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

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Ride report: Sunday 21 February – no shortage of mud

Posted by Matt | February 21, 2016 | 12 comments so far

The Moles on Wolverns Lane

The Moles on Wolverns Lane

It seems somewhat churlish to complain about mud. After all, here at MoleHQ the Muddymoles have defined themselves by it. But really, I think we’ve had enough of it by now.

Putting a positive on it, as we near the start of March, perhaps todays grinding experience of wrestling with never ending Bastard Glue Mud™ was the sign of things improving. No? Not even if the mud is extra-sticky because it’s drying out? No, I thought not. It was simply a case of Too Much Mud.

We did our best to avoid it. We set course for Leith Hill hoping for drier, sandier trails and easier riding but by the time we’d dragged ourselves over from Bockett’s we were all running on empty I think, even though the riding was good fun.

Nattering Moles on Yew Trees

Nattering Moles on Yew Trees

Our group this morning welcomed Rui, new to the area but not to mountain biking and long-absent Darren, as well as Phoenix Tony who has revived – slightly – from a nasty flu to start his return to riding again. I’ve a friend whose sister in law spent three weeks in a coma recently with Swine Flu so it’s good to see Tony recovering. The rest of us were Lloyd, DDub, Elliott, Kev, Karl and Mark. After a bit of ribbing from John on the forum about my non-appearance last week there was no sign of him which was a little ironic.

We set off for Yew Trees and found the Admirals’ Track to be pretty muddy – a precursor to the ride itself. By the time we’d reached Yew Trees, John had magically appeared and Rui had a puncture from the savage thorns along Admirals. We’ve all been there!

Hawthorns equals punctures

Hawthorns equals punctures

So, down, then up Yew Trees, followed by a long slog up to Ranmore and was it my imagination or was even the climb itself, normally a firm surface, showing signs of mud? That became academic really as we crossed the Ranmore Road and headed down Badger Run where there was no doubt that the notorious Surrey clay was in great supply. Darren headed down Wire in the Blood II while the rest of us plugged away to head down LandRover, at the bottom of which could be smelt the burning Scent of Circumspection from our brakes. It was a fun ride all the way down but not one to be too blase about today.

The Rookery loomed and being tucked in behind Darren on the lower slopes I found myself pushing to keep up until a moment of lucidity helped me realise the error of my ways. It doesn’t help to have any delusional thoughts when its so early in the year. Even so, my HR was pushing the limits as the climb took its toll.

After catching our collective breath we carried on up Wolverns with plenty more mud to contend with despite being on drier ground. This resulted in some deep puddles near the crossroads and we opted for MarkyMarks’s alternate route to take us up toward Summer Lightning. Halfway along, Darren generously offered me the use of his Devinci Spartan which I hung on to for much of time on Leith Hill today. I was very reluctant to give it up and found it a significant contrast with my venerable Five.

As we reached the Tower, Tony’s lungs told him to take it easy while Ddub took us off on a magical mystery tour around the lower slopes of Leith. Great and varied were the trails we covered but my goodness they were tiring and as muddy as I’ve seen them. By the time we’d returned to the Tower for cake and coffee I think we were all starting to feel rather second-hand – I know I was. It was chilly and we ended up sheltering from the wind while far off over Ranmore we could see the sun was out.

After refueling, and with Tony back with us after a quite spin round by himself to keep warm we started for home. This was via the all-weather Summer Lightning trail from the Tower, littered today with small kids and excitable dogs. With the luxury of the Devinci this was a blast and despite being set up very firmly it proved to by a very stable and predictable bike to be on, although it has to be said Darren wasn’t showing any problems on my Five. The Devinci was very secure on the front end with the Pike’s its running and this was most obvious to me as we negotiated the rooty mess leading on to Waggledance where the bike went precisely where I wanted it to.

The ‘old’ Summer Lightning’ was next and here again the Devinci excelled, being far less work to go fast than I’d normally expect. After all that, climbing back onto the Five to return down Wolverns Lane was quite a shock to the system, as it felt far less planted with much slower steering. Who knows, perhaps the Four has this sort of thing covered?

From here it was a case of grinding out the miles home, with each of us slowly entering our own Circle of Pain as our legs gracefully but firmly gave up their willingness to co-operate. Every hill proved more of an effort than the last, first Wix Hill, then the long haul up High Med (where we parted from Darren), the the tarmac climb to Ranmore and a fast but vague blast down Dearly Beloved.

That left just the few miles up through the Polesden Lacey estate and the final, awful few hundred yards through the Somme of Connicut Lane. I don’t think I’ve seen the Moles collectively looking so tired as we finished our ride back where we started at Bockett’s Farm, the effects of heavy mud and fairly hard effort leading several to declare varying degrees of exhaustion as we compared Strava notes later in the afternoon.

I’m sure the trails are drying up!?

Filed under Rides in February 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 12 comments on ‘Ride report: Sunday 21 February – no shortage of mud’

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  1. Elliot says:

    Yep, I’m getting a bit disappointed with the current mud situation. Not least because (believe it or not) there was a week of dry riding mid February last year. Hopefully it’s just getting worse before it gets better…VERY SOON PLEASE!

    Summer Lightning was great. Though not quite up to summer speeds it was running well. Perhaps I was just happy to ride a trail with enough grip to lean the bike and hold a line?

    Nice to see so many riders out!

  2. Lloyd says:

    Mixed day. New bike was fantastic, my legs less so. Enjoyed the company as usual but my stamina is no match for the BGM at the moment and I was shredded by the end, actually by Leith really and Dave’s magical tour of all the mud holes of Leith.
    However then spent several hours in A&E as one of my contacts had dried out and glued itself to my eye.

    Looking forward to next week already!!!

  3. JR says:

    Great ride, nice to see Darren again and newbie Rui.

    Thank goodness for double tea and a slice of fruitcake at the tower.

  4. Kev says:

    Mud. Hah! Who needs it. Had enough now, its time for a change in the seasons surely?

    Another top ride report swiftly posted on the same day, what a standard you have now set for the future 😉
    Great to see 11 riders out for a thrash on a Sunday, all in good spirits with plenty of banter.

    Some sections of the ride resembled our last Mountain Mayhem trip where the mud was like sloppy brown porridge with the consistency of melted chocolate!

    Arriving back over the top of Polesden saw a few riders with the dreaded “100 yard” stare, who were clearly running on empty. I wasn’t far off that myself with legs cramping and parts of the bike protesting and rubbing where they shouldnt be! That kind of ride sure is hard on components.

    Feeling good today tho’ so I guess we just keep doing it.

  5. Tony says:

    The reborn pheonix message didn’t get to my lungs and I really struggled at the start of the ride. My extra (two cuppas and cake) time stop at the Tower gave me a chance to recover and get my riding head back on. After the tower I felt much better and enjoyed the ride more as it went on. Now just to recoup my lost fitness. It’s coming back but slowly.

    Good to be out even if it was in BGM

  6. Karl says:

    We must be self selecting masochists.
    By Leith Hill Tower I had zero glycogen left in the legs. cake, energy gel and coffee didn’t help much.

    No breakfast and relentless bastard glue mud took a heavy toll.

    Pain and discomfort all the way back.. running on empty.. and yet, bizarrely, it felt like a great ride.

    Thanks for speedy and well written ride report Matt.

    As Lloydy says..lookingforward to next week!
    Who needs sanity?

  7. DaveW says:

    Yep, t’was a good workout and good to see everyone. I also found a big prick stuck in my tubeless shorty.

  8. Rui says:

    I had loads of fun but felt it hard on the legs at the end. There is no road biking that can prepare you to that kind of mud.

    Looking forward to joining you again with dryer ground.
    Tubeless tyres are a must around here. I realised I had a second flat when I arrived, lucky it wasn’t earlier.

    Thank you for your help and patience with the flat tyre.

    See you all soon.

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