Muddymoles mountain biking in the Surrey Hills and Mole Valley

Ride report: Sunday 18 Sept – The long way to Newlands

Posted by Matt | September 18, 2016 | 10 comments so far

The Moles at St. Marthas Church
So really, this is an actual ride report. Wow it’s been a while hasn’t it?

Actually, the only hiatus has been in writing up our exploits; we’ve been riding just as much as we’ve always been, as a perusal of the Rides Forum will show. It’s just, well, it takes time to write up reports and personally I’ve been pretty busy.

So this is by no means going to be an exhaustive account of today’s activities, hampered as I am by an incident this afternoon with the secateurs, but here goes.

Convening at Bocketts Farm as usual were Elliott, MarkP, DDub, D’Andy, JamesS and myself. The initial suggestion was for a winch and plummet ride but after a couple of damp days (including some moisture overnight) I was in the mood for Newlands. As luck would have it, so were the others although D’Andy pressed for a climb up St. Marthas.

The long way round it was then.

So off we went. Along Admirals, then up to Polesden and a run down to Pamploma, followed by the long climb to Ranmore. The trails have held up well so despite softening they are still pretty good.

Wire in the Blood however was dispatched somewhat cautiously with my rigid Plus bike (the Marin Pine Mountain) but actual grip was good if you showed some respect to the roots. From there it was along the Ranmore ridge to tackle Abba Zabba, with progress being nicely paced.

The Abba Zabba complex was fun, again caution kicked in and I decided against Blind Terror, while crossing the White Down road to the other side also needed care over the chalky step but the whole run down to the bottom was controlled and enjoyable. Somehow we managed to pick up the lower slopes of (I’m guessing) Reformation which made a pleasant change.

White Down road itself was littered with rain run-off and debris so things were a bit cyclocross for the many roadies riding up and down it but we were soon on the Abinger Roughs and heading toward Shere.

By the this the sun made a welcome autumnal appearance which was a bonus based on various weather reports. Negotiating many runners on a charity event meant a bit of consideration was needed but everyone was in good spirits as we headed toward Farley Green and then on to Black Heath.

The sandy surface here belied the overnight rain and thanks to Elliott’s confident navigation we made good progress; having travelled the same route with DaveC a few weeks back I think we’d have managed to find our way anyway but with much more umm’ing and ahh’ing in the process.

All this served to deliver us to the bottom of St. Martha’s Hill and the opportunity to drag ourselves up the tricky climb which is quite rough in places and unrelentingly steep. Oh for an Alpine uplift.

I made the right choice letting James past me as he and Elliott pulled away from me easily despite James being on his Canyon fat bike. My Marin weighs a ton but I managed a dab-free effort and was grateful of the chance to rest while waiting for the others, before we continued up to St. Martha’s church itself (I’ve never been right to the top!). Then it was back down a cheeky downhill, dodging an excitable dog before the final drag on the road up to Newlands Corner.

St. Marthas ChurchJust for a change I settled on a Big Al special at Newlands, an egg and bacon roll to help fuel me for the second part of the ride. Unusually, no sign of Nick and Graham at Newlands, which is very surprising!

Our return was back along the North Downs Way, thankfully at a sensible, sociable pace after my cafe consumption. Along the way, we sampled the pleasure of No-name and the painful grind back up as a reward of sorts, before the Sawmill trail. I was following Mark who was on a lovely new Yeti 575 and was happy to be keeping him in sight when he took a nasty tumble on the final rooty section, bashing his knee and wrist quite badly and painfully.

After assessing the damage Mark was able to continue, which meant a long drag back up to the Drovers Road via some interesting detours where various trees and vegetation have collapsed over the summer. We even saw (but didn’t document) some bright orange bracket fungus.

Back on the Drovers Road, it was a steady spin back to Ranmore, then a final bit of fun of Ricin Beans which we were happy to show to a lone guy out scouting the area. I had great fun staying with D’Andy all the way down who was taking a decided ‘speedway’ approach to the turns as he clearing wasn’t feeling the love from his tyres.

Final mileage was just over 30 miles for me on a ride that suited the Marin reasonably well. The Kenda Havocs feel like they will be a liability if (and when) the trails soften further but I’m sticking to my hope things will stay in good shape until at least November! Thanks for the company everyone as always.

Oh and that secateur incident this afternoon? There I was lovingly tending my rampant bush when a moments inattention lead me to put a 5mm slice into the pad of my middle finger. How it bled…

Filed under Rides in September 2016


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 10 comments on ‘Ride report: Sunday 18 Sept – The long way to Newlands’

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  1. Dandy says:

    I perversely enjoyed the combination of XC distance interspersed regularly with some fun local trails, and was happy to have also made it up to St. Martha’s without dabbing.

    It was an afternoon for gardening accidents, I managed to get the end of a bamboo cane into my eye when picking tomatoes. Fortunately it seems no permanent damage has been done, I just look as if I’ve drunk more wine than I usually manage on Sunday evenings!

  2. ColBeano says:

    Haha. Graham and Nick, those omni-present mtb’ers were out my way, i bumped into them on Infestation

    Sounds like a cracking ride

  3. markp says:

    excellent ride all round if I do say so myself. Managed to avoid the planed afternoon DIY on account of my Sawmill tumble……my local A&E put a few stitches in my knee after all!

  4. markp says:

    …… I just wanted to trump the gardening related incidents

  5. Davew says:

    Blimey, I’m glad I retired early and avoided any bloodshed by lying on the sofa comfortably snoozing through the kids’ umpteenth viewing of bloody ‘chamber of secrets’!

    Get well soon all of you.

  6. Elliot says:

    Those roots were lying there waiting for an unsuspecting rider. I remembered they weren’t much less slippery in the dry a few weeks back so happily slowed to mincing speed!

    No gardening accidents for me in the afternoon but I did put a pair of mud tyres on the Kona. Might need to revisit that after discovering both were flat as pancakes this morning! 🙁

  7. Tony says:

    Accident with the secateurs? Not the naked gardening again Matt!!

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