Muddymoles mountain biking in the Surrey Hills and Mole Valley

Ride report: Sunday 27 December – The burrow calls

Posted by Matt | December 28, 2015 | 3 comments so far

Regroup on Badger Run

Regroup on Badger Run

Sunday, squeezed between Christmas and the New Year, was always going to mean a limited turnout for the faithful. Limited it turned out to be, with just Elliott, DDub and myself out while everyone else stayed in their burrow.

I was keen to get out, not least because looking back we have a history of absenteeism over the Christmas break. I also had a couple of new pieces of kit to try out, some Endura Singletrack 2 trousers and a pair of 2016 Specialized Defroster winter boots.

I can’t quite work out why I haven’t gone the boots route before. Most likely, the cost might have inhibited me, forcing me to make do with summer shoes and waterproof Seal Skinz socks for winter (and spring, and autumn and occasionally summer) riding. I can say that all that has now changed after some careful online bargain hunting and just one ride.

What a revelation! Regular summer socks but completely dry feet for the duration of the ride. So effective were the boots that I eventually came to care not one jot how wet and muddy the ride became as I just couldn’t feel any water ingress despite truly horrible conditions. The trousers too seem like an effective option but I’ll post up a review of these soon.

Knowing our ride this Wednesday is likely to be south to Leith Hill, I suggested we head for Newlands Corner which has the added bonus of BACON. With a strong breeze from the West we decided to stick to the tops and return via the reverse route that was tried a few weeks back. This meant that having climbed to Ranmore via Yew Trees (divesting myself of an unnecessary layer due to the warm conditions along the way) we took in Wire In The Blood (Part 1) before picking up Collarbone to the top of White Down. Wire In The Blood proved quite tricky, with Ddub failing to score points for his dismount as the front wheel got away from him at the end.

Ddub on Water Lane

Ddub on Water Lane

Collarbone was truly grim but rideable with effort, as was Trouble In Paradise and we soon splashing along the Drovers Road which we followed all the way to Newlands. The puddles by now no longer bothered me as I had realised my new kit was keeping me completely dry but I was rather warm in the mild conditions. It felt as though someone had left the central heating on!

We picked up an entertaining line parallel to the Drovers for a while (the section we normally do on the way back from Newlands), but it was really just a case of plodding along. There were few people out and it wasn’t too long before we reached Newlands where we huddled out of the rather cold wind while I tucked in to some revitalising BACON and a coffee. After that it was off down Water Lane toward Albury with a few pics along the way.

Elliott on Water Lane

Elliott on Water Lane

As soon as you drop south of the Ranmore ridge the ground conditions change dramatically. The sandy soils are quite a contrast to the Surrey clay to the north and make for pleasant riding when they are damped down by the recent weather. Our pace wasn’t particularly fast given the excesses of the recent winter feasting but progress was made and the route proved as easy to negotiate in this direction as it is when we ride it East to West rather than West to East. In a way the change helped with a sense of novelty although I still think I prefer the original direction. Call me a traditionalist.

Matts Orange on Water Lane

Matts Orange on Water Lane

In addition to a high protein diet these past few days I’ve also been in the process to recovering from a head cold which meant my enjoyment of the ride was hampered a little. StevenD reckons that turkey is rocket fuel but I wasn’t feeling that myself I have to say. Even so, the eventual climb up High Med wasn’t too bad and we finished off the day’s effort by dropping back to Polesden via Dearly Beloved. It may be a swamp at the top but I didn’t really mind with my Defrosters proving so good!

The final run back to the car park along the Bocketts tunnel was also a mass of mud but by the time we got back we’d clocked 24 miles. The burrow’s call was strong this week, and there was really quite a lot of mud around but riding in the darkest days of winter remains an enjoyable time to spend your time.

There are further pictures on Flickr.

Filed under Rides in December 2015


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 3 comments on ‘Ride report: Sunday 27 December – The burrow calls’

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  1. Elliot says:

    Nice pics Matt! I thought we’d set off too soon down Water Lane but it seems you got the ‘shoot’ set up in the nick of time 😉

    Aside from taking advantage of a tail wind on the return leg this reverse route has another benefit. Getting the muddiest part out of the way first so there’s the dry and interesting half to look forward to after a cake (or bacon) stop. Inconveniently it also leaves most of the climbing until the second half when you’re getting tired.

    Defrosters and trousers are definitely the way to go for that sort of filth. However it’s still bizarrely warm so I made do with shorts rather than risk boiling.

  2. Andrew says:

    I am intrigued by the Singletrack trousers but I can’t see how a small or medium would be long enough for me.

  3. Tony says:

    I have some Altura breathable waterproof trousers and they work very well to make sure the legs don’t “boil in the bag”. Matt – we’ll have to do a waterproof trouser grouptest!

    The Specialised Defrosters work extremely well with trousers although I did find the limitations of them after a day splashing in the puddles and the driving ran at Bike Park Wales. One foot was eventually wet and one damp (I think the trouser rode up at an in opportune moment). The only downside is that they take a hell of a lot of drying out.

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