Muddymoles mountain biking in the Surrey Hills and Mole Valley

Ride report: Wed 18 March – Pottering Around the North Downs

Posted by Colin | March 18, 2009 | 6 comments so far

Does it get any better than this? First Sunday’s excellent blast over to and around Leith and then tonight, a varied and speedy route made all the more enjoyable by the glorious weather and dry trails.

Attendance this evening was a little down on recent numbers with Jem, Tony, DaveP, Nick and myself heading out from Bookham. With no Matt to take the reigns and everyone else seeming quite happy-go-lucky, I suggested a route that met with approval.

So Wiggly-we-only-ride-it-at-night-as-we’re-not-meant-to-Wood took us via the bombhole at the back of Polesden (again, a night ride only option) to meet up with the bridleway past Tanners Hatch.

Its a kind of religious thing with me that I simply have to ride the wall ride where the bridleways meet and it was made more interesting tonight as Tony was on my back wheel. Reflecting now, I’m not sure he was aware of my penchant (I didn’t forewarn him either) and when I headed up the bank higher than I ever have before, I could hear some choice words behind me. I managed to get back down cleanly without collecting the surprised Tony, though I gave myself a bit of a shock (but nobody need know).

I suffer from a real boredom threshold issue with ways and means of getting up to the top of Ranmore so suggested we head straight on-ish at Tanners instead of the usual fireroad climb and, thanks to the weather, it turned out to be a good call – a long, varied and challenging climb and mercifully different from our usual. One to remember for the future.

Next stop it was a dry Badger Run leading us to extract revenge on White Down – time to kick its arse by descending at speed as opposed to the pain of climbing it on Sunday’s ride.

The normally sticky, gloopy clay of the cattle trail was incredibly dry so swift progress was made along to the Pilgrims Way climb back up to the top. The gearing on the singlespeed seems to work very well for me up here and I made a break from Jem and Tony, knowing I would not be on my own for long. Lets just say that the two fittest Moles and the quickest climbers didn’t disappoint. My solitude was short-lived.

From the top of Ranmore, next was the fast, steppy and rooty descent from Denbies to the chapel ruins at Westhumble where once again, DaveP indulged in much ribbing while he lounged around on his full susser while the real men got beaten up on our boneshakers.

Crabtree Lane then lead us to the quicker-than-normal trail across to the telephone masts on Norbury and from there we simply had to finish off on Infestation, the exceptionally rooty descent behind Bocketts farm, followed by the flowing singletrack in the woods.

After unanimous agreement as to how fast and enjoyable the ride had been we headed our seperate ways. Vital stats – 19 miles, average speed a respectable 9.5mph and I saw two owls on the wing and nearly ran over a badger! Oh, and Tony’s heart rate maxxed out at 178bpm!

The weather is set to continue and it would be foolish not to make the most of it before the inevitable monsoon season returns. With that in mind, the next Moles ride sees us heading off to Holmbury on Friday night (Mother’s Day friendly alternative) to sample the pick of the trails in perfect shape. Having declined on babysitting grounds, I suspect Matt may be desperately trying to find alternatives. Come on Matt, you know you want to!

Filed under Rides in March 2009


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  1. tony says:

    Yep I’m putting off my move to California. Who needs it when the trails are so good at the moment.

    Glad to hear that you’ll be out on the hardtail singlespeed on Friday…. “DaveP indulged in much ribbing while he lounged around on his full susser tonight while the real men got beaten up on our boneshakers”


  2. Colin says:

    No Tony, I’m just a hypocrite – I’ll not be a real man and fully intend to be ‘lounging’ it on Friday night.

  3. Easynow says:

    I dont manage to get out on the Wednesday night rides as Shane is at night school then, so its the one night a week when I cant go out.

    So a night ride to Holmbury and some of my bestest trails on Friday. YAY !!

    Oh so short lived joy…

    Its my anniversary on Friday (apparantly… Im a bloke, how am I supposed to know stuff like that…) and if I dare to go out on my bike friday evening then the outlook for my weekend will not aparantly be a good one…

    Its still tempting though…

  4. Matt says:

    Colin, I most definitely do want to get out but am still negotiating!

    I can’t think of a better way to spend Friday night. Also, sounds like you had a fun and fast ride last night, good route. That run you mention by the YH at Tanners is good, as you say, evening only but well worth it in the opposite direction too.

    Fingers crossed for tomorrow and thanks for the swift write up.

    Nick, I think we’ll be mixing up the rides a bit more over the dryer months so keep a look out for cheeky night rides at short notice… even if not everyone can make it it’ll be good to take advantage of dry trails when they’re there.

  5. Lee says:

    Colin, sounds like you had another great, dry ride. Would love to have been there but alas was at our latest NCT class where the art of breastfeeding was demonstrated via the use of a crocodile glove puppet and a soft toy American football. I kid you not. Surreal doesn’t even begin to cover it.

    Roll on our Leith trip tomorrow.

  6. Colin says:

    Lee, its not Leith, its Holmbury!

    I can’t believe that NCT stuff they put you through. The only thing you benefit are some friendships gained, certainly not the practical help.

    We’ll excuse you if you are practising your deep breathing exercises in the hills tomorrow, it’ll be like having Dave there!

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