Muddymoles: Mountain biking (MTB) in the Surrey Hills and Mole ValleyMuddymoles: Mountain biking (MTB) in the Surrey Hills and Mole Valley

Cycling News, Reviews, Chat and Ride reports

Ride report: Sunday 20 March – Yah for the gnarr at QECP

Posted by Matt | March 22, 2016 | 18 comments so far

Mole maintenance watched by the Giant of Horsham

Mole maintenance watched by the Giant of Horsham

This picture perfectly sums up my morning at QECP, though fortunately not everybody elses. In fact, we had a blast.

Somehow I found myself agreeing to a trip to QECP – Queen Elizabeth Country Park – down the A3 near Petersfield on the South Downs. The Moles have ridden there before during the course of some Enduro racing instigated by D’andy, and some of us will be there again for more of the same later this year. I won’t be joining them, having retired from competitive sport…

So Sunday found myself, Kev, Jem, Elliott and Karl shivering in the car park at QECP, each of us having anticipated warmer conditions than we got. At least it was dry and the trails were in good condition. You have the option of a red and blue route through the park with lots of under the radar locals trails which includes trails either being prepped or left over from the Enduro racing I mentioned before.

We stuck mostly to the red which proved to be perfect for our tastes – tough but do-able climbs, flowy descents with a few doubles and berms thrown in down relatively steep but comfortably rideable terrain. Think of an extended Wonderland and you won’t be far wrong, with the trails being clay over chalk over roots. Fine in the dry, OK today but very tricky in damp conditions I’d say.

The main feature of the ride for me, as I said, was captured in the initial photo above – my 1×10 drivetrain has cried enough after 1050 miles and resolutely refused to keep the chain on the chainring over relentlessly rutted terrain. I must have dropped my chain 10 times at least which proved hugely frustrating. My rag of maintenance has proved inadequate to the task which means it’s time for a new cassette/chainring/chain combo and the possibility that a chain device may save further hassle in the Alps this summer.

For the rest of the group it was business as usual as they proved their competence over the course of the red before Elliott discovered a coffin shaped corner for him to lie down on and Karl carved a berm with his knees. Jem led us down the Enduro trail he rode in far worse conditions last summer and while it was fun, my mad skillz seemed to have escaped with my chain problems. It was pretty steep stuff and my bike and rider combo didn’t really feel up to the task although the others rode it all rather better than I.

I’d be happy to return though after an extended dry spell as it’s a proper change from our normal trails and the short red gave us plenty of entertainment over the course of 12 miles of riding (we did it about 1 and a half times).

The Moles at QECP

The Moles at QECP

Elliott finds a coffin shaped corner

Elliott finds a coffin shaped corner

The moles negotiating the QECP Enduro course

The moles negotiating the QECP Enduro course

Seeing the funny side

Seeing the funny side

Elliott railing a berm

Elliott railing a berm

Karl post-op

Karl post-op

It's enduro, yah?

It’s enduro, yah?

Karl is flying

Karl is flying

Man on a mission

Man on a mission

Matt jumps his Five

Matt jumps his Five

Kev - man of action

Kev – man of action

Matt goes round the bend

Matt goes round the bend

Filed under Rides in March 2016

Matt

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 he's now running a YT Industries Jeffsy 29er and a Bird Zero AM Boost.

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 18 comments on ‘Ride report: Sunday 20 March – Yah for the gnarr at QECP’

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  1. Southside Johnnie says:

    God write up, and I love the pic of Karl flying.

    I’d love to visit with the Moles when it gets drier, although I am a bit concerned by that photo of Elliot walking downhill – if it’s too technical for him. . . . ?

  2. StevenD says:

    Great pics. Matt, the cure to your problems is to upgrade to 2x, it is reliable and works so well. Or maybe you just need an oval ring ? 😀

    • Matt says:

      Steven, I’ve just made the switch to oval (plus new cassette and chain) off the back of this weeks ride. It been coming for a while and I reckon an 11-34 with 34T oval ring will be fine. I can always downsize the chainring if it’s too much.

      I just find a 2x set up results in a lot of chopping between rings looking for the ideal gear while a 3x is a bit pointless as 90% of the time I’m in the middle. So 1x wins, especially with the increases in rear cog size. I probably do need a small chain device for security though.

  3. Kev says:

    I think you will find that the Giant of Horsham is not allowed to remove his gloves or get his hands dirty … it is written in his riding contract! 🙂

    What a ride! Great trails and “interesting” enduro section that Jem suggested we would love and no harm would come to us!!
    Waahaaaa, cue much sliding, dismounting, bike throwing, lying down in coffin shaped gullies and insane laughter … and that was in the dry. Sheesh!

    Love the collection of pics we all took and nicely presented as always Matt.

  4. Karl says:

    Loved it!
    Pure punishment up climb after climb, but great fun over the rough stuff.
    Great company,
    Well illustrated by several, and well written ride report. Thanks Matt. I commented that it really must have been very frustrating for you to drop that chain every time you started to enjoy the downhills, but you took it all in good stead,

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