Muddymoles mountain biking in the Surrey Hills and Mole Valley

Ride Report – Wed 11th August

Posted by Colin | August 12, 2010 | 9 comments so far

I remember the days not that far back that you’d turn up to the meeting point wondering if anybody else would be there. Not these days and yesterday kept up the averages again with a good turn out of our ever expanding ‘core’ riders.

Route planning was the usual affair – the shotgun approach where a few trail names are thrown around and, with Druids Grove on the list with China Pig, I took charge and tried to piece a route together.

First stop was Ranmore, via Wiggly Wood where we experienced a few brown-trouser moments thanks to a large hole dug in the centre of the trail on a bend. I can only hope this was a badger’s work and not that of a disgruntled rambler upset at us using their footpath (did I say that?).

Up to Ranmore and then I fancied the fast and lumpy descent to the Chapel ruins at Westhumble which really is much easier if you lay off the brakes and hit it fast. A little road work followed up Crabtree Lane to head over to Druids Grove and I was already hatching a plan to take everyone down the steps from the viewpoint rather than the alternative start from Centenary Copse.

HaHa! I’m not sure anyone had tried them before and it was quite funny standing at the bottom step watching the various close shaves on the way down these tricky steps and switchbacks. A great test of balance and skill though. In hindsight, I should have warned everyone to allow plenty of room as bunching up really doesn’t help on this sort of stuff.

Druids was greasy as usual and as ever, the off-camber sections try to lure you down the slope for an appointment with A&E! Then came Box Hill, with Adam wondering if he could beat his ridiculously already fast time. By the time we hit the bottom, I had cooked my goose well and truly by trying to lead the ride at a fast pace to keep the whippets happy. I was under no illusions, I would not be breaking any records and by the time I reached the top, Amanda had donned her jacket as she was cooling down too much.

Such pain was worth it however with China Pig next on the list, where Adam pushed me all the way while poor old Chris suffered a bizarre technical fault, losing his rear wheel ! I chuckled as everyone could be seen checking their qr’s at the bottom when he eventually arrived.

That left a climb up Juniper in the direction of Alsatian, where I had the most amazing riding experience, following a Barn Owl for a good few seconds at 30mph down the trail as it swooped and soared in front of me – fantastic !

Time for me to peel off for the last climb home, feeling like we had well and truly earned some rest – 20 miles, 1000m of climbing with lots of fast descending.

Special mention to D’AndyC who showed his ironman like qualities by riding tonight after a night on the beers and a few hours kip on the sofa the night before. Maybe we should all adopt his unique d2d training regime?

Riders: D’AndyC, Jez, Lee, Trevor, Amanda, Darren, Adam_Ski, Chris, Colin

Filed under Rides in August 2010


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  1. Jez says:

    Druids was good and China Pig too. It seemed like a night for wildlife with deer and badgers as well but in a game of Top Trumps I think the owl would win.

  2. paul901 says:

    Ah, Druids Grove. I was taken down it last month. I’ll be honest I can’t ride it because of the switchbacks and have only walked it. If memory serves me correctly some singletrack then follows off the side of that same hill. There is one particular lumpy bit where I expected to come off and managed to stay on. Either surprised by this or simply being an idiot I then lost my balance immediately after it and fell to the left side on an innocuous part. I was lucky I did not roll down the side and somehow had natural grip virtually upside down! It did nothing for my phobia of the cambered hillside trails though.

    I take it the bike lights are now coming into play on these rides?

    Il Dandino, you are the stuff of legend. I hope you got home, sat at a table and fell asleep at it to give us mere mortals hope.

  3. John R says:

    Sadly I didn’t get around to joining you last night because of a backlog of work 🙁

    On the other hand, with Colin throwing in a “A great test of balance and skill” down the steps, that is probably just as well.

    With no Moleing for 3 weeks now, and picking up 3kg on holiday, I am desperate for a good ride. Perhaps I will have to go out for an evening to Leith Hill – as per D’Andy.

  4. DaveW says:

    So did anyone make a clean descent of the steps?

  5. Colin says:

    I dabbed on the (easy) first turn then cleaned the rest, it wasn’t smooth or pretty though.

    JohnR, i’m desperate for a good ride too but have to settle for more cycling these days!

    DaveW-you riding Sunday? I have a bill to settle.

  6. DaveW says:

    Good effort on the steps Colin. I think the first corner is the hardest isn’t it? That’s the one where I usually end up in the bushes.

    And yes, I should be there on Sunday.

  7. james pro says:

    Back from a week in Devon but cant make sunday as off to air show. Will be out Wednesday and the following Sunday as need to burn off a week of pasties and fish n chips!

  8. Dandy says:

    Sneaky practice, Col? Those steps were darn tricky, and the rate at which he sped off as I followed him down convinces me he’s been sessioning those for a few weeks now before taking us down.

    Towards the bottom I could hear him chortling as I was pinged off the saddle and nearly went over the bars. Chris was in hot pursuit of me, but I think he was having nearly as many ‘comedy offs’ as I was.

    At least I managed to avoid drifting down the off-camber towards the invetiable stack on the rest of the run, unlike Chris, who was no longer in hot pursuit when I reached the end.

    The climb up Box Hill wasn’t going to hit the record books, but Lee and I despatched it together in a reasonable time, and it’s always worth it if the reward is a dry China Pig.

    The run down Alsation is always great fun, with Jez (who was followed me down) certifying the road was cleared and some ‘decent air’ had been taken.

    I actually think the carbo loading helped my evening ride, though any boosting effect was more than offset by the beer and lack of sleep. I think I would have been a lot worse off without it.

    Perhaps next week may be a better test, as I will travelling back down from the North next Tuesday, thereby avoiding the fine hostelries of Kingston.

    If I can sneak out on my own next week, those steps could do with a few practice runs; what’s the odds on bumping into Colin?

  9. Colin says:

    Such accusations of skullduggery!

    Under oath, that was my third occasion in 3 years having been shown it on a DoMTB ride

    I shall be in Wales next week sans bike so my next visit to the steps will have to wait…..

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