Muddymoles mountain biking in the Surrey Hills and Mole Valley

Ride report: Sunday 18 May – all in the wrist

Posted by Matt | May 20, 2014 | 6 comments so far

Dave and Al on the Admirals Track

Before I start I may as well say it. What marvellous weather for riding we have at the moment. Yesterday was dry and just the right side of comfortable, especially at the pace we were going, which was forward motion in a civilised stylee, albeit with a rather abrupt end…

We had a round ten starting yesterday; well nine, with JR timing his arrival ever finer to rendezvous with us on the Admiral’s Track. How much later can he leave it? Not much it must be said!

Our group consisted of Elliott, Al, Kev, DaveC, Karl, DaveW, JamesS (another late arrival!) and new rider Sarah, wondering – possibly – what she’d got herself into. Also present – albeit with no plans to ride off-road if he could help it – was Paul901, dropping by in civvies to say hello. Paul and DubDub got into conversation and it was a while before I realised they were talking coffee, not bikes; that explains why I didn’t have a clue what they were talking about!

We set off with plans for a circuitous route to Newlands Corner and given the weather we kept the pace sociable. Just as well we did, when a lesser-spotted Paul arrived just as we paused at the top of Yew Trees, having tramped over from Dorking. As someone helpfully pointed out, he was too late for the New Year ride!

Down and up Yew Trees then and on to Ranmore. Here Al had a new trail to show us that crossed Badger Run and ended up near the bottom of Landrover, which was met with enthusiasm by those who tried it. I headed down Scouting for Boys with some of the others but confess that my line choice was pretty poor. I just steam rollered everything in my path as I couldn’t really see where I was going.

By the way, I’m back on my Five, feeling a bit retro (26″ wheels?!) but very much at home. After riding my Kona hardtail for many, many miles, if I’m honest the Five felt a bit flexy but I think I’m just not used to the added squish. It now sports de rigeur 720mm carbon handlebars, having swapped out my original carbon Easton bars which surprised me by turning out to be just 660mm wide. Quite a change which I think is for the best although there’s pros and cons to the slower steering.

So having regrouped we headed toward Abinger via the Roughs, the easy pace really letting us enjoy the scenery. We soon bumped into Jess, Yvette, Ginny and others (that included an incognito other), fresh out of Gomshall on a Love to Ride outing, so spent a few minutes catching up.

Moles and Love 2 Ride

Pressing on, we passed through Abinger, then the back of Shere before heading toward Blackheath via the increasingly sandy and dusty trails. This must be a compulsory trail for the Duke of Edinburgh teenagers as we passed masses in small groups. One group of less than trail savvy DoE adventurers kindly (and inadvertently) blocked the exit gate off the railway as we attempted to cross, but thankfully no train appeared. Not the safest place to hang about is it?

Boy was it getting hot! Blackheath was like riding across a beach and I’m sure was wishing once again for his long-awaited Puffin. Our meanderings eventually brought us out facing the climb up St. Martha’s Hill, a climb I don’t mind too much although it can be pretty unforgiving. I settled in behind Al and James with Al grinding most of the way up before be halted by his singlespeed. I managed it all but woefully slowly compared to DaveW and John, who both hared up.

At the top Elliott suggested a detour from our normal route and took us slightly further up the hill to some juicy singletrack which I think Dandy would greatly enjoy. It is pretty straightforward but has three jumps which allow you to take with as much speed as you dare but with easy options to circumvent if you’re not in the mood. I enjoyed it very much.

Finally we were left with a sharp road climb onto the North Downs ridge, of the grit-your-teeth-and-get-on-with-it-variety. It can be enlivened just marginally with an overgrown trail alongside which ends with steps to the road, which I duly took. We dragged our – rather hot – selves up to the Newlands cafe and quickly joined the long queue for refreshment.

Moles at Newlands Corner

An Eccles cake, coffee and a lengthy rest later we set off along the North Downs Way for home. This is our standard route back which mixes easy rolling with some rather draggy inclines but it doesn’t take long to get back to Ranmore really. Time was starting to ebb away, so rather than pursue Plan A (to descend back to Shere and climb up White Down; an option possibly relished by John), we opted instead to give Flinty Badman a go as we neared home.

I’m beginning to think that technical trails at the end of a hot 30 miles might not be a good option. Flinty Badman is pretty tricky in places, being thin, obscure singletrack with a reasonably sized jump halfway down and lots of off-camber flint (hence the name) and roots. Following Kev nearly ended in tears when he gracelessly pitched over the jump I mentioned but we soon caught up with Al who was uncharacteristically having to retrieve himself from the bushes further down. Al later admitted he managed to spin his entire bike through 180° in a separate incident, so it’s easy to get into trouble.

Unfortunately, further back Sarah wasn’t so lucky. She came off her bike with enough force to break her wrist (as was later diagnosed), so that was her riding over for the day. John was able to help her down to the bridlepath while the rest of us waited anxiously, as it was some time before either of them appeared and it was either going to be a mechanical issue or, as it turned out, an injury. Thankfully it was ‘only’ the wrist, if that doesn’t sound too callous but I think you know what I mean. Sarah, get well soon and I hope we haven’t put you off!

The good thing was we were close enough to home for John to ride back and get his car while Dave and Kev waited with Sarah and the rest of us made our way home. All in, I had 30 miles door to door and had a thoroughly enjoyable ride, it was just a shame it ended badly.

Next week, we’re off to Salisbry Plain for some summer racing. Let’s hope the weather keeps something of the Vermouth about it!

Filed under Rides in May 2014


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 6 comments on ‘Ride report: Sunday 18 May – all in the wrist’

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  1. muddhist monk says:

    What nicely colour coordinated riders!

  2. Tony says:

    Looks like it was a brilliant day to be out on the trails.

    Hopefully the conditions will be that good until I can next hit the trails too.

  3. Dandy says:

    “some juicy singletrack which I think Dandy would greatly enjoy” – I believe she has already pleasured me, if it’s the trail that starts about 30-40m down from the church 😉 Looks like you all had a great ride; well, apart from Sarah – hope the wrist heals quickly.
    I was resting after my exertions the evening before at the QECP Day/Night Enduro, though in reality I was out of the house by 0745 to make the 9am Pit Walk at Brands Hatch. Akak’s account of the enduro event is waiting to roll off the presses. Meanwhile, get your name down for the July event when the entries open at the week-end. Details here

  4. Kev says:

    A Moletastic ride in probably the best weather and trail conditions of the year so far!
    Nice pics from JR that really show the glorious scenery of the Surrey hills.

    Wire in the blood, new trails on St Martha’s all made a long ride even more fun, loved ’em.

    Flinty Badman nearly claimed me as I perfected my best “dead sailor” technique over the log jump but managed to stay on board and hoon off downhill after Big (Nimble) Al and D’Dub who was flying.
    Imagine my surprise as we passed The Nimble one in the undergrowth with a startled look on his face having made an unplanned detour off the trail. 🙂

    Shane about Sarah’s incident but I am sure she would agree that me and Muddy Dave kept her entertained for 30 mins or so with our witty banter (feel free to change the spelling here) as we waited for the JR rescue vehicle to pick her up.

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