Muddymoles mountain biking in the Surrey Hills and Mole Valley

Ride report: Sunday 22 July – Happy snappy

Posted by Matt | July 24, 2012 | 10 comments so far

Matt on Deliverance 2

Photo: Karl Attard. All rights reserved

The photo you see here is a lightly Photoshop’d version of one of Karl’s efforts this Sunday. You can understand the look on my face as I was trying desperately to ride Deliverance 2 for the first time, while ignoring the professional photographer in the bushes to my right!

I always knew men could multi task…

Karl fancied capturing some of our Mole action for a new idea he’s working on and set out on Sunday with a back pack which involved a DSLR and a variety of lenses. The results here are just a few of his efforts, of which we’ll see more in the future. It’s always a pain trying to capture quality photos as it disrupts the photographer’s ride so much, so it’s great to see Karl turning his professional skills to this.

At the car park we had a number of riders keen to ‘showcase their talent’. This included two new riders, Nathan and Mark, plus Kev, DaveC, JohnR, PaulM, Big Al, Elliott, Andrew, Ray, JonH and of course Karl. I was riding my Orange for the first time since June’s Mountain Mayhem, such has been my busy (hungover) social life and lack of interest in rain since.

We set off to Polesden, with nice dry trails and a hot sun on our backs. Nice and dry except for the occasional bottomless puddle that is, which we soon found on the Admiral’s Track. Up to Polesden we headed for Hogden Lane, then down the long sweeping descent to Pamplona, where we cut across the field for a change.

JohnR messed with our heads by waving us through at the bottom gate, only to speed past us and hold the gate open at the top! I was only too happy, knowing we were headed to Leith Hill and only just getting my mtb legs switched on. The climb up to Ranmore was a steady affair and then from there we crossed the road and along to LandRover.

Here Karl headed off for his first set of shots, his brakes squealing through the woods. When they stopped it was hard to tell if he’d fallen off or if he was just getting himself ready. I shouldn’t have doubted his Jedi skillz though as we were each in turn captured in a flash of light as we passed him halfway down.

At the bottom it was down to the railway and then through Wescott to climb up past the Rookery. I found myself hooked on the back of John and Andrew and had resigned myself to a bit of an effort to keep up when we thankfully caught the rest of our group. This meant a single file winch up the hill at the pace of whoever was at the front, which suited me just fine.

Along Wolverns Lane, John and I started to get into a nice flow chasing Jon, Al and Elliott, which had me panting by the time I arrived at the crossroads. From here, after a brief rest waiting for us all to regroup we turned right for the short downhill, taken at a sensible pace today due to the heavily eroded surface.

Dave on Deliverance 2

Photo: Karl Attard. All rights reserved

Al was leading us on one of his special rides and I was quickly confused. I know we rode Windy Willows, with the log roll at the end but after that we popped out onto tarmac for a few yards, which my GPS says is Sheephouse Lane but I’m just not that familiar with the west side of the hill. The intent was to ride Deliverance 2, which is a new one to me. Sandy, with loose sandstone and roots it’s a typical Leith Hill descent really, but bordered by ever growing bracken it wasn’t easy to see a clear line.

I just went for it and once over the root step where Karl snapped me it was a clean run out. I can imagine it being easy to overcook things with too much speed as it’s actually reasonably steep. At least I managed to look a bit gnarr for a change.

What followed was a long climb back up the hill, where we managed to split the group briefly. With mobile phones unable to make contact we headed on to the Tower, reasoning that’s where people would be headed and sure enough, there they were! On the way Al took on a few meanders through the rhododrenrons, all good stuff.

Moles take a break at Leith Hill Tower

Photo: Karl Attard. All rights reserved

After some lemon drizzle cake – not bad but it could have done with a bit more drizzle – we set off for home, with John deciding he needed a faster route home. So we said goodbye to him and Ray and headed off for Personal Hygiene with riders splitting to find a variety of lines, then continuing the flow over the bridlepath and down through the woods to near the bottom of the Tower climb.

Across the hill, the sun was now truly scorching and I was wishing for some sunglasses. The problem I have is a need for prescription lens sports shades that don’t steam up at the slightest effort, if anyone has any ideas I’m all ears. And yes, that’s me moaning about it being TOO HOT, typical of us Brits isn’t it?!!

On the whole I was quite happy with my riding today. It was a little rough round the edges but fortunately I’m well dialled in with my Five, so much so that I found myself seriously tempted by Deliverance when I arrived at the top. Jedi Karl shot down, daring us to follow after he’d got his camera out. Big Al duly obliged and then Jon followed on his plastic Yeti. I wavered but decided against it, feeling the tiredness creeping up on me.

So I followed the rest of us onto Waggledance. I really like this underestimated trail which suffers in comparison to Summer Lightning I think. For me it has a nice flow, with short uphill section, sweet sweeping bermy bends and short drops in gradient. I followed Elliott with PaulM close behind and I think we all enjoyed it.

After that we headed for home via Summer Lightning, which I scored a reasonable time on considering I totally screwed up the start of the second section, hitting the weathered log at the start and then ploughing erratically into the bramble-shrouded tree stump in the centre of the trail. I braced myself, expecting damage to the bike at least, but in fact managed to keep going unscathed!

Another photo opportunity presented itself in the form of the log further down the trail toward the crossroads, Karl snapping a number of efforts, some better than others! Mine was feeble, distracted by Al’s failure to pin his landing and then I minced about the muddy puddle in the run up. Further down the trail we all had fun launching off the step as you drop off the high bank onto the sandy lane below.

Jon on Wolverns Lane

Photo: Karl Attard. All rights reserved

All this meant Karl had to play catch up to meet us at the top of the Rookery climb, his enthusiasm leading to a pinch flat on landing as he dropped down the final steps to meet us. I won’t say he was out of control since he wasn’t upside down at the time (and I have seen people do that) but his rear wheel didn’t like it! So ensued a period during which Karl wrestled to insert a disconcertingly green latex prophylactic into it’s intended home.

Underway again, down the Rookery which tempts you into speed before you realise the bracken at the bottom effectively masks anyone coming up the other way. This included – further down the path – a group of horse riders which we had to brake sharply for. We held them up while we made sure all our riders had arrived and seen them, prompting a rapid, and sometimes startled, slither to a standstill for most. Always expected the unexpected on these trails.

The final run home involved the easier option of High Med where I settled into a good pace. Even though I didn’t really kick into overdrive until a while into the climb I must have been much more tired than I realised though, as I was over a minute off my best time up there.

We all agreed on Dearly Beloved as the final descent and set off enthusiastically. Karl in front of me slammed hard into an unyielding hedge near the top due to a surprisingly gloopy puddle throwing him off line but with no real harm done. The two of us cantered down, enjoying the speed, but I could feel my concentration starting to go as the tiredness kicked in further. At the bottom, we had a split group with half of them ahead of us, and no sign of people behind. We headed up to the gate for the old Polesden drive and waited there for a while, eventually moving on after ten minutes or so to join the others.

More waiting ensued while phone calls were made (unsuccessfully) before the group split again and myself, Al and Jon headed on. We eventually found Dave and the rest of the breakaway group on the tarmac at Polesden, having climbed up Bagden Hill on the tarmac to try and head us off!

By now it was really late, past 1:00pm so as the penny dropped, Dave, Elliott and I set off at a rapid rate to get home for our respective commitments! All in all, 25 miles for me in temperatures close to 25°, which really took it’s toll on me in the afternoon. It shows my lack of trail riding recently I guess but I was knackered!!

Filed under Rides in July 2012


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 22 July – Happy snappy’

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  1. Andrew akak says:

    It was a great ride and the pics are very nice.

    I felt better descending with the improved ground conditions and worse ascending sa I don’t feel summer fit right now!

  2. LordOnOne says:

    Looking forward to seeing more of Karl’s photos…and hoping to see a gap between my tyres and the ground in some!

    Still a little unsure how I came to be facing the wrong way on the slope down from the tower and how I managed to make such a pig’s ear of the bombholes before Waggledance.

    Might be able to work my way up to the hard route on Deliverance 2 now I’ve tried the easy one. Or just bring a bigger skill-compensator.

  3. Karl says:

    Thanks for the great ride report Matt, and of course, all the mentions, and credits. Blimey, I better lie low for a bit.

    Sincere apologies to JonH for (accidentally) riding over his very expensive new carbon Yeti on Lightning, at considerable speed, when he’d experienced an uncharacteristic off.
    He’s a tough Scott who took it very lightly.. I’m most relieved no damage was done.. Especially to my nose, had he reacted badly.

    It’s very nice to finally give a little something back to the Moles, and am glad the pics look alright above. A big thanks to them for letting me practice with ‘live ammo’. I’ll be doing some more too, if they can bear it.

    My back was destroyed after hulking that bag around, up hill it was murder, and a huge thanks to the human dynamo JR for taking it off me for the whole climb up Leith.. didn’t even seem to slow him down..

    There was an upside to the added weight on the downs tho, as Dave may testify.. Whoops.. sorry Dave. Big Al also thought it highly amusing, that I needed the junk-iron at the bottom of Deliverance to assist my stop.

    A wonderful sunny ride with great company, great trails, and a few snaps..
    Can’t be bad!

  4. MuddyJohn says:

    A fantastic ride last Sunday – at last the conditions are starting to improve and Al’s route took me into areas of Leith I never even knew existed – Deliverance 2 was great fun. I’ll be checking the Garmin traces to see where we went, and I just hope when we do get out again, probably 2 weeks time, will be as much fun.

    Great pics Karl, and I am happy to carry the camera anytime – but you were probably wise to take it on the downhill sections yourself.

  5. KevS says:

    Loved it! Great weather, awesome trails plus scream and plunge opportunities courtesy of Big Al’s woodland trail knowledge!

    Top pics courtesy of our in house paparazzi snapper Karl (The Fearless) and all ridden in good company with the usual level of social banter!

    What’s not to like?

  6. nathe says:

    What a great day, Thanks to Dave and all the fella’s that were out looking after myself and Mark. Look forward to joining you all again for future rides. I’m feel so proud of my little piglet hanging from my living room wall all covered in mud, woop woop

  7. DaveW says:

    Nice snaps Karlos – keep it up.

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