Muddymoles mountain biking in the Surrey Hills and Mole Valley

Ride report: Sunday 28 November – Big Al

Posted by DaveC | November 28, 2010 | 18 comments so far

Lee clears the log
This ride saw Big Al joining us. I later learned he usually rides with the Dirt Devils, a group Matt and I met years ago…

So on a cold, frosty morning we assembled in the normal place looking forward to lots of frozen ruts and a general lack of mud. We weren’t disappointed.

I met up with Colin, Lee, JohnR, PaulM (he was in the car park before me!!!), BigAl, Ray, Kevin, Tony Tumble, and if I’ve forgotten anyone I apologise and I, uncharacteristically forgot to take a head count! I’d also uncharacteristically published a route plan on the forum giving a taste of what I had planned which was enough to persuade Colin to head out with us rather than doing a dawn raid to Pitch Hill.

So we headed over towards Polesden option to take the first left under the Stone bridge. Conditions were CRUNCHY, offering plenty of grip if you had the bottle to go for it. Big ruts were the main obstacles to watch out for. Given the frozen conditions I opted to take the middle option from the Youth Hostel and we rode this all the way to the Ranmore Road, something I’m not sure I’ve ever done before and if it hadn’t been frozen I think I can see why!!

From there we headed to Abba Zabba via the normal Badger Run and Collar bone with Lee having a comedy fall on the log roll before showing us how it should be done and Colin following him over. At Abba Zabba itself Colin showed the way with Big Al following, Lee breaking his cherry and then Kevin had a crack, but I think failed. Tony (pre tumble phase) and John both did the drop only (apologies if I got that wrong! Correct it in the comments!).

From there to Blind Terror 2, with Big Al again showing how it should be done, followed by Colin. Tony adopted the Tumble label from here on! We took the easy NumbSkull drop which was made more exciting by the leaves and then we headed over the road with Colin and I heading into the Blind Terror complex which is just such a hoot in my book.

Colin climbing McPherson's

The McPhersons climb beckoned and it was here that I really became aware how tired a lacking in energy I was feeling but the climb seemed to evade most riders with the possible exception of JohnR. Quick climb on the road and then we took in “And then there were three” which I enjoyed immensely and managed to stay on the bike which is always a bonus. Tony put a another tumble on the side of his frame.

Up Box Hill towards refreshment we said “Goodbye” to Colin at the bottom. Lee wondered about China Pig as an option and given the amount of grip we’d found so far we decided this was a reasonable option so after tea we head that way. I treated it with a bit of caution, possibly holding Big Al up but I couldn’t shake the weird feeling generated by the crunching of ice particles under the tyres even though I didn’t slip once.

JohnR and Paul peeled off at this point while the rest of us headed back to Norbury, taking in Infestation on the way back to the car park.

Really great ride but I have to admit to being totally exhausted by it all and looking for for a long sleep!

Check out our Flickr pages for some photos of today’s ride.

Filed under Rides in November 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 18 comments on ‘Ride report: Sunday 28 November – Big Al’

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  1. Stevend says:

    Reading this report sounds very similar to my 25 mile jaunt in the Chilterns this morning.

    Cold, frost, very pretty, potentially dangerous ruts and lots of crunching. Due to wrong choice of footwear I had to cut short my ride, I was up for 30+ miles, due to freezing feet.

    The hot coffee at my cake stop was particularly welcome today.

    Like you Dave, I felt a lot more tired (ie knackered) than I expected. I put it down the cold, though Dandy assures me it is old age.

    Good to see people out, it is not often you get back from a winter ride and do not need to wash the bike, so the cold frost does have at least one benefit.

  2. pij says:

    What forum?! Used to be a link at the top of this web page, but that appears to have been removed – or at least doesn’t feed through any browser that I use.

  3. Dave says:


    It maybe too cold where you are? Forum working for me in Firefox.

  4. pij says:

    Nope – no forum on the web page even using Firefox. I don’t use it; just pointing out that it seems to have gone for some users.

    Cold? This isn’t cold. Get a grip man.

  5. Matt says:

    Well it seems PIJ was right, there was a problem with the link to the forum, with a double ‘/’.

    I didn’t have a problem anyway but it’s now corrected…

  6. pij says:

    Ha! Those ruts caught me out a few times. For the past three weeks I’ve been battling with the mud, so put a 1.8″ Maxxis Medusa on the rear. Clever me…. but my cunning plan was routed by the weather going cold. You try riding 2″ ruts with a 1.8″ tyre. Here’s hoping for a thaw.

    Forum now back on all browsers.

  7. Lee says:

    Well, what a crackingly crunchy teeth-chattering cold ride that was. A frozen solid Camelbak tube for well over half the ride the ever present reminder of the high Arctic conditions. Though it has to be said it was lovely riding conditions at ground level.

    As I said to Dave on our roll back home, that ride was a reminder of how far you don’t need to stray from home to link together a ride with great variety. Comedy log roll off aside, from which I later revealed a reasonable gash to my right calf, I was pretty chuffed to have popped my AZ cherry. Perhaps the cold had really affected my senses.

    I briefly saw on the news this morning a piece about an MTB race on Reunion Island where competitors race down a Volcano in an otherwise tropical paradise. I think we know who the real MTBers were this weekend!

    And my second Sunday on the spin, I’ve got to clam down.

  8. Dandy says:

    Great photos; looks like JR had his motor drive camera out again. Don’t flatten that bracken too much Lee, there’s others that need to make use of that cushioning, too.

    Nice to hear AZ was doable also. Last time I skidded on the upslope, so need to tackle it again sometime soon to show it who is boss.

    Currently targeting next Sunday for my comeback to rejoin the magnificence of Moles, but will see how I feel during the week.

  9. John R says:

    I certianly did, Dandy.

    It was a great choice of route by Mr C with lots of great climbs . . . . . oh yeah, and the technical stuff around AZ – BT, and China Pig in surprisingly good form.

    I also popped a few cherries, on some of the runs in the AZ-BT area that most Moles usually do and I have previously chickened out of. I am quite chuffed to have done the AZ roll in, but have left the upslope around the tree for another time.

  10. KevS says:

    Colder than a Polar Bears dangly bits at times but moving between trails in frosty hollows up onto sunny hills made for a great mornings ride again.

    True to form Dave factored in some cheeky climbs but Macphersons was a killer!

    I dont know what John R was on but I would like a dollop of it as he was truly multi tasking, forging ahead, stopping to take pics and videos, forging ahead again as well as crunching the killer climbs!

    Abba Zabba was a learning curve for me, must remember not to slow down to much at the tree on the upslope otherwise its a seat of the pants tangled up dismount as one tries to remove ones sensitive bits from the saddle area before it all goes tits up!

  11. Colin says:

    Great ride and a big oop to JohnR for his Mr Gnarly metamorphisis. You missed off the fact that he cleared the small double at the bottom of the Ranmore trails.

    Grip levels were superb with my personal fave being And Then There Were Three aka Menage a Trois.

    Otherwise, there seemed to be a number of milestones accomplished today, all in just a simple route on our doorstep.

    ‘Marvellous’, as our absent leader would say.

    Matt, where are you?

  12. Colin again says:

    ‘Ooh….’ say my wife when seeing the pic of me clearing the logstacle ‘….your wheels actually touch it as you go over. I thought you’d just jump over it’

    I’ll consider my fire well and truly pi55ed on. Must try harder

  13. Alan says:

    Hi guys, just to say thanks for making me so welcome. I really enjoyed the ride Sunday morning, nice to ride some new trails. I look forward to riding with you all again soon.

  14. John R says:

    It just shows how much faith she has in your jedi abilities, Colin.

  15. KevS says:

    Er indoors looked at the photo of me walking the bike up McPhersons behind Colin (who was riding, showoff) and pronounced, “Humph, dont know why you need a bike if you are gonna walk round”

    Ho Hum 🙁

  16. Colin says:

    Lol, one liners from our better halves can be brutal !!

  17. Matt says:

    My missus comes up with one-liners but nothing that I could repeat here!

  18. Dandy says:

    La Dandina just shakes her head and mutters under her breath whenever I gibber enthusiastically about a morning on the North Downs 🙁

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