Ranmore again the group split. Lloyd and I both needed to get back on time (which I barely managed) and Lewis and Emma were glad to shorten the route as Dave led the others off toward Denbies and an extra few miles.

As it was, the return to the car park saw me notch up 25 miles (albeit with a mile and a half from my place) so it was a fair old ride and we hadn’t really been hanging around on some of the singletrack.

If I could place an order, I’ll have a few more days like today please!

Filed under Rides in October 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.

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  1. Dandy says:

    Echo those sentiments, Matt; though my legs felt like jelly later this afternoon. Earlier in the ride, the trails were flowing and the sun was shining, perfect.

    I struggled in the Wed night ride this week, and have been trying to shake off some sort of virus/infection for the last few days. I suffered again towards the end of today’s ride, but it was worth it.

    The moral is, as long as you don’t feel too bad that you can’t start, and if the sun is shining, it will be worth it!

    MarkW (let’s put a big shout out here for his new Alfine-hubbed, bright yellow framed, Genesis hardtail) and myself (On-One Inbred 456) both followed you 2 armchair-sprung full-sus boys down Deliverance.

    Highlight of the day for me was the recently discovered singletrack down the side of the Denbies vineyard. A lowlight could have been the roll-in before the tower that Dave showed us, luckily I got the bucking Inbred (I think that’s what I called it!) back on line before it all went horribly wrong.

    Oh yes, MarkW showed me the cheeky left hand line on Personal Hygiene which had an interesting little drop-off; another plus to us hardtail hard boys!

    A footnote for those interested in a scientific approach to rest & recovery; the best part of a bottle of NZ’s ‘Roaring Meg’ Pinot Noir (Central Otago) has worked wonders on the symptoms of post-exercise muscle fatigue. Highly recommended 😉

  2. Dave says:

    Twas a good tonic to D2D misery!

    Just wanted to add that MarkW on his new Genesis iO was actually breaking his Deliverance cherry for himself and the bike. I almost decided to have a go… time!

    I’d forgotten about the two riders hairing down Wolverns as we rode up. I did shout at them and they had to slow down and Emma and Lewis picked their way through the technical chicane. The group that barged through a few times on SL also made me riled but I also wonder if they felt the same about us as we seemed to head down SL before them?

    Anyway, a cracking ride, after you left Matt we did “And Then There Were 3”, “Jem’s Fav” and ended it with “Infrestation” for good measure. I think “Infestation” gave rise to a few smiles, mostly of relief at having survived……happy days!

  3. PIJ says:

    It was certainly a cracking day to be out, and like you guys I pushed a bit too hard and ended up knackered. Big steak on the cards afterwards.

    I wonder if the nice weather brought some idiots out that wouldn’t noramally ride? I encountered quite a few miserablists, and only got a cheery hello from one guy over near Epsom; his partner looked a tad unhappy mind, possibly at being dragged out onto a smelly MTB by the looks of things. Only saw one bit of bad riding, that from a 50 year old who couldn’t master the art of braking without a long rear wheel skid.

    None of which dampened my enthusiasm – our party was down to, er, one, moi, so it was just a pure 25 mile’ish sprint. Somehow as you say, everything just rolled up into one big happy ride no matter what happened en route.

  4. Jez says:

    I fell out of bed a little too late to make it to the start so headed out for a spin around Box Hill instead. Great weather!

  5. Tony says:

    Sounds like a very good morning. I rode out and did a hilly time trial one the road with 19 others from Team Pearson cyclists. It was my first for a while and apart from being a good lung opener not as much fun as you folks had! Hopefully Ill see you all on Wednesday.

  6. Kev S says:

    Well I certainly chose a great day for my first ride out with the Moles, despite the cold temps to start with, but we soon warmed up on the way to Polesden in what was a really friendly group.

    I think everyone was surprised to see such nice trails, no mud or bogs to slop through and the sun poking through as the morning went on!

    Thanks to Matt for leading us up to the tower and showing some new trails that I certainly never knew existed, particularly enjoyed the adrenalin rush (make that fear) of some of the big roll-ins on the way to and from the tower! (Deliverance will have to wait me thinks)

    I too was nearly wiped out by the two Neanderthals coming down Wolverns, one of them locking up his rear wheel and just managing to slide past me! Dont know how others fared further back in the Peleton but these guys were really hammering it down there.

    The return back down from the Tower was a blast followed by Dave leading the way after a few split off and headed home for lunch.

    The brisk pace from the bottom of Denbies continued back up to Norbury Park and Bocketts but I have to admit their was not much left in the tank after our 23 mile thrash.

    Look forward to joining up again in a couple of weeks, if only the weather and conditions could hold up a little longer! 🙂

  7. Banzai Paul says:

    A fine morning to be out.

    Quite a contrast from when I was last sat on the bike at D2D in the pouring rain riding through treacle!

    After Landrover Matt took the pace up a notch and was definitely enjoying himself. Impressively easing away from the chasing group time and time again, definitely flowing well. Perhaps he was worried Jess & Danielle might be observing 🙂

    My “incident” was down to my own impatience really. In an attempt to pass another rider I took an alternative line that was more of a leap-off than a roll-in. It was fine but I think my front wheel found a “trail feature” on landing and abruptly stopped, catapulting me head first.

    But it turned into well…nothing really, a bit shocked and stirred, I just needed to put the chain back on. Possibly the best rolling breakfall I’ve ever done. It was definitely a big accident about to happen though, a fortunate escape!

    Sorry for any delays caused 🙂

  8. kc says:

    Sounds like I am missing out!

    After D2D I looked at the Five and the chainset is destroyed.

    Got the hardtail out and gave it a quick service to find that the handlebars are bent so I have not been out on the dirt for a couple of weeks.

    If there is a following wind then I hope to be out on Weds night, otherwise I shall not br around for a few Sundays 🙁

  9. Mark Weaver says:

    Great Ride almost too dry! (can’t beleive I said that). The Gensis held up fine no loose bits considering some of the terrain tackled. Thanks for the encouragement Dandy will be using the Alfine through the winter now so hopefully things will hold together nicely. Although I did notice my legs ached a bit more than usual, I guess thats down to only having 8 gears at my disposal.(big respect to single speeders)

    Anyway, as always greatly enjoyed the company & chat and looking forward to some more action in the saddle!



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