Muddymoles mountain biking in the Surrey Hills and Mole Valley

Ride report: Sunday 23 May – Reigate in the Sun

Posted by DaveC | May 24, 2010 | 10 comments so far

A glorious Sunday morning, ideal for a cross country blast to Reigate. This week 10 of us started and 10 finished up where they should be!

Matt, Keith, Mark, Mike, Paul, Paul901, Barrie, Roo, David and myself started out from Bocketts farm and set a fast pace down towards the back of the Leatherhead Leisure Center. The pack soon split into two as I found a good pace again and we gathered ourselves up at the base of Alsation to brief Paul901 on what was ahead. Mark did an excellent job of keeping Barrie tucked in second as he led up through the narrow, vegetation lined cutting.

A brief pause to let the back markers catch up at the gatehouse and off we set again towards Headley. My Spider with Bonty XDX tyres to was proving to be a fast steed and with Matt taking it easy (don’t worry, he couldn’t keep that up for the whole ride) I kept towards the front of the pack and tried to keep Barrie (on his SS) in my sights.

Barrie was further slowed just after Headley by a puncture and offered to catch us up, so we set off again towards Reigate with Mark leading and me sweeping up the tail markers. Some great sideways action on loose sandy trails and before long we were at up on Colley Hill.

Here Paul901 opted to take the direct route to the tea room while the rest if us headed down the chalky slope to ride round the foot of Gatton Park and torture ourselves up the final climb. Keith pushed me right to the end on this climb but we reached the car park to find a closed tea room. Closed for refurbishment mid season; riiiiight…

With options limited we took on what supplies we had before deciding to head back to Headley Heath car park and try the mobile tea room there. Luckily it’s mainly downhill and the pace was quick with the only danger coming from golf balls as we crossed the golf course. The mobile tea room proved well worth the extra wait though and I’ve done a short review of that on another article for later this week.

Refueled we set off through Secret Singletrack which was also in ideal condition before the bracken gets too high. One early corner proved too fast for me as I ploughed straight into the undergrowth, failing to trouble the turning ability of the tyres but overall the whole section flowed. With this rapidly followed by Alsation on the downward leg speeds were probably too fast and Matt jumped the road close to perfectly as witnessed by Mark.

A cracking ride and Paul901 now has a new perspective on mountain bikes having originally decided to buy his Whyte 901 to slow down a bit…whoops!

Filed under Rides in May 2010


About the author

Dave's been riding seriously since about 1997 and is one of the founding Molefathers — along with Matt and Mark — that came up with the idea of a MTB website for Mole Valley riders.

He's had several different bikes but it's now mainly 29ers in Dave's stable, apart from an Orange 5.

Current Bikes: Orange 5, Salsa Spearfish and Kona Big Unit

There are 10 comments on ‘Ride report: Sunday 23 May – Reigate in the Sun’

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  1. Matt says:

    That was an enjoyable ride that suited me just fine. I’ve put in so many recent miles I’m starting to feel more than a note of exhaustion. Add in the heat and blazing sun and XC was just right for me this week with just a couple of short bursts of speed. I’m still tired today.

    Even so, 25 miles at something like 10.5mph shows we weren’t ambling along either. And we certainly weren’t ambling down Alsation where I topped out at 33.5mph, the advantage of being up front. The undergrowth is turning it into an increasingly narrow tunnel of green though, we may soon have to pass on it during the summer months.

    Well done to Paul for finding his rythmn after a shaky start but then the Reigate ride is always particularly arduous at the beginning.

  2. kc says:

    Flipping great ride! I am really pleased with the new bike which adds to my confidence with each ride.

    The variability in pace worked well for me as you can choose when to push, with the knowledge that you can also take a break to recover later.

    Alsation was a hoot as I tried to keep the leaders in view for the first time. It was a shock to find Matt come to a near standstill with a man walking alsations by the side. He gave me a dirty look I presume because I was less in control than the 2 before me!

  3. MarkW says:

    Cheers guys, great ride out again, felt a little knackered today not sure if the heat or the high rollers! Yep nice ‘air’ Matt and a clean landing to boot!. Special mention to my Cornish Pasty experience at the Headley Cafe as I can say confidently it is a essential piece of bike conditioning as I felt my strength improve considerably! “who needs!” Oh except Paul (nice demonstration at the top of Alsation!)

    See you next week.

  4. Paul901 says:

    I really enjoyed that ride. This might seem like a strange comment from someone who clearly struggled more than anyone else with the first 45 minutes of the ride and was always at the back. That climbing really hurt in a way that my younger years and lower weight did not. At one point I brought up a mouthful and knew I was very close to pebble-dashing one of those trails. My lungs were screaming and my legs were dull and empty. I feared the worst as this can mean hitting the wall and not recovering.

    Despite this and wishing I could match the natural pace of the others I enjoyed trying to ride it off and find a rhythm. It was awakening a determination and experience that I sort of retired from sports some time ago based on injuries.

    I really appreciate the support and encouragement. It’s true I bought a mountain bike to slow down so just a bit of context on that. At 38 I dislocated a finger when getting some fitness back to spar in a young man’s black belt grading. At 40 I broke a toe in similar circumstances and officially retired. Too much hard work. At 45 I tore a cartilege gently jogging as I had no time ot cycle last year. This meant an op (or Daddy being put into a coma as I would say to my daughter to wind her up). Cycling and swimming being the last things left, I have tried to get back into road riding but have not been shifting weight and my knee doesn’t like the climbs, even in 34 x 27. So, two tough muddy mole rides in, I clearly picked the wrong pastime to ease up! Having said that these rides have not given me the same knee trouble so as long as this remains the case I am determined to get up to ride pace and enjoy these great routes.

    So far, the analogy I would use is that road riding is like a gym session on the cardio machines whereas mountain biking is like circuit training.

    Thanks also for the bike stickers. There’s clearly a great deal of MTB experience out there so my posts are for the newcomers such as myself who might be looking and thinking about it all.

  5. Paul says:

    Hey no problem, if we knock out a few while waiting at the courtesy stops then it’ll feel like a well rounded workout and help level the field for those re-grouping 🙂

    Enjoyed the ride guys, it was a great atmosphere and I think just enough stops to keep the group together. On such a nice day I could enjoy the countryside, chat or give it some welly when it suited – and we did!

  6. John R says:

    Oh no – Reigate is one of my favourite routes and it sounds like it was a blast. Hopefully you’ll be doing another trip there in June. . . .

  7. Roo d'Orange says:

    Really great ride on Sunday – topped a great birthday weekend for me. Thoroughly enjoyed the route to Reigate linking up trails that DaveW has taken me on from Epsom in the Autumn of 2009.

    Alsation was awesome and I too found myself upon the guy with the Alsations a bit too quickly – oops.

    I loved my sausage roll almost as much as Mark loved his pasty, but the fruit scone went down a treat! After all that I was surprised to fly so well over the track in a Matt-esque style!

    Great fun – thanks to all,

  8. PIJ says:


    Reigate isn’t closed for refurbishment as I understand it. The National Trust didn’t renew the contract for the old management, so it has been taken over by new people who are now doing it up. Well, that’s how I understood it to be from a sign posted there a few weeks ago. May be wrong.

    Anyway, if you’d ridden around to the bottom of Gatton, then why not try out fanny’s Farm instead? It’s well worth the half mile effort as the cakes are blindingly good.

    Also you don’t really need to follow the route back over Colley Hill at all, although I’ll admit the downhill to the golf course is pleasant enough. There’s a bridleway underpass… er… under the M25 along Gatton Bottom. You’ll have to look at an Ordnance to get the route proper, but you can parallel the A217 down and pick up the Heath again roughly half way to Asda. Some road work involved, but no more than a mile and once you’ve sussed the route it isn’t actually that bad a ride. Quite pleasant actually! You’ve then got a nice little singletrack section linking to the arse end of the golf course, or back to the Sportsman for a swift half. Indeed look at the map and you can find a few routes back this way that are different to the norm and that present a bit of a challenge.

    Of course if you were brave you could do a proper ride and go over to Caterham!!

    33mph?? Blimey that’s shifting. 28mph has been our tops around these quarters of late. As for the 10.5mph average – enter yourselves for a XC race quick! You’ll win.

    See you around.


  9. Matt says:

    Hi PIJ, sounds like we might have to arrange to meet up for a ride sometime as skirting Gatton is as far as we normally manage due to our having to get all the way back to Bookham.

    But if there’s enjoyable riding (doesn’t have to be technical, just rolling along is fine) and a cake stop we’d be interested I’m sure.

    The high speed is dependant entirely on dry trails I can assure you!

  10. PIJ says:

    Hi Matt,

    Caterham would be pushing things a bit from your end, especially for an illegal ride in some privately owned woods! The Burgh Heath run is simple enough to find though, and the dog walkers are pushing the boundaries on pathway construction. In essence it provides an alternative route back via the pond / Epsom Downs to what was the caravan tea stop at Headley.

    The cafe on Reigate Hill has re-opened by the way under new ownership. I didn’t get a chance to stop today, but it looks like they’ve improved it.


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