Muddymoles mountain biking in the Surrey Hills and Mole Valley

Ride report: Sunday 28 February – Tunnelling moles

Posted by Matt | February 29, 2016 | 7 comments so far

The Moles lose their bikes at Tunnel Hill

The Moles lose their bikes at Tunnel Hill

Last week TonyD complained on our Facebook page about our complaints about mud. This week, we left nothing to chance and went somewhere much drier; Tunnel Hill.

The result was pretty much a re-run of our visit to Tunnel Hill in January, but without the biblical levels of water. In fact, you’d be forgiven for thinking that January ride had never happened looking at the condition of the trails which were dry and typically sandy, with just the odd lake-like puddle to remind us of how bad it could be.

I’m not going to try and explain where we went. Seven of us set out and seven returned, although Mark collected a mis-shapen wheel and possibly a few bruises for his morning’s adventures. I also had a sudden departure from my bike, which stopped abruptly climbing out of a gulley on some steppy roots, while I continued onward. If I’d had a 29er (or better yet, a 27.5 Plus bike) perhaps it would have rolled easily up and over but as it was I was compromised by ‘old-tech’ in the shape of my Five. Perhaps.

Action on the Basingstoke Canal

Action on the Basingstoke Canal

So JohnR (this weeks’ ride-sponsor, who suggested the outing), D’Andy (mon chauffeur), Karl, Mark, Fat boy bike James and D-Dub (our Tunnel Hill route-meister) all met up on what proved to be a sunny but rather chilly day at Tunnel Hill. Fine while you were moving, rather cold when we stopped.

As it was, we were moving for most of the morning, despite somehow only racking up 17.5 miles for our efforts. We dodged bullets at the Deepcut firing ranges, crossed and re-crossed the Basingstoke Canal and spent the majority of our time climbing short sharp hills or contouring through seemingly endless miles of lovely singletrack. One sensed that JohnR saw hills differently to the rest of us (John, to ride up; Us, to ride down) but it was a terrific morning of riding that in no way involved mud. Which is good.

John is a zombie mole

John is a zombie mole

The only regret is that the stop at the local shop for something like coffee – which somehow became magically infused with D’Andy’s brandy – wasn’t the kind of Spa(r) break that I felt I deserved.

Hopefully the accompanying pictures (thanks JR, and Karl for your Photoshoppery) tell their own story.

Over the edge for D'Andy

Over the edge for D’Andy

Karl levitates over canal and bike

Karl levitates over canal and bike

Matt and Karl selfie

Matt and Karl selfie

At the Crossroads of Sand

At the Crossroads of Sand

Just one hill too far at Tunnel Hill

Just one hill too far at Tunnel Hill

Mark drops off

Mark drops off

Matt drops off at Tunnel Hill

Matt drops off at Tunnel Hill

Filed under Rides in February 2016


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 7 comments on ‘Ride report: Sunday 28 February – Tunnelling moles’

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  1. Karl says:

    What a great ride report Matt, well written and well illustrated. Fast too!.

    Really enjoyed that ride and very glad I made the effort, as although not initially too keen, after the mud slogs of late there, we found the dryer surface had completely transformed how it rode.. Much much more fun.

    Riding so close to the shooting ranges concentrates the mind too!

    Yes the coffee stop is pretty poor, but ameliorated thanks to D’Andy and his brandy livener. Cheers D’Andy!

  2. JR says:

    No Tunnel

    No Hills

    No mud

    But great single track – We will have to go back again soon.

    Good ride report too Matt.

  3. Dandy says:

    What a great ride to mark my return to the trails after a 16 day absence due to excessive beer drinking (either at Cardiff for the 6N or away skiing). The pace wasn’t too excessive, the hills weren’t too long, and the trails flowed perfectly with the exception of a couple of rooty descents which caused some tooth-rattling. Excellent leading, D-Dub; superb pictures, all; and a prompt and entertaining write-up as ever, Matt. I think with my current excess weight and the supply of brandy, I should be renamed ‘St Bernard Mole’ 🙁

  4. James says:

    Second the thanks to ddub for route mastering. Nice quick write up too Matt and some good pictures.

    I think Karl summed it up when he said – it’s a lot more fun when it’s dry!

  5. Tony says:

    Tunnel hill looked great. Are you sure it was the same place as our January sub-aqua location?

    Looks as dry as Swinley was – excellent.

    Better than the odd crazy motorist that we had to put up with on the road.

  6. Mark says:

    an excellent morning’s riding – as per JR’s comment, while disappointed not to see any tunnels, more than made up for by some rather fab single track (and a brandy warmer of course). The Mis shapen wheel incident has prompted a wheel jig purchase (sadly, budget doesn’t extend to a new pair of Easton carbons)……guess my wheel truing skills (or lack of) will be revealed at the next outing

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