Muddymoles mountain biking in the Surrey Hills and Mole Valley

Ride report: Sunday 26 September – Dead Mole Society

Posted by DaveC | September 26, 2010 | 17 comments so far

Dead Mole Society? Well, there were Moles, there was a Killer loop… Dead Mole Society? Well it made sense to me when I was discussing it with Chris while climbing up toward Holmbury Hill.

Killer Loop – tick

DaveW and the Tunnel Hill crew – tick

DoMTB crew – tick

Meet PIJ – tick

Avoid the several hundred MTBers in the Surrey Hills today – tick

Today’s ride ticked all the boxes.

So with apologies to some of the recent riders who have joined us, the hardcore of the Moles set off for an earlier ride with a fair pace over 40 miles of Surrey’s best routes.

10 Moles and 9 bikes meant that Amanda and Darren were on their Ellsworth Tandem while JohnR also appeared on a shiny new steed… Jez, Jem, Tony (the Missing Mole), Keith, JamesPro, Chris and myself made up the rest of the Mole Pack… errr… Moletitude of Moles.

So, with high speed and low drag being our objective we set off up Admiral’s Track for about 500m before JamesPro let one go, his tube that is. With a bit of faffage that was soon sorted and we set off again towards Yew Trees and the long climb up to Ranmore. Being the slower rider in the pack I was soon dropped as the rest of the Moletitude pushed onwards. They paused briefly at the road for me to catch up and I went straight through to lead the charge along Badger Run and down Landrover. Smoking brakes was my trade mark going down and JohnR found his new steed sure footed.

Across the railway and onwards to the Rookery and then Wolverns Lane. Pace was still fast and I found myself at the back again. Staying at a comforatble pace I was able to keep rolling with minimal stopping once I caught and and we headed towards the start of Summer Lightning. Here we stumbled on DaveW leading the Tunnel Hill crew on a trip round the best bits Leith has to offer. A brief chat and onwards to the top of Deliverance, the bomb holes and then a quick right left at the Cricket Pitch to take in a roll in that Toby showed us.

To JohnR’s disappointment we skirted round the tower to take in a few more of Toby’s bits and then towards the High Ashes descent by way of Chocolate Jesus. Tanking down the Mother we emerged on the road and then, somewhat foolishly but never-the-less true to the original Killer Loop, we turned left and lost a load more height so we could have a really tough off road climb…

Up on Holmbury we headed to the Trig Point before taking the scenic route towards the Reservoir and ultimately Barry Knows Best. Flying down BKB being hassled by a Tandem is not an experience I’ve had before but with Tony blocking my path (tongue in cheek comment) I had little option but to just do what I could to stay ahead of Darren and Amanda. Tea stop ahoy, we took in a refuel and had a chill out before heading off again, first saying farewell to JohnR.

Leading off up Walking Bottom Road towards the car park I ran into Rich and DaveBus from DoMTB, just having time to raise hands in salute as we rolled past each other. MTBers were all over the area as a Race was being held in aid of the local school. Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves as well!

Heading up towards the next car park we went a little too far to the left and ended up coming down through the Quarry area. JamesPro has a bit of a spill at the back but seemed OK by the time he made it down. We did the lesser roll in towards the top car park and then the climb to the Windmill but turning hard right at the top and taking in the swooping single track that eventually leads to Ladies Legs. Excellent conditions and a real blast as I was hassled by the tandem again. Then onto Ewoks and the long steppy descent.

There I’m kind of out of place names but it wasn’t long until we were on familiar gorund again as we worked out way towards Albury and the next climb up to cake stop number 2. I was adopting the rear guard position again but keeping it steady I came up to the car park in good condition and looking forward to more flap jack and hot chocolate.

While standing round chatting I was amused to see BikeTech Mark appear spouting abuse in his good natured way and I realised we must have arrived at the same time as PIJ and his team. So, finally I got to meet PIJ, a frequent commenter on this website, and thank him for a route we did the previous Tuesday.

Cold is a motivator at Newlands this time of year and we soon headed off back towards home but aiming to take in the Effingham descent. Pace continued to be fast and we took in the concrete bowl with the tandem getting in on the act as well. Dizzy and disorientated I led them off again, finding the PIJ and team had now caught us up. Gradually I reeled PIJ back in as I got dropped by the rest of the Moles.

Waiting just after the gate we rode on to the next gate where we turned left and began the Effingham descent. Keith dropped a gear to start leading the pack by the time we got down to Effingham itself. From here it was a straight run and on this ride I felt no need to shepherd the group back to Bocketts as I peeled off left with Tony and Jem as I read off a total distance of just over 40 miles with 4700 calories in the bag. Sitting here I ache a fair bit but what a great ride!

Next week the big race, gulp.

Filed under Rides in September 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 17 comments on ‘Ride report: Sunday 26 September – Dead Mole Society’

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  1. PIJ says:


    it was a bit odd bumping into you lot – Newland’s Corner is the furthest point that we all go to, and a good 22 miles from our start point, so the chances of us all being there at the same time are slim. We managed 44 miles [70km] and 4,000 metres of climbing. We were daft enough to only stop the once. Needless to say Box Hill on the way back was tackled in a variety of manners; two up the nomal path, one up the road, and moi oddly chose a path that runs between the two. It was horrid.

    Thanks for not pointing out that you managed to drop me again after the bowl. And quite convincingly. On that rather limited view I’d not say that your pace is massively fast, just bloomin’ unrelenting and pretty constant. There also seems to be some ability in the pack, and the wick just gets turned up to 11. How you guys keep going is beyond me. One of our party was happily keeping tabs on the tandem, but was somewhat dismayed when it just disappeared from him all of a sudden. Literally disappeared off up the trail. Hats off to you all.

    I’m normally a cynical old git, and not given to praise, but I think the Moles seem good sports.

    Mark by the way had a mechanical; he rode into a post and bust his front brake; vital fluid dropping onto his frame, which was saved by my buff thing. Afterwards his rear brake almost caught fire dropping down towards the Box Hill climb. The smell was quite memorable.

    I think we held Mark up as he led from the front. One also suspects that he was somewhat disappointed not to be shown some new trails, but thee are only so many ways you can get to Guildford from Redhill that do not involve a return journey by train. Perhaps next time we’ll take him on the Caterham run.

    Another good day to be out and about. Glad to be able to finally put Mole faces to Mole names.

    By the way, did that guy in the Citroen actually leave his name and number? He looked somewhat unfazzed when a bunch of cyclists pointed out the error of his ways.

  2. JamesPro says:

    It was a good ride and it was me holding us up with 2 punctures and an off, clipped a tree on a turn which sent me flying, bike is fine and I am thnks to the knee pads and backpack cushioning my fall. Thanks to Amanda and Darren for helping me up. Also thanks goes out to Jez for the “loan” of his tube and Tony for a loan for the pur-chase of a bacon roll!! Got home and straight out with the family to Esporta for some pool fun, this really is good for the still muscles. Really enjoyed the ride and not too tired. Really looking forward to the d2d in a week. Just hope the weather is forgiving. See you Wednesday.

  3. tony says:

    Hi PIJ

    Great to meet up with you Mark and your riding buddies.

    Well the hammer certainly went down a bit along the NDW (now who did that?). Although Amanda and Danny on the tandem are two super fit folks (trans Wales recently etc…) don’t be disappointed to see them disappear in the dsitance – or be overtaken down hill. Except if you are Dave and block the trail for them 🙂

    Once off the NDW into the Effingham singletrack it just seemed to get quicker and quicker. Keith certainly cranked it up through Outlands Wood. It was big rings are go!

    Overall a great ride. Long with plenty of technical stuff all over and a good pace. Plus it was like catching up with every rider we know.

    PS. The guy in the Citroen did leave a note, although he clearly would have not if we hadn’t said anything.

  4. Jem says:

    Fantastic ride today guys.

    Really enjoyed the company and the pace that was set.

    Very satisfying feeling once lying in the bath feeling heavy.

    Looking forward to next Saturday!!

  5. TurnerGuy says:

    You forgot to tick seeing me in the car park 🙁

    I did the Bat of of Hell run and was back at the car park for 10:30.

  6. stevend says:

    40 miles offroad at Mole pace and being chased downhill by a Tandem. Impressive stuff. I am uncomfortable in a big group so I cannot imagine how unnerving it must be to have a Tandem closing down on you.

    Good luck on the D2D guys (and gal).

  7. JR says:

    Good route and a nice pace, Dave. Enjoyed taking the new steed down a few things I would definitely not have tried last week! Shame I had to leave you at Peaslake and did not meet PIJ, but daughter’s physics home work beckond – the joys of quarks and mesons. Hope everybody has a great D2D and I hope to be out Sunday from Bockets with Erik.

  8. Jez says:

    I think Keith was late for his Sunday lunch or something the way he cranked out that return leg. I was hanging on at the back ofthat last stretch and glad when it eased for sure.

  9. paul901 says:

    Looks like the Port & Stilton secret has been rumbled. Before each D2D lap the resting team members will promise their next rider a choux bun avec creme anglais, perhaps an aged claret, oatcake and sliver of vintage cheddar, or a blini and warm quails egg. Then watch him go for that 10 mile circuit.

    The team entrance exam consists of a pub crawl around Bray but not for pints you understand. You have to down a meal in each of the places that Heston and his rivals now own.

    Having followed KC home on some of his commuting runs I now understand if I want to get near his back wheel I need to phone his wife and get her to tell Keith supper is cancelled, lots of laughs!

  10. Matt says:

    Wanted to do this ride, but after Tuesday’s spin I’ve picked up a virus which has given me a temperature and shivers all last week as well as a migraine off and on. Not much sleep so at least I’ve got my training in for that aspect!

    I thought I’d kicked it but it came back on Saturday night. I suppose if you’re going to be below par it’s best to get it out of the way before the event rather than during it. Hope to be back on-song later this week.

    My plan for the week is eat loads of carbs, drink a lot of fluid and early nights…

  11. kc says:

    Great ride and route!

    There was no lunch! I got home, cleaned the bike sorted a few things and before I knew it I was fixing pc problems and it was time for a late afternoon tea. I called the butler but he must have been given the day off so I summoned my last drop of energy and made a brew and downed a sarnie. Egg and cress with the crusts cut off I hear you shout; no out of date peanut butter. Somehow I feel less port and stilton and more beer and hot dog as D2D approaches.

    Needless to say I was pretty spent after trying to drop that darned tandem through the wood and keep up some pace on the return leg to Bookham.

    Me thinks that the Moles are in good shape

  12. DaveW says:

    It was good to see you all on your training run on Sunday during my tour de leith hill. Glad to hear you made it all the way around in more comfort than your last wet weather attempt!

    The Tunnel Hill crew are not the Trolls, but another group of Tunnel Hill regulars/locals who sometimes arrange group rides on the forum.

    I thought at the start that I might have trouble filling 3.5 hours with Leith Hill trails, but ended up having to leave quite a bit out and David, Ady, Ryan and Carl seemed to really enjoy the trails we did.

    I think the size of the hills was the only issue, as Tunnel Hill tends to be more pedally, lacking the longer climbs which can’t be avoided in the Surrey Hills, but which pay back with longer descents.

    We tried a new (to me) trail which several riders had told me about and gosh it is gnarly. I have to admit to pushing down one section. Maybe one for the next dry period…

    I also have to change my view of back brakes. I had come to the conclusion that they are a waste of time as most of the work is done by the front – and they encourage bad technique (i.e. dragging the back wheel down steep descents, which compromises control and does little to slow you down). On Sunday my air filled rear brake system refused to work even with pumping, so I had no back brake whatsoever and came unstuck a few times during the ride, overshooting the run out on Deliverance and washing out on the front a several times. Part of the blame has to go on the Racing Ralphs which are not intended for that kind of riding in recently wetted conditions, but I have to say I really missed my back brake. Come back, all is forgiven!

  13. pij says:

    Hmm, brakes. General consensus 70% front, 30% rear. So why do so many riders fit 203mm discs out back? Or that a lot of the time it’ll be the back pads that wear quicker than the fronts? Kind of suggests that there is a lot of back braking going on.

    Personally I’ve ditched the 180mm, and even 160mm rear rotors on my bikes, and have gone down to a 140mm. Didn’t seem to affect things too much on Sunday, and saved 30g in the process. Wahey! Didn’t make me ride any faster though….

    Ask Mark how useful the back brake is….

  14. Colin says:

    Back brakes are for skids!

    Without sounding dodgy, try ‘fisting’ the left bar when you ride and see how difficult it is to stop constantly using the back brake for comfort!

    Since weening myself off this habit I get a whole season out of a set of rear pads whereas I can remember previous years when I’d waste a brand new set in just one long soggy session on Pitch Hill.

    Thats enough talk of fisting for now

  15. Dandy says:

    Surprised you didn’t work ‘rims’ into your last post as well, Col 🙂

  16. PIJ says:

    Rimming has already been mentioned in this posting, surely?

    Quote: Pace continued to be fast and we took in the concrete bowl with the tandem getting in on the act as well….

    And quite a sight it was too!

    Apologies for calling you Shirley.

  17. DaveW says:

    It is so easy to feather the back brake constantly and demolish your pads.

    I have also had a problem with feathering the front brake on descents and braking before corners which can be taken quite easily by tilting the bike over. I hope I’m getting better. I’m working on it.

    So as Colin says, give up on comfort and say yes to fisting!

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