I’ve not been a frequent attendee on Moles rides of late but the prospect of lovely weather and dry trails made me determined to get out on my first Moles night ride for about 2 months.
Things don’t really change while you’re away though – the rides are still great fun and very well attended. Oh, and the accident rate seems to be increasing…
Despite blatant attempts by the posse to avoid me by moving slightly from the patch of kerb we normally gather on, I rounded the corner to find a mass of bikes and blokes. It seems everyone was out tonight. However, of the 18 finely chiselled athletes (well, actually Darren + 17 more average specimens), it turned out that DaveC, Jem and Matt had already had their fun and were just there to say hello before heading home.
So, that left 15 looking at each other blankly when it came to route planning. Someone kindly nominated me which was fine as I had deliberately not fitted lights, signalling my intentions not to make this a marathon session, I’ve got a home to go to.
Lets face it, our routes tend to mean startinn with a climb to Ranmore or to Headley and tonight I picked Ranmore, felling a little Abba Zabba-ish, With such fine weather, I also fancied taking in the lovely views t’other side of Ranmore.
So for a change, we headed under the stone bridge at the back of Polesden – a dry weather only trail and great fun. Again, for a change we took ‘the middle way’ to the top of Ranmore which is just as relentless as the normal climb from Tanners, just different. I was pleasantly surprised to find the whippet fraternity stopping (for a rest?) half way up – my seat post had dropped a little and my thighs needed a break.
Next on the list was Badger Run and Collarbone, where the first (and worst) ‘off’ of the ride happened. It was fast along there last night and the combination of speed and a narrow gap between trees to negotiate, saw MarkD take a fall, with his little finger getting mangled in the process, ouch! He also took a hit on his knee too but bravely elected to carry on.
Fallen Tree beckoned but Mark’s fall kind of made me think a little too much about it so I rounded it instead. Tony then suggested instead of Abba Zabba we try an alternative trail he and DaveW had ridden recently. It turned out to be Reformation and what a corker is was too – with health warnings about one or two of the gap jumps, aptly christened by MattP7 as ‘shit a kidney’!!
Reformation mostly has a very natural feel and capitalises on the gradient to provide a really entertaining alternative to the usual Abba Zabba, Blind Terror challenges. The jumps have chicken runs but there are some really fun drops and rolls, with off camber thrown in.
Unfortunately, it turned out to be a bogey trail if your name happened to be James, both of them taking a tumble on the way down, nothing serious thankfully. The end section was reported as the highlight by everyone (save for the jump before the final roll) but unfortunately, I took a wrong turn and missed it.
Mark’s mojo had been left back on Collarbone as the assembled group at the bottom watch him paddle at speed down the final large roll, with one testicle either side of the top tube!
With the altitude gone, we headed back along the valley and instead of Pilgrims or White Down to climb back up, I took the group up the footpath running above Pilgrims. You can’t beat the sight of the small chalky ribbon of trail winding up the hillside, with the view of Dorking in the background and the sun on your back – marvellous.
Dearly Beloved had always been on my route plan and I tried to gee up some enthusiasm for ‘turning up the wick’ and going for it down there. The final bend caught out Paul, probably due to the dust cloud thrown up by the rest of us.
That left us with the nasty but short climb up towards Wiggly Wood, which was ridden in the correct direction for once. A great ride-18 miles plus some new trails. Hope the bruises heal to those afflicted. Do we need to start an accident book for Health & Saftey purposes I wonder?
Riders: Me, MattP7, Keith, Paul901, James H, James S, Paul, MarkD, MarkD’s mate, NewAndy, D’AndyC, DaveW, Tony, Darren, Adam