Muddymoles mountain biking in the Surrey Hills and Mole Valley

Ride report: Sunday 27 March – Peaslake fun

Posted by Matt | March 28, 2011 | 21 comments so far

Yesterday was a fine day for a bike ride and with the recent dry weather we were feeling ambitious enough to put in a long one to Peaslake and back. It’s a long way for cheese straws but it does let you enjoy some of the best bits of the Surrey Hills!

Starting, for the first time this year in British Summer Time, were 12 riders keen enough to get out despite losing an hour’s sleep.

Kev at the end of Barry Knows Best

I was a bit late, having to hurry to get there in time so on my arrival the group only lacked JohnR who we picked up at the end of the Admiral’s track. Which meant the whole group consisted of BigAl (who had kindly agreed to lead us round), Dom, Lloyd, DaveC, Ray, KevS, YoungJohn, MarkyMark, Jez, JohnR, Keith and myself. The idea was to head to Abba Zabba and then down Raikes Lane and up toward the Volunteer before heading up to the top of Holmbury and down to Peaslake.

It was a reasonably brisk pace at the beginning and with a few miles in my legs this week I was happy to trundle along near the back chatting to John and Lloyd. We were trying to keep forward progress even if it meant the pace dropping at times so stops were at a minimum as we reached Polesdon, then headed down Yew Trees and up to Ranmore. From there it was onto Badger Run and Collarbone where I briefly needed to put a hand on the ground as the bike skipped underneath me.

In my rush to get to the carpark I’d over inflated my MudXs and they felt strangely unreliable as we reached White Down and headed round the back to the reservoir and Abba Zabba. JohnR had been having trouble with his tubeless set up which meant a couple of goes pumping up his tyre (it eventually sealed with no further problems) and this dropped us to the back of the pack as riders either had a go at Abba Zabba or took the alternative route.

I was half in mind to try Blind Terror 2 but the bike didn’t feel quite right for me so after we’d crossed the road and John and I had caught up with the others at the road I let a bit of pressure out of the front tyre. I was pleased I did as the bike felt so much better for the rest of the ride. It shows there’s so many variables at play making our bikes ride the way they do, I’d have been unimpressed with my MudXs if they been set up like this from the beginning but happen to rate them very highly. So don’t write off tyres that seem to be a bit rubbish, trying some experimenting with the pressures!

Our continued progress took us up the long climb along Raikes Lane to the Volunteer pub which I found rather easy, helped by lots of decent conversation. I think those road miles are paying off in teaching me not to burn up every climb but to concentrate on how your heart rate feels and back off or speed up accordingly. I’d normally just attack the hills then stand around getting my breath back.

Finally we were on Holmbury Hill, heading up from Car Park No. 9 along familiar trails. The hill has changed somewhat recently with the ongoing tree-felling and woodland management. Big Al seems to know the area quite well and was able to put together a great series of old and new trails to me, the highlight being something un-named. It’s a long contouring run that brings you eventually back almost to the bottom of the Hill, via some great sweeping berms and a short jump. An excellent trail…

Next it was back up, with the ultimate goal being the drop down Barry Knows Best but that was after we’d had some more great trails to try. DaveC was unlucky enough to get bitten by the Spider again and also unlucky enough that John was nearby with the camera. I’m getting used to seeing that bike on top of someone!

Dave gets bitten by the Spider

Barry Knows Best was a real hoot and with Big Al, Dom and Young John showing me a clean set of wheels I could ride at my own pace without distractions, yomping it over the several jumps down the trail. Woodland management has also taken place along here so some sections I thought were a bit dubious with piles of logs in close proximity to the trail but the run was as exciting and enjoyable as ever. The end section has now been coralled with a simple fence to stop riders hooning straight out onto the bridleway which is probably for the best as it doesn’t detract in any way from the trail itself.

After sitting in the Spring sun enjoying cheese straws and a nice filter coffee we started our run back. I was expecting to see those cheese straws again on the climb up Radnor Road but once again my roadie miles kicked in and before I knew it I was at the reservoir. It was the easiest time I’ve ever ridden up there. We then started on Reservoir Dogs in the reverse direction and picke dup the tail end I think of Surfa Rosa before starting that cheeky trail I mentioned one more time.

This time I had a bit more traffic so the whole thing was a touch slower but I had the benefit of knowing it too so enjoyed it just as much. At the ponds we turned toward the Youth Hostel and then down and back to the Volunteer. The route back was largely a retrace of the way out, only with a lot more climbing. First up Raikes Lane, then across the Roughs and finally up the long White Down ascent. The secret is to just keep spinning and in my case, starting putting electrolyte tablets in your Camelbak! I’ve been trying the Zero tablets in berry flavour and rate them highly as after yesterday’s ride I was feeling very comfortable.

In all, we got back to the Bockett’s Farm car park with just under 30 miles on the click at around 12:30 which I think is a good effort for such a long ride. Thanks to Big Al for the new trails and route finding and thanks to all for a great morning. John’s added so pictures of the morning to our Flickr account.

Filed under Rides in March 2011


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 21 comments on ‘Ride report: Sunday 27 March – Peaslake fun’

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  1. winterfold says:

    That trail will stay there a lot longer if people dont blog about it ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Matt says:

      No it won’t! Hurtwood are clear on their policy and reiterate it at every opportunity.

      And assuming it stays there if we keep quiet about it kind of assumes the Ranger is an idiot who walks round with his eyes shut. He’s not and does some great work for us.

      Shame though, it’s a wicked trail and people have obviously gone to a lot of trouble over it. I’m not trying to hasten it’s demise, just appreciating the facts really.

  2. JohnR says:

    It was a great ride on Sunday – with so many unfamiliar trails to try we didn’t even get round to some of the old favs such as Yoghurt Pots. We must repeat it when we have Dandy with us (it was his idea originally) and Big Al to show us the route again.

    Sipping tea at Peaslake I learnt that I am not the oldest Mole – one of our number will be 53 later this year!

  3. AndyW says:

    Winterfold: This site is one of the last to mention it and having seen the number of people who are riding that trail its already well publicised. There are no mentions of where the trail starts, what side of the hill itโ€™s on, no videos of its start points etc. I hope it stays as itโ€™s a great trail, but itโ€™s hardly a secret.

    • winterfold says:

      Andy I have seen the pix on another site and doubtless they will be skidding down it, the same way they skid down everything, until such time as it has to go, but they were even more vague about where.

      I’m not having a go at your right to post about having a great ride and finding a trail you ‘havent ridden before’, but I do think vague is good – for reasons which I outlined to Matt. It is hopeless (and pretty obnoxious) trying to keep stuff secret from fellow riders – in an area that small and heavily ridden – but less publicised might be in our collective interest.

      You may not – that’s your call – but at least have a think about it before deciding please.

    • Matt says:

      OK, different viewpoints from people here and having been in touch with Winterfold, let’s just draw a line for a bit, as I get where he’s coming from.

      It’s a tough call, the old adage of ‘build it and they will come’ is very much in play here and unavoidable. Having said that, maybe taking out a full page ad in the Times is not the best thing to do either (no, I know we’re not the Times, you all know what I mean!).

      Let’s think about discretion… for everyone’s sake. But as AndyW points out, we’re pretty vague and I plan to make minor edits to the post and comments too.

      Thanks for a constructive conversation everyone. AndyW, I’ll email you…

  4. StevenD says:

    Glad to hear you guys also had a great ride, why can we not have this weather all year round ? But, I have taken my MudXs off so you can blame me when it rains tomorrow.

    Matt, I also have started using Zero tablets, Citrus flavour in my case, and put 1.5 tablets in about 600ml of water. I find the taste very agreeable but it is too early to say whether they are improving my capabilities as I am still increasing my mileage after a winter break.

  5. Markymark says:

    A cracking ride, in NorCal conditions!

    I still had dust/grit in the bottom corner of each eye this morning. Yes, it was that dry!

    As for LOCALS ONLY. NO KOOKS. SECRET SPOT. I’ve seen enough too much of it in surfing…

  6. Dave says:

    Actually regardless of the discussion above the one thing I do agree with Winterfold 100% is brake draggers. The berms on BKB are pitted badly because riders go in way to fast for their ability and spoil if for those how want to “pin it dude”.

    Anyway, classic ride in conditions that made it feel good to be alive. Even the dust being kicked up by the riders in front was a hoot.

    I’d also point out that I just felt like a sit down in that photograph and the idea that I was ejected by the Spider is a cruel slur on my ability! ;o)

    Good to see Rob* as well.

    *I hope it was Rob, my memory is getting so that I hate the “Alright Dave” greeting from a helmeted rider I who announces “not seen you for ages”. So I while I actually knew who I was talking to after a few phrase I really do hope your name was Rob!

  7. Big Al says:

    Great ride had by all . Hopefully in the next few weeks
    we can arrange a ride starting from Holmbury so we
    all can enjoy the great trails it has to offer.

  8. Rob says:

    It wasnt me ! (DOAMB Rob)

  9. OrangeRoo says:

    Glad you all had another fab ride – the weather was a real billy-bonus! Due to work commitments I was again not able to make it out, but I was there in spirit. I made it out later with my trusty Lab around the Walton wobbler!

    Last week I cycled with a mate from Walton to Peaslake on my road bike and sampled those wonderful fuel-filled cheese straws! That may explain why my weight has started creeping up again – time to reduce my intake and cycle more me tinks!

  10. Ray k says:

    Thanks for a great ride. Most enjoyable. I’m begining to feel some fitness. Or maybe it was the sun on my back. Thanks again to big Al for leading us over some great trails.

  11. KevS says:

    After a 3 week layoff due to a particularly nasty strain of “Man Flu” I was glad to be out on the bike again.
    The starting pace from Bocketts up to Polesden and Ranmore had me thinking I was in trouble due to the layoff but somehow hung in there and got acclimatised to the pain again. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Great new trails enjoyed by all and even the groups of walkers out seemed to be in a happy mood, apart from one miserable crab faced woman and dog on the way back, just before Bocketts, Marky Mark will remember her! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    The Whitedown climb, Ahhhh, always a pleasure, how I have missed it these past few weeks!

  12. Markymark says:

    Ah yes, Kev, crab-face and the dog + cutting glare, and all because we slammed on the brakes and kicked up gravel in her face like a pair of 13 year olds… Not.

  13. lgwramp says:

    bkb,its crap ,with the trees cut down its just going to get wide like the M25,so slow you could send your granny down.
    Best give it a miss !

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