Muddymoles mountain biking in the Surrey Hills and Mole Valley

Ride report: Sunday 20 March – Holmbury ramble

Posted by Dandy | March 21, 2011 | 27 comments so far

A group of 7 (AndyW, me, Geoff, Dom, Peter, Pennie, Dave) gathered in Car Park No. 9 for a bright ‘n early start at 8am. Family commitments meant that most were aiming for a 3 hour ride so that all could be back home by mid-day.

I was especially keen to try out my new, longer-travel (150mm), Pace RC506. Thinking that Holmbury’s singletrack would be an ideal first ride, I was pleased to see Andy posting this ride on the Moles’ site, and interested to see what new trails I might discover!

Pace RC 506

The new Pace (I’ve been riding the RC405 – the little brother with ‘only’ 130mm of travel – for just over a year now) was bought because I couldn’t resist a bargain, and I really like the way the Pace suspension lay-out allows the bike to climb like a hardtail but with all the grip of a full-sus. With a 170mm RockShox Lyrik Solo Air fork, I see this as my ideal bike for future Alps trips (plus Cwmcarn DH, Snowdon, Lake District, etc.).

We set off fairly promptly, and in messing about with seatpost heights (the ‘uppy-downy’ post has yet to be fitted), I forgot to start the SatNav recording. I’ve been struggling with my new SatMap GPS unit. Mainly because I can’t read what the Menus say when I have my contact lenses in for riding. I really need to buy some reading glasses for mtb’ing; otherwise I end up in situations like last summer, when I had to remove one lens and chuck it away so that I could see how to repair my seized chain and mangled granny ring.

From the car park we headed up, before hanging a sharp right (where I remembered to start the SatNav) to cross the Telegraph Trail before bearing left up the hill again. A short single track to the green bench at the Fiveways junction saw us head up Holmbury Hill again before tackling ‘Doc at the Radar Station / Petit Filous’ (or whatever you want to call it!).

At this point I misjudged the width of my new 720mm RaceFace Atlas AM bars, clipped a branch, then headed down the slope sideways. No great harm done, so I thought, though later I discovered I’d managed to knock one of the control buttons off my SatMap (doh!).

Back up hill again for the main car park and ‘Surfer Rosa’. A few little extra tracks took us to some new trails which took us back to the pond that’s fairly near to the Youth Hostel.

Unfortunately, it was on this trail that one of my chainring bolts worked loose. I was unable to pedal as it was rubbing hard against my chain guide. Luckily for me, Andy & Dave knew their way around the RaceFace crank set up, and a quick removal of the drive side arm gave us enough gap to tighten up all the bolts (eek !). Having paused to reposition and tighten up the seatclamp bolt, I spent the rest of the ride wondering what was going to fall off next.

Having fixed my bike, Andy and Dave swapped machines for the climb away from the pond (towards the YHA), only for Andy to kindly snap Dave’s chain. At this point, Andy claimed his bike back and while Dave was left to fix a chain he didn’t break, we played around a small track that led back to the pond. At least it wasn’t me that was responsible for this particular stop.

At some point on the climb back up to Holmbury we picked up another rider (Jonathan?) who was out on his own for a ride. Following a neat little drop back towards the pond (again), Jonathan then showed us the singletrack that leads off Surfer Rosa (one I took some Moles down last year on an evening ride), a fast and flowing trail which linked up fairly neatly with the new trail back down to the pond. This was a nicer descent for me the second time, as with working chain rings I could pedal to pick up speed, rather than relying on pumping the trail as I had earlier.

Then it was back up Holmbury (again) before heading off to BKB. We searched for one of the alternative descents down to Peaslake, but extensive logging activity has trashed these trails, and only BKB offered a decent DH route to Peaslake. Then it was back up to Holmbury (bloody hell), before taking Yoghurt Pots, Telegraph and the rooty switchbacks back to Car Park 9.

We had a comedy moment at the bottom of Yoghurt Pots when a biker heading up the hill demanded, “Where’s the singletrack?”. Dave made it plain that a friendlier manner might elicit a more forthcoming response!

My SatNav, started after about 1km, showed a distance of 21km with a total ascent/descent of 830m. I recall we had a total time of 2 hrs 45 mins, with an actual riding time of 1 hr 25 mins. Allowing for the 5 mins where I failed to start the SatNav, did we really stop for an hour and a quarter?

It’s a little too soon to form an opinion on the Pace, especially given as I was concerned about the state of the drive train for most of the ride. As ever, it climbs pretty well. The real test of its descending abilities will be in a few weeks time where I have an uplift day booked for the Cwmcarn DH track. Meanwhile, here’s a few pics of the Pace RC506 to confirm my status as ‘Mr Bling’ (or 50p, the UK’s answer to 50 Cent).

Filed under Rides in March 2011


About the author

Having been mountain biking since 1996, you might have expected Dandy to have learnt to ride a bike by now. Several broken bones in the last few years prove the maxim that you can't teach an old dog new tricks.

In between hospital visits, Dandy rides a brace of much-blinged Pace RCs, the 'green themed' 405 and the silver & gold 506. His winter hack is the Moles' favourite, an On-One 456 hardtail, now converted to an Alfine hub He also dabbles in 'the dark arts', keeping 2 road bikes in one of his seven sheds.

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  1. Dave says:

    No cracks yet though? ;o)

  2. Matt says:

    That’s a great looking bike Andy, I think it’s colour scheme is more cohesive than your 405 in my opinion. Can’t go wrong with white grips anyway!

    I’ve had chainring bolts work loose before, on the ride I broke my collarbone. It’s a stupid mistake to make and resulted in me trashing two front rings shortly before my crash.

    My annoyance may or may not have contributed to me stacking it although I think it was more likely riding with too little respect for a tricky spot on the trail.

    Glad you got away with it though. Sounds like you’ve a handful of new trails to show us?

  3. paul901 says:

    That looks brilliant to put a basket on the front for trips down to the shops. Is that picture fooling me into thinking its a bit less bread and milk than it looks?

  4. StevenD says:

    D’Andy, I saw a Whyte 146 at the Hambleden Cake Stop on Saturday and along with your new build I think I would have seen two of the most stylish MTBs around by the time we get to Cwmcarn. Of course I am talking about form and shape, the longer forks fit so well but I am not sure about all the gold bits (note to self; take your darkest shades to Cwmcarn, LOL) but that is just personal taste – I just could not carry it off myself… black is the new bling in my world. 😉

  5. Jem says:

    Nice looking bike Dandy.

    By the look of the pictures, looks like you’ll be cutting the lawn next weekend if Mrs Dandina has anything to do with it!

    If not, how do you do it?? Or will you get one of the staff on it, whilst your out surfin the trails dude!

  6. Dandy says:

    Not yet, Dave. Let’s see if it (or me) survives a day at Cwmcarn 😉

    Matt – glad you like the tasteful colour scheme, but don’t diss the 405 as I could be riding it for a while longer yet. Re the chainring bolts, I was a bit annoyed (to say the least), but the mechanic assures me he torqued them up correctly. There’s no doubt it did affect my confidence for the rest of the ride, so it can all contribute to accidents if you’re not careful.

    Paul – it’s great for getting the bread and milk from the shop in Peaslake, especially if you start from Holmbury.

    Steven – silver is the new black, though I prefer to use Cathie’s description, gold and platinum, daaarling.

  7. JohnR says:

    With the gold price approach $1500 per oz, it’s easy to see where Dandy has got his inspiration for this season’s bike-bling trend. Personally I still think blue has a lot going for it, but I know that is so 2010.

    The ride report brings to mind that we haven’t been out to Holmbury for a while now. If we took the a reasonably direct route from Bocketts we could probably do it in a standard Sunday morning ride.

  8. Lee says:

    Jesus, Dandy/Fiddy/Fippy that is some bling, man. Looks like the modern-day composite gift from the three wise men!!

    Surely a small child could pass through that fork crown as well.

    I’m only jealous.


  9. Dave says:

    He’s copied my gold hubs though……

  10. AndyW says:

    In my defence I did offer to fix the chain, but Dave seemed ok with doing it given it snapped on the first incline we came to. gave him an excuse to have a rest anyway 🙂

  11. Dandy says:

    Well you got me thinking there, John, and in our weekly sales meeting (zzzzzzzzz) I managed to think of a reasonable route.

    How about: Heading over to the Abba Zabba complex and down to Abinger Roughs. Then down to the A25 by Paddington Farm and across to the ‘Volunteer’ ( a section we normally do in reverse coming back from Leith/Holmbury).

    After a refreshing pint (ok, just kidding) we head to the Youth Hostel, where I could repeat a few trails
    from Sunday. Depending on time we could stretch these to
    include old faces like Yoghurt Pots and Telegraph as well.

    Then it’s back to Car Park 9 via the rooty switchbacks before heading back to Abinger Roughs via the Volunteer (and a second pint?). High Mediterranean and ‘And then there were three’ could round off the day before heading back to Bocketts via what takes our fancy (no, not a new

    How does that sound?

  12. JohnR says:

    Sounds fantastic Andy. I would be tempted by a short homeward stop at The Volunteer, even if it meant missing out And Then There WereThree.

  13. Tony says:

    Very nice Andy! Maybe it’s just the bright sunlight or is it really that shiny? Shades at the ready when this one gets rolled out.

    Now 170mm? Are you sure this time after your 405’s “130mm” forks?

  14. Colin says:

    Is that a long, long, long travel bike or have you fitted 20″ wheels ?

    Enjoy your new toy

  15. Dandy says:

    Deffo 26″ wheels Col, I measured it at the same time I checked to make sure my 170mm fork really was 170mm (you will be glad to know, Tony). I’ve had a gold hub on the On-One (with matching gold QR, brake fittings and seatclamp) for a couple of years now, Dave. And, yes Jem, La Dandina is very keen for me to give that lawn its first trim of the year.

  16. Dandy says:

    Err, just in case anyone misconstrues that last comment, please refer to the length of the grass in my back garden where the photos were taken.

    If you want double entendres, Lee, I will give you one 😉

  17. Colin says:

    In this day and age of full shaves and brazilians, how refreshing to see a lawn of such ample coverage and length !

    (and thanks for making me laugh out loud to the bemusement of colleagues!!!!)

  18. Matt says:

    It’s certainly a very luxuriant and fullsome growth, but I think well all agree a little topiary shows more self respect.

    Having said that, there’s room for everyone, I’m very much of the opinion ‘don’t rule anything out’ these days!! Which reminds me, my grass needs cutting too…

  19. PIJ says:

    Trimmed her “back garden” left me speachless. What type of hairy Neanderthals live over there in Mole Land?

  20. Dandy says:

    Moving the subject back to mountain biking (sorry chaps, but as I ‘inadvertently’ started this new direction to the post I feel somewhat responsible for dragging us back out of whatever reverie we are currently indulging in), are we thinking of Holmbury this Sunday then? Long-term forecasts for the w/e currently predicting cold and dry 🙂

  21. DaveW says:

    Dandy bike Dandy – should be lots of fun.

  22. paul901 says:

    “I bet she’s trimmed her back garden” snigger.

    Sandy, no matter how much you try and recover this thread the damage is done and a legendary phrase is born…

  23. paul901 says:

    or Dandy even, doh!

  24. PIJ says:

    A friend of mine went the artificial grass way years ago – he has to hoover it. Looks horrid when laid, then it goes all flat over time and looks even worse. What’s wrong with plain ordinary concrete if you don’t like grass?

    Sorry, but I agree: “my neighbour has a neatly trimmed back garden” is here to stay, even though we all kind of made it up out of nothing. For some reason it made me laugh…. But then I am doing DiY at the mo’ – and I’m sure somebody here can make a double entendre out of that!

  25. paul901 says:

    Dandy, my conscience hadn’t rested on the impressions you have given La Dandina of the Moles so to try and restore our good name I called last night to assure her of our moral fibre. I was sad to learn you were sleeping in the shed and with the words ringing in my ears “I’ll trim my rear garden when that good for nothing gets a longer stem” I thought perhaps calling wasn’t such a good idea after all.

    On reflection though it’s all Dave’s fault. His original reply clearly baited you…

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