Muddymoles mountain biking in the Surrey Hills and Mole Valley

Ride report: Sunday 7 January – mud in winter

Posted by Matt | January 8, 2018 | 1 comment so far

How many times have I seen this bike upside down?
Some things don’t change much… like, for instance, mud in winter…

Today was the first Sunday ride I’ve turned up to for probably six months. Multiple reasons really – first, we had a couple of new riders joining us for the first time who needed greeting, second, habits are easy to break and hard to acquire and third, I knew it would be hard work!

So at Bockett’s today we had JohnR, Elliot, James and myself along with a handful of excuses from others centered around man-flu, plus new boys Nic and Andrew. It turns out – after time spent riding with Freeborn – that Andrew also knew our emigres Darren and Amanda, so hmmm small world eh?

John had suggested a ride to Peaslake and we were all happy with that. Without going into huge detail, we skirted Roaring House Farm, up Crabtree Lane and tackled View to a Kill which at this time of the year is the typically rooty slip-fest that you’d expect.

Within moments of finishing that, James had his Cannondale upside down fiddling with the brakes. How many times I wonder have I seen this bike upside down?!

James fixes his brakes

Back underway, it was a grim climb up Dearly Beloved. Already I was finding it heavy going as everyone else seemed quite able to scamper away from me at will. Sigh, pigeons and statues I guess.

Once on Ranmore, further brake faffage from James ensued but he did manage to sort the problem for the remainder of the ride. I’m not criticizing by the way, it just amuses me that this poor Cannondale has to suffer continued ignominy! Like I said earlier, some things don’t change much…

We decided that given the rampant mud the best thing to do was get down to the valley and ride along there where the surface is better, so we headed straight down Scouting for Boys and crossed the railway line. Then proceeded to skirt Westcott and the Dearleap Woods before climbing up past Paddington Farm.

Once on Holmbury we nipped up to the top, then did Yoghurt Pots and made our way to Barry’s. Riding the Kona in newly geared guise I found the trails quite hard on the arms, hands and shoulders. The combination of a short travel 29er hardtail and not being match fit took it’s toll.

Cold moles in a Baltic gale on Holmbury

Another constant that can be relied on is Peaslake Stores and we were quick to reward ourselves with cheese straws and coffee. With the wind chill sucking warmth out of us whenever we stopped (and in places it was a howling gale), we didn’t hang around too long. Even so it took a mile or two before I managed to get some heat into me again as we were forced to pedal downhill in the mud on Rad Lane – never a good sign).

After that, we started to retrace our steps to Ranmore, making a good call NOT to haul ourselves up White Down today and instead opting for High Med. By now my back was aching and my legs were starting to cramp up, I felt I just couldn’t push myself any faster. By the time we’d made it down Dearly Beloved and started up through the Polesden estate, even John was looking tired and Elliot complaining he’d eaten too many mince pies over Christmas! That’s a first.

In all, we managed a few moments of sunshine amid the Baltic gale and with 29 miles of hard work but good company, some things don’t change…

Filed under Rides in January 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 is 1 comment on ‘Ride report: Sunday 7 January – mud in winter’

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  1. Andrew lewis says:

    Great write up, and a great ride – I really enjoyed myself. Tired legs meant I opted out of my commute home tonight too – that’s a sure sign I put the effort in! See you guys again, hopefully next week, thank you!

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