Muddymoles mountain biking in the Surrey Hills and Mole Valley

Ride report: Sunday 4 November – A morning round Holmbury and Pitch

Posted by Matt | November 4, 2018 | 7 comments so far

The Moles on Holmbury, November 2018
Goodness, it’s been so long since I’ve been free on a Sunday! This week I was determined to join the guys for a ride.

First of all, one way or another I was going to be riding. Not only was the weather perfect, with mild, calm conditions but the trails remain in good shape. Second of all, well it is Rovember after all. And third… well I don’t have to justify everything do I??

The forum chat was leaning toward a Holmbury start; not ideal for me since I was hoping to step outside my door and ride to our rendezvous. But whatever, I’d already decided I was riding come what may and I was keen to spend some time on Holmbury and Pitch and catch up with the guys.

So it was we met up at Car Park Number 9 around 8:30, with everyone making the effort to be riding by 8:45 as agreed – I can’t tell you how unusual that is! The group included me, JamesS, JR, Elliot, Professor Mark, and Lloyd.

Of course, starting at Holmbury means heading uphill on cold legs but that didn’t last too long. Before we knew it, Elliot was leading us down Return of the Jedi and the ride started to develop the sawtooth profile that it kept for the rest of the day.

Up, down, down a bit more, up, down etc. You get the idea. I was really enjoying the Jeffsy and felt the trails were providing oodles of grip but even so the fact the Moles have been out riding this sort of terrain all summer was clear. I was happily mid-pack but couldn’t live the guys when they pointed downhill.

Coffee break at Peaslake

My personal highlights were Barrie Knows Best (yes I know it’s a classic but I still love it), Bo Selecta, Secret Santa and SuperNova back to the Walking Bottom carpark. It was hard to find a trail that wasn’t running great and I was actually spending a bit of time airborne as the result of it.

I was also enjoying the climbs, strangely. Some of them were bloody hard as our stats of 2650 feet over 17 miles attested. Worst of all – by which I mean I quite enjoyed it – was the Death Star climb from Gasson Farm. Enjoyed it, cleaned it, but in no rush to do that again!

At the end of Secret Santa we met Jonesy, Karl and Nick, all people we’ve ridden with in the past before it became apparent they were much faster and ‘hardcore’ than us! It was great to see them and have a chat.

The four winds

Another thing worth commenting on was the number of electric bikes out there.

Is this a good thing? I can’t say; people are riding that’s the main thing. Will it cause issues over time? Maybe as the line between pedal power and motorbike blurs.

For now, they look awesome at getting people back up the hills, but still require a lot of work to ride well. Karl was on one, but there were also plenty of other people overhauling us on the climbs. What’s interesting is how quickly these bikes have appeared – less than two years and the prevalence of them is small, but increasingly noticeable.

One final thought. I’ve ridden these trails for many years with lots of people and its always the present company that is the most important. There is nothing to beat being out on the trails with mates after all. Even so, I couldn’t help reminiscing at various points during the ride about a certain missing – presumably retired – Mole. Yes I’m talking about DC.

Passing the end of Death Star, which was always a favourite of his, and storming down Crackpipe, where all I could hear in my head was ‘Slidey, slideeey!!’ it struck me that an e-Bike might be just the ticket in his case. Just sayin’…

Thanks to Elliot for todays’ ride composition, it was a cracking ride and I’m glad I was able to make it. I was even more surprised that I didn’t hit the buffers during the afternoon as expected, even though I am, as ever, riding back to fitness.

Filed under Rides in November 2018


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 4 November – A morning round Holmbury and Pitch’

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  1. KevS says:

    The two geezers on each end of the bench look extremely dodgy if you ask me, which you didn’t, but so what! 🙂

  2. Tony Tumble... says:

    As someone with only 50% lung capacity after a monster crash last year, an ebike on 20% power allows me to ride with my old buddies and flows down the trails unassisted and with all the agility of a normal bike. I’ve even started getting airborne again.

    • Matt says:

      Ooh I missed that Tony – didn’t realise you’d had a big knock. Sounds pretty nasty, hope you make further progress with your recovery.

      Totally agree e-Bikes help people get out when they normally wouldn’t but I can see them becoming a bit of an issue – I got chased round the Stickler at Swinley recently, nearly blew up trying to stay ahead of this guy who was right on my tail. After I eventually conceded defeat and pulled over, was a bit cheesed to see it was a young bloke in a full face helmet on an e-Bike! Might as well have been on a Moto-X bike…!

  3. Elliot says:

    Peculiar…I concocted the route but I still find myself sitting here looking up a couple of the trail names!

    Top ride chaps!

  4. Dandy says:

    Much approve of the hirsute look, MarkP & Lloydy ?
    E-bikes not that common here in Vancouver, despite the gradients and (laughably to you ☹️) short ride distances. They’re a big issue South of Parallel 49, where they’re banned as ‘motor vehicles’ by many of the US parks.

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