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 26 August – Reigate with three cocks!

Posted by Matt | August 27, 2012 | 12 comments so far

Well, here’s a turn up for the books! This must be my first ride report in – ooh – ages and ages. Looking back at my riding stats I seem to have been infected with the tarmac virus, as my last Sunday ride was over five weeks ago and despite one mid-week MTB ride and a handful of miles with the kids I haven’t actually turned a proper MTB wheel in over 8 rides.

Or put it another way – my last 9 rides have all involved a road bike…

So it feels rather unfamiliar to be penning a ride report. This past week I’ve been on holiday at home, after a week away with the family in Derbyshire (which accounts for two missed weekend rides). The result of all that home time has been a much-needed blitz on my garage, which my wife jokingly claimed could have made an episode of that recent series on compulsive hoarders. I don’t think she was referring to my bikes… but nothwithstanding those, the garage was a tip. And now, most of it – the rubbish part, that formed the majority of it – is at the local tip.

The remainder is now properly organised and put away and it feels great. No longer will I have to pick my way round mounds of worn out bike parts or clamber round old unused kids toys, looking for Camelbaks and riding shoes and crash helmets and stuff like that. It’s all now ready to go. Which meant, come Sunday morning, so was I.

Arriving at the Bockett’s car park I found the usual small crowd of riders, this week boosted by three of the Dorking Cocks – Toby, George and Matt – who were joining us us for one of their infrequent visits. I’d thought about riding my singlespeed but decided at the last minute to stick to the Five which still has it’s mud tyres on from the summer(!) after an evening of rain the day before. The rest of the group consisted of Tony, DaveC, Kev, long-lost Barrie, Andrew, Big Al and Lloyd, making 11 riders in total.

I wasn’t too fussed where we went but on the basis that we hadn’t been there for months (at least I can’t remember the last time we went), DaveC suggested a Reigate ride. Fine by me, it would give me some acclimatisation miles after so long on the road.

Incidentally, I don’t know why I’ve found myself riding on the tarmac so much. Just the way it’s worked out really, with being pushed for time, trying to encourage less fit friends to ride and all that summer rain that left me with several unwashed MTBs (along with that skanky garage) just seemed to have conspired to make it easier for me to get out on the road.

So, off we went, heading down toward the sawmill before turning to pick up the singletrack through the trees. This is a great bit of trail, trending slightly downward toward Bockett’s farm with a nice swerving flow to it but disaster very nearly struck two thirds of the way down when the leaders were faced with some startled looking dog walkers. A handful of expletives and some hastily locked brakes saved the day but it was a near thing which woke up a few people.

We continued on and crossed the A24 before heading down to Leatherhead and the start of the climb up from the river all the way – eventually – to Headley. It’s about four miles of steady altitude gain and includes the long Alsation climb. Today I was tucked in behind diesel Dave which meant a steady plod up the hill which didn’t bother me at all. I’d rashly put on my old moles long sleeve top on the basis that the morning had felt a bit chilly when I set out. Once I was moving, I was boiling!

From Alsation we charted our way up Life on Mars which was quite slippery in places, meaning no fast times in prospect on the return leg later on, then we made our way on up to Headley. It was all standard Moles cross country fare, reasonably brisk rolling on relatively easy trails which is what a ride to Reigate would suggest. On the whole the trails were in pretty good nick, a bit overgrown in places but basically dry and grippy.

I don’t know if it was just the weather, the bank holiday weekend or evidence of an Olympic hangover but there certainly seemed to be plenty of people about, with several groups of trail runners spotted. It’s a sport which seems to be gaining in popularity round here. We found a group as we headed down onto the North Downs Way after putting Headley behind us, threading our way down the rocky green lane near the Pfizer HQ before turning for Reigate. I think they thought what we were doing looked like fun!

Shortly after we passed a big group of riders from Reigate heading toward us (don’t know the club name but one of my colleagues rides with them and I’m sure we see them regularly). After winching ourselves up the side of the big field we pushed on and soon arrived up on Colley Hill with fantastic clear views across the Weald.

The next step was to decide what we wanted to do. Dave is very much against stopping at the Reigate tea room, with a bit of a fatwah on the Urban Kitchen due to their high prices and I think most of us agree. But going past a shop selling coffee and cake is a tough call for riders of our mindset! So we agreed that we’d head over, round some of the fun bits of Gatton Park and then head back to Headley for Ali’s cafe and her infamous warmed Eccles cakes. It’s just a shame she only seems to warm one at a time – the microwave’d alternative is very much the nuclear option with a high scalding risk factor and soggy pastry.

Our dash for Gatton was going swimmingly until Andrew was unlucky enough to break his chain as we skirted the park. It gave Tony, Kev and myself a chance for a break with Kev and I swapping bikes for a few hundred yards.

I discovered that his ‘lethal’ Whyte, which he’s convinced is trying to kill him, had a very loose headset which on closer inspection was because there’s not enough stack height in the headset spacers. Tony and I bodged it but it didn’t seem to work for Kev as he snagged his man parts on a hidden ditch a few minutes later!

Before that, I’d discovered (back on my Five) that one inch diameter saplings don’t give much to lean on when you’ve stalled on a tight turn through the trees! After finally rejoining the group we all took a turn rolling down a steep bank which looked far harder than it actually was until Kev discovered the previously mentioned hidden ditch…

Anyway, long story short we had fun in Gatton before climbing back up to the tea room, once again resisting the temptation to stop, and then heading back to Colley Hill. The view looking west was possibly even better than the eastern aspect but we soon turned to cross the M25 and duck into the twisty confines of Margery Wood. I really enjoy this tiny area of hidden singletrack nestled up against the motorway – I’m sure all the drivers racing past had no idea at all that a family of moles were enjoying themselves under cover of the trees.

Eventually we made it back to Headley and refueled, meeting up with Nick and Graham as we often do at some point (it’s never pre-planned!). After that we had a go at Secret Singletrack but to behonest this is the worst part of the year for the trail as it’s massively overgrown. A great time of year to make dens in the bracken (as I used to do as a kid), but a useless time for riding down it on a bike.

After parting from the Dorking Cocks at the top of Tyrells Wood we meandered back down Life on Mars, then took a sensible view down Alsation. The A24 proved a pain to cross as despite the painfully slow traffic there didn’t seem a driver capable of realising that they do us a massive favour if they would just STOP for – at most – thirty seconds while we all scooted across. Just five of us finished the ride back at Bockett’s as we discarded riders at various points through Leatherhead, with 25 miles on the clock for me by the time I got home.

All in all a nice easy introduction back into mountain biking for me and great to see Toby and friends. I might do this sort of thing more often…

Filed under Rides in August 2012

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 26 August – Reigate with three cocks!’

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  1. John R says:

    Sounds like a great ride on a lovely sunny day. And a shame to miss appearances by some of the Cocks and BARRIE!

    I was out on the trails around Denbies – but confined to their white road train. Hopefully I will be able to join you for a hot Eccles cake in October, but meantime I’ll have to be a virtual Mole.

  2. Justin Evans says:

    Very good!
    Shame I can’t ‘Like’ this on FB 🙂 WP plugin?

  3. Andrew AKAK says:

    This ride was a real blast, a slightly wet surface but still some huge strava PBs for me.

  4. Toby says:

    Thanks for that ‘Moles’ it was a very enjoyable ride especially as some of those paths we don’t do very often at all. Don’t forget that if anyone would like to try a ‘Cocks’ ride one day feel free to do so.

  5. tony says:

    A good ride even with heavy legs from a big ride the night before. Who was that bloke on the Orange 5 – I remember him from somewhere!

    Secret Singletrack was actually better than Wednesday where I had to get off the bike and push in a few sections. No Strava KOM times here!

    Roll on an Indian Summer.

  6. Baz says:

    Hey Guys
    great to catch up with everyone and to be out on the trails after so long…….
    certainly missed the banter

  7. KevS says:

    If anyone spotted a loose “man vegetable part” on the trail down along Gatton Park it will be mine and I would like it returned please as things are very unbalanced at the mo!

  8. baz says:

    Oh! i’ll have you all know, the only chicken run i used was in gatton park, where we saw the horses……., need a few more weeks to dial in again, especially being on the bucking broncho scott, it goes quicker up hill than down……

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