Muddymoles mountain biking in the Surrey Hills and Mole Valley

Ride report: Sunday 6 February – puncture practice

Posted by Matt | February 6, 2011 | 9 comments so far

Some days are better than others. We’ve been incredibly lucky for a long time regarding punctures but today that ran out with a spate of punctures thanks to the hawthorn trimming that the land owners seem to indulge in at this time of year. I’ll resist the urge to say ‘tubeless’ as it’s an expensive upgrade but it does tend to save a lot of aggro!

Jez on Blind Terror

At the Bockett’s car park we were taunted by the presence of Barrie and Tony in their roadie gear and on darkside bikes saying hello before they headed out on a lengthy road ride for a change. I’m thinking the headwind might play a part in how they look back on today!

Those of us heading out onto the Surrey Hills instead consisted of Jez, JohnR, Ray, KevS, Rob, AndyC (welcome back!), PaulM, Andy661, Pete and Greg (both new) and a hungover me. We’d decided on a Newlands Run at Dave’s prompting on the forum but he wasn’t able to ride today due to illness.

So off we went along the Admirals Track. It felt strange to be out on the MTB again after spending a few rides with Tony, Barrie and others on the road bike but I was running my new white Stans Crest rims on red Hope Pro 2 hubs and was looking forward to seeing if they performed any differently.

Actually, whether it was luck or the new wheels I’m not sure but the first hop off the tarmac onto Yew Trees felt great as the bike flew over the drainage gulley so a promising start. I found they felt significantly easier to spin and steer throughout the ride today and feel it was money well spent. More of that in another post when I’ve got some more miles on them.

After we’d reached Ranmore we headed down Badger Run and Collarbone on our regular route to White Down. A lengthy pause ensued while Kev sorted his first puncture, then it was up to White Down and along to through the trees to the car park, headed for Abba Zabba.

Both Jez and AndyC rode Abba Zabba rather well while the rest of us headed round the chicken run and up to the top of Blind Terror 2, which AndyC and myself tackled this time. After rolling into Blind Terror itself we then stopped to chat and try and help a trio of riders who were wrestling with an Avid Juicy that needed a new set of pads. Sadly I didn’t have my spares on me which would have saved them a bit of hassle.

Crossing the road, the Numbskull complex flowed nicely under my wheels, whose MudXs were not getting much of a workout on the near-dry trails. You can thank me for that but be warned, when I switch to my summer Nobby Nics the heavens will open!

Matt and AndyC climbing up to Newlands Corner

The rest of the route to Newlands followed our usual paths, but we had to stop twice more near Shere for Kev to patch two more punctures and for Jez to get in on the act too. We also managed to try out the VAR tyre lever that I mentioned last week and it’s first field test was entirely successful even though it felt like I was demonstrating something on Price Drop TV.

The final climb up to Newlands was as hard as ever and everyone was glad for the chance to refuel at the cafe there, meeting Dave who’d driven over from Bookham. Can’t get between a man and his hot chocolate! I accepted the opportunity of a bacon roll for a change which my hangover had politely requested but by the time we finally got going again it was very cold from the strong winds.

Heading back along the North Downs way we passed many runners who were taking part in an Endurance weekend, running 33 miles yesterday and another 33 today. Sounds like hard work to me. There’s definitely a growing trend towards these ultra enduro things, or triathlons or whatever. It seems like a simple marathon is no longer considerate tough enough. It make out team efforts at various races look a bit feeble, but we know the truth don’t we…?

The last few miles were spent with us all hoping there’d be no more punctures and fortunately that was the case. I was making sure I was riding within myself but still found I was tired this evening. That might have had something to do with the tree stumps I was digging out in the back garden this afternoon though!

All in, 26 miles for me door-to-door and a realisation – after being wind-assisted down the Polesdon Road at high speed – that the trees in the woods had protected us from the worst of the gales blowing today. It was probably worse for Barrie and Tony on the road…

Pictures of today’s ride can be found on Flickr.

Filed under Rides in February 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 9 comments on ‘Ride report: Sunday 6 February – puncture practice’

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  1. paul901 says:

    “Stans Crest rims on red Hope Pro 2 hubs”. I’ll have to go browsing Matt since I don’t currently understand MTB wheels but I guess my curiosity is whether an intermittent rider like me would still benefit changing/upgrading my original fit Mavic 117 and FireXCPro tyres. Also, if the bike has spells of inactivity (and sadly the Whyte does at the expense of the road bikes of course), does the type of wheel make any difference i.e. resent the neglect? I’m guessing it doesn’t matter unless you let a tubeless go completely flat and maybe not then anyway.

    • Matt says:

      Hi Paul, there’s three advantages to these new wheels from my perspective.

      First, they’re tubeless rims and will work with either proper UST tyres (heavy) or the newer tubeless ready tyres like my MudXs which are much lighter. MudXs inflated using just the track pump, very easy.

      Second the wheels are lighter (much lighter) than my Mavic 819s so with the wheel and tyres combo I’m saving around 2-300g from each wheel.

      Finally, and most importantly, they’re white! With red hubs.

      Personally I don’t think there’s much that really needs changing on your Whyte but as you know, better wheels always make a difference. There’s nothing seriously wrong with your 117/XC Pro combo but these are a worthwhile upgrade in my view, particularly if you want the benefits of tubeless.

      The standard black with black hubs version are available from Hope as a complete wheelset and is much cheaper than my white version. Tony now has the same set-up too.

  2. John R says:

    A thoroughably enjoyable run, with something for everybody, technical downhill, climbs and standing around in the cold watching punctures get repaired.

    As I was washing my bike after the run I spotted a thorn in the tyre – so I pulled it out, spund trhe wheel and soon the white latex had stopped oozing. Tubeless do work! Well, hopefully – we will see if it is stiil inflated next weekend.

    • KevS says:

      Gutted of Fetcham!! 🙁
      After getting home I threw both tubes in the bath and found another 2 slow leaky thorn punctures just waiting to get me so that makes 5 in one ride. Is this a Mole record?

      Dave has a cunning plan for me to test some new puncture resistant tubes so will give them a go for a couple of weeks before taking the plunge to tubeless.

      Thanks to all for your patience on Sunday, its never much fun standing around watching some Muppet faff with punctures but as Matt said we have been pretty lucky lately.

  3. Dandy says:

    What a cracking ride for my first Moles outing of 2011! Even better news for me is that today I don’t have the ‘recovering from flu/wobbly legs’ symptoms that have been afflicting me as a result of the Post Viral Fatigue Syndrome following an Epstein-Barr virus infection back in the Autumn (according to the blood test). I’m even thinking of a mid-week ride (though that might only be on the road).

    I was also very happy with Kev’s penchant for riding through thorn clippings, as his many punctures gave me the opportunity for frequent recovery stops which meant that my lack of fitness was not such an issue. It also helped that I hung around with Matt (a fellow hypochondriac) and a couple of others at the back of the pack, discussing how unfortunate we were and swapping symptoms of our various ailments. Hence the photo of Matt and I climbing up to Newlands where we more or less chatted all the way up; a change from my normal approach of trying to hang onto the wheels of those younger and fitter than myself.

    I had enough energy to clean the bike and complete my allotted domestic chores before settling down with a glass of wine and Ski Sunday at 5pm. Luckily La Dandina has recognized that I’ve been ill and has excused me from heavy gardening chores for a while, I suspect that once I’m back cycling regularly my presence will be requested back in the garden on Sunday afternoons 🙁

    Given the time of year, the trails were generally pretty dry. I have managed a couple of short outings to Pitch Hill this year, and was confident enough to tackle the pile of logs on the way to the Abba Zabba complex. I was pleased to complete this with no issue, and that put me in a confident frame of mind for the technical challenges a few minutes down the trail. Of course, no one actually saw me ride the logs, so maybe that doesn’t count then?

    I was pleased to complete all the ‘interesting’ parts of AZ, as it’s been a while since I’ve ridden there. I think my last attempt on AZ saw my front wheel slide away on the damp upslope before the tree as I tried to modulate my speed, resulting in my sliding back down on my backside. Yesterday’s attempt was a little more elegant, though I’d forgotten what an exercise in commitment it is as you round the tree.

    There really is no other option but to point the front end where you want to go and let gravity do the rest, ideally with your arse off the back and keeping the bike rubber side down. We’ll have to strap a mini-cam to Jez’s helmet on his next attempt, so that those contemplating that section can get an idea of what’s involved. I daren’t volunteer as that would guarantee a shot of my head kissing the dirt.

    I was thinking of having another go on the way back, but time was getting on thanks to the various stops, and it was probably better that I finish with a sense of well-being rather than puncturing (should I say that – Kev?) my sense of self-esteem by taking my usual tumble! See you next Sunday.

  4. kc says:

    I am not so keen on this new Chinese year of the rabbit. After slogging over to Crowthorne Wood and doing a reccy of the Saddle Skiddaddle Round 2 route I realised I had another drivetrain issue that could not be solved (by me) on the trail. In fact even my turbo trainer through a wobbly during a 30 minute test when I got home somewhat adrenillin fuelled at not being able to compete in the race and “gave it large”.

    Things turned for the better later on when the cork on a red wine bottle eased its way out.

    Note to self; either check out the bike thoroughly after a repair, including under full loads up and downhill or just head to the wine cellar.

    Looking forward to next wekend when I can hopefully join up with you guys again

  5. DaveW says:

    Sounds like a good spin. I have also taken the Crest on Pro2 option with my Orange 5 (a bargain black:black set from Merlin like Tony). As I am a tubeless virgin, I felt a bit nervous, but thankfully the experience did not end immediately in an explosion of sticky white goo…

    I had planned an extended XC ride for Sunday, but when the forecasted rain failed to arrive, I took the opportunity to head up to Leith with my El Guapo. The highlight for me was jumping the fallen tree on WoM for the first time :o)

  6. Tony says:

    Well us darkside MAMIL road moles had a very nice spin out over to Shere, Walliswood and looped back to BoxHill. A good +45miles with bright sunshine and loads of roadies out and about. Especially good was the run up from Walliswood, through Weare Street to Dorking with a good tailwind.

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