Muddymoles mountain biking in the Surrey Hills and Mole Valley

Ride Report: Sunday 23 August – North Downs killer loop

Posted by Colin | August 24, 2009 | 20 comments so far

Today’s route: North Downs killer loop on bikely

I’m a little spoilt for choice in deciding on a punch line to sum up the Sunday ride, some of which are self-explanatory and others will be explained later. Lets try:

  • And then there were…17
  • Killer Loop
  • Stop Thief
  • Saved by an ice cream

As usual, the Upcoming facility wasn’t really adopted by those attending, excluding yours truly. So whilst it looked as if the ride would be Matt (who wasn’t actually coming anyway) and me, I was a little taken aback to count 16 other riders before we set off.

I’ve given up trying to do the names thing, I could only get to 14 and don’t wish to do those I can’t name an injustice.

A couple to mention specifically were 1) New rider Martin – barely done anything more than 5 mile commutes on a new bike and he showed true Iron Man qualities to complete the ride – respect indeed and 2) Another new rider but clearly seasoned MTB’er who’s name I didn’t catch but stood out as being unable to walk due to an Achilles injury but it didn’t seem to stop him riding.

We were also joined by a number of other infrequent riders as well as a smattering of regulars. It became clear early on that with Jem, Jez, Barrie, JohnR and Dominic present, there was going to be a leading peloton who would stretch us out and who also exhibited great levels of patience toward the end of the ride whilst waiting for the rear guard.

Killer Loop it was (soon to be posted up on bikely). It was something I’d wanted to try for ages but never got round to it. Following an exchange of messages with Rob, who was familiar with the territory, it was sorted and we gratefully received his input, learning some more new stuff in the Redlands that will doubtless feature on future rides – cheers Robster!

So we started by climbing Alsatian and following that up with the Alpine Trail and High Ashurst climb to the Box Hill road. Then the never-ending and challenging descent to Brockham, followed by some road work to get across to Holmwood Common which ultimately took us on a bridleway to Redlands. Just one snag being we were at the wrong end.

It was a great climb though but I spent the last of my energy chips keeping Barrie in sight which pretty much ended my ride in terms of my mojo – it was endurance from here on as I was shattered.

After climbing up Redlands, Rob stepped in to reveal some new stuff including a superbly steep, winding and sketchy descent which formed part of his alternative way of getting from Redlands to Summer Lightning. I think we made it down without spillages though myself and a few others confessed to walking it down – falling on my very tender rib cage was not an option today.

There seemed to be a few grumpy walkers out today and I’m afraid Lee innocently further incurred the wrath of one by snagging her handbag on his bar end as he passed her on Wolvens Lane. Who’d have thought it – handbag snatching in the Surrey Hills!

We hit Westcott (after a fun and cheeky alternative to the Rookery descent suggested by Irish Paul’s mate – nice one) and riders started to peel off leaving a still sizeable core to tackle White Down and home via Ranmore etc.

White Down was my own personal Mont Ventoux yesterday – Lee and I whinging at the half way point that Moles rides seem to have gotten too fast lately!! In truth, both of us were struggling big time, Lee having had 3 hours sleep and me a little of the same amplified by my restricted breathing. I wonder how long I’ll be able to keep relying on the ribs excuse? Not until the Dusk til Dawn that’s for sure!

We eventually arrived at the top to be greeted by the still fresh-faced fast group patiently waiting and it was all fairly standard from there – other than DaveC, Jem and I opting to take an ice cream stop at Ranmore. The double flake 99 got me through the penultimate climb of the day under the stone bridge at Polesden and home from there.

A great ride once again – nice to see the new and familiar faces for what turned out to be a killer 50km loop in perfect weather.

Filed under Rides in August 2009


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  1. Dave says:

    My whole body aches again today after that mammoth ride. The sharp little drop followed by that “steep and loose” descent were excellent.

    Good ride though and I look forward to trying to find those bits over from Redlands again.

    I was just shy of 50miles for the weekend so very pleased with that.

  2. Jez says:

    Good route Stig. There were so many new bits I felt I’d moved. I can feel every mile in my legs today.

  3. Lee says:

    That was a great route Stig, despite being completely off the pace all ride. I think I had bonked mentally at least when Alsation was uttered in the car park and physically when we got into redlands. White Down was Mont Ventoux, Col du Tourmalet and Alp d’Huez rolled into one for me yesterday!

    And we got a glimpse of one third of the ‘Dorking Cocks’ – those guys seem quick. Bring on D2D????

  4. John R says:

    That was a great ride – I would love to see the route posted somewhere because I had no idea how we got from the Arkle Manor to Wolvens.

    I was thankful of the rest at Redlands, when we stopped for Lee to have a bonk.

  5. Baz says:

    Hi Guys

    thanks for another great ride on sunday, the loop was great, more please!..mind you i had plenty gulps with a view what was a head on some of the descents, like Bockham and some in redlands, but loved it. Still recovering from the dehydration, as too many toots on sat night left me on the back foot and then with it being hot, just nailed me, felt very light headed when i got back. I think everyone suffered on white down, no matter what speed you go up at, if anyone said they didn’t must be fibbing!… hey i think the dorking Cocks could be a bit limp from what i saw…

  6. Toby says:

    Sounds like a good ride and route. Don’t worry about us ‘Dorking Cocks’ we’re just a bunch of washed up drunks with an average age of about 50.

    Keep meaning to join you guys for a ride sometime, could be good to exchange routes.

  7. Matt says:

    17 riders! Good Lord, what a turnout. Maybe it was just as well I missed the ride, sounds like a tough-y but thanks to everyone for their support and attendance.

    Colin, nice write up, we’ll have to do a repeat ride in a few weeks. I now have the ideal bike for it but you’ll have to wait for my fork review in a couple of days to see what I mean.

  8. Andy C says:

    Wow, sounds like a cracking ride, I look forward to a repeat of that one some time in the near future.

    Yesterday’s scientific and carefully planned exercise routine consisted of a 6 mile run followed by a game of croquet!

    If my legs weren’t sore enough after their first run for 3 weeks, my 19 year old son launched a croquet ball which hit me in tha ankle (don’t ask) and I went down like a sack of the proverbial.

    Lengthy sessions with an ice pack enabled me to drive back home last night, and at least I can walk today, so I expect to be fit for Wed evening.

  9. Stig says:

    I was expecting hate-mail today after planning a route WITH NO TEASTOP!

    Don’t worry, won’t make that error again.

    Andy, you and I need to retrain as physios as a means of self-preservation.

    Toby, yes new routes always welcome. In June I tried your alternative route off Christmas Pudding that you took the Moles on earlier this year and really enjoyed it.

    Glad the overall view is positive. My next madcap route involves St Marthas hill, any takers ?

  10. Baz says:

    Hey stig

    St Marthas hill sounds great, isn’t ignorance bliss!…

  11. Jem says:

    Well done Stig. Really enjoyed such an alternative route and only a few miles away from our usual playground.

    There is such an abundance of trails to choose from in our neck of the woods.

    The trails leading from South Holmwood into Redlands resembled Wales with the pine forests.

    Have a good couple of weeks riding. The wife and I are off to the Brecon Beacons to check out the trails up there and the pubs of course.

    Look you!

  12. Andy C says:

    Hey Jem – You must try the “Gap Road” through Pen-y-Fan and Fan-y-Big, starting from Talybont on Usk and heading up the old tramway to gain the initial height. You will need all the travel you’ve got for the descent, especially the bracken covered bridle path made up entirely of rocks the size of your head!

    Some great rides in the Black Mountains around the back of Crickhowell, too. And at the other end of the range there’s the Doethie Valley / Ty’n y Cornel epic singletrack.

    Have fun.

  13. Dave says:

    Hey Stig, I think it’s a different Toby unless you think our normal Toby is a washed up drunk!!

    St Martha’s Hill, great, steep sandy climb, I have the T-shirt…..wish I had a MM T-shirt ;o)

    Andy, Fan-y-Big? You are having a larf surely?

  14. DaveW says:

    I’ve been up Fan-y-Big myself John. Most enjoyable.

    Great route Stig and well done for making it around with yer dodgy ribs. Any idea how far the route was?

  15. Colin says:

    Hi DaveW

    I’ve put the route on bikely, see link at the top of the page. It was 50k for me as I rode up to Bocketts only to ride back past my door again and then do it again on the way home!

  16. Matt says:

    That’s a great route Colin, defo would like to try that next time you repeat it.

    As for St. Martha’s Hill, I’m in. I’ve riden over there and Blackheath in the past, all good stuff but demmed if I know where the trails are…

  17. Lee says:

    I’m guessing Pen-y-fan is the result of the credit crunch on the Welsh contingent from the world’s oldest profession?

  18. Andy C says:

    The Prince has stirred!

  19. Roo (Dave W's mate with the orange Orange) says:

    Awesome second ride with the Muddy Moles – thanks!

    Great trails and tales – but blowed if I could remember the way next time!

    There always seems to be someone to talk to on the route (may have something to do with 17 riders); just a problem remembering everyones names.

    The end was ludicrously fast past Polesden Lacey, but most enjoyable.

    I too ran out of water late on but who cares when you’re enjoying the trails so much.

  20. DaveW says:

    ‘ludicrously fast past polesden lacey’ Hee he!

    The splinter group (of I think Barry, Dom, Jez, Roo and myself) who needed to get home sharpish from the top of white down and regretably missed the ice cream stop did make quite good progress ;o) despite the fatigue. I think I was home in about an hour. My missus had begun to wonder where I was, but was not upset, so result there! :0)

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