Muddymoles mountain biking in the Surrey Hills and Mole Valley

Ride report: Wednesday 14 October – Box Hill and Headley

Posted by Matt | October 15, 2009 | 5 comments so far

I haven’t been on my bike since the D2D on 4 October for one reason or another. Initially, I just didn’t want to, having been worn out by my efforts; more recently family has got in the way and a niggling doubt about getting a cold. But it hasn’t materialised so maybe it was just the effects of the dust at Thetford.

Some of that dust must have magic properties though as we went out last night in a good old fashioned XC ride with my bike still unwashed from our Norfolk adventure. Despite reluctantly taking my race number off the Orange before the ride it seemed there was still plenty of XC fire in my belly.

Meeting at the garage as usual, our clan-meet consisted of Matt(P7), JohnR, Tony, Lee, Jez, Mark, AndyC and myself. We decided to aim for Box Hill and Headley since we haven’t headed that way for a while and after a bit (OK, a lot!) of chatting we set off up Crabtree Lane and through Wiggly Wood. Despite the odd bit of rain the trails were once again bone dry but now with the steady build up of leaf matter. When it finally gets wet (as it must) these hills are going to be one slippy hell for a while.

But not just yet. Everywhere was a pleasure to ride last night and I was making the most of it. After the ‘wall ride’ at the start of the Tanners climb we settled into the climb proper. With my recent short break and a new found willingness to push I found it strangely bearable even though it’s one of my least favourite slogs around here. Pretty soon we had a breakaway group of the usual suspects (John, Jez and Tony) but surprisingly, I was in there too. Thankfully we got a chance for a breather at the top where Lee discovered he’d picked up some suspect ‘berry matter’ on his backside!

Down toward Denbies we headed for the left hand drop down to the vinyard. For the first time this year I actually led the group down so could pick my own line for a change. With the advantage of the Five’s lovely suspension travel it was great fun although I nearly over-cooked the left hand turn. Coming out onto the Denbies concrete Tony had a near miss with a badger that ran out in front of him. That’s four incidents this year I think now (with Colin’s badger nadger gnarler being the worst) but there must be an awful lot of badgers out there!

After a short stop for Matt to sort out a puncture we started on the Box Hill climb. This is the first time I’ve tried it for probably about four months as we’ve always seemed to be riding elsewhere. With no real intentions of setting a quick time I made a note of the elapsed time on my computer (41.50) at the bottom and set off, some 30 yards behind the last riders and about 60 from the leaders. Yet slowly I reeled them in. By the time I’d reached the Box Hill road I’d almost caught John and Jez at the front and my speedo was reading 49.34. According to John and Tony the ‘official’ DoMTB finish line is crossing the big hump to the car park so I can probably knock off 10 seconds or so. Which means with a bit of squinting I set a 7:34 time up the climb! I’ll settle for that – I told you, that D2D magic dust was still working…

After that we rolled on toward Headley, parting from Mark, John and Matt at the top of Happy Valley before a fast mud free blast across the Heath to the car park. From there, it was into secret singletrack which is just starting to get rideable again now that it’s summer abundance is starting to die back. It’s still pretty difficult to spot a clear line though if you don’t know it’s twists and turns and the lights created quite a bit of shadow too to confuse things.

Our final blast back to Leathehead took in the Tyrells Wood decent and Alsation which we strung together into one long flowing run if you discount the car which nearly took Tony out at the gatehouse. In fairness, I think the guy lived there! He was only trying to park… With that behind us we cracked on, me following a very fast Tony and Jez down Alsation. What a blast. I jumped clean over the track half way down and landed in a lovely smooth flow with both wheels landing together; I even impressed myself but don’t ask me to repeat it!

Back in civilisation, we dropped Tony off at the Leisure Centre while Jez, Andy, Lee and myself carried through to Bocketts and up to the A246 where we finally parted back at the garage. 19 miles under the wheels and a lot of fast riding with plenty of chat seems like the ideal combination to me.

Filed under Rides in October 2009


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 5 comments on ‘Ride report: Wednesday 14 October – Box Hill and Headley’

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  1. Andy C says:

    I can confirm Matt is not exaggerating (sp?) with his description of his leap across the track on Alsation. I was following as close as I dared and it looked mightily impressive to me!

    Boy was I glad that Lee was on the SS last night. Once the group split after Box Hill we were down to the racing whippets of Jez, Matt and Tony (does Tony qualify as a whippet? – only kidding), with Lee handicapped by his SS, and me just, well, handicapped.

    They did graciously allow me to catch up occasionally, and I did enjoy the blasts downhill, though I was struggling with the ups. Maybe I will be a little more ‘up for it’ on Sunday.

  2. John Romer says:

    Matt, as the ride reporter I guess modesty forbids you from saying that you weren’t just a member of the breakaway group up from Tanners, but broke away from us in the last few hundred meters and were first to the top. I think you should bottle some of the D2D magic dust – it works wonders.

    Heading back down Juniper Bottom after we parted, Matt(P7) tore past and disappeared into the distance. A while later he was standing in the path with one leg covered in dirt, after coming a cropper in one of the ruts. Obviously he had been going too fast – the right speed for that section would be slow enough for me to still be able to see him and witness the wipe out. On the other hand, if he had been going slow enough for me to keep him in view I’m sure he would have been in no danger of falling off!

  3. tony says:

    Andy yes it’s more labarador than whippet at the moment but by the time I got to Hedley the legs were begining to work and there was life in the “old dog” yet.

    John this was where Debbie crashed in the summer. The diagonal rain bars can easily catch you out and Matt(P7) certainly goes for it on the hills. He’s got to be one of the fastest descenders amongst the Moles. I hope he’s OK.

  4. Matt says:

    While we’re on the subject of Labradors, I’m reminded John and Tony that every dog has its day. And a day doesn’t last very long!

    So I was making the most of things while I could. I didn’t set out to go that fast but found myself with a bit more in the tank – could have been the Nutrigrain bar I consumed 15 mins before the ride started.

    Both of you can look forward to improving once you get some more miles in. I can’t, so I expect to be following you for most of the winter. As usual!

  5. Lee says:

    On closer inspection when I got in, I noticed more ‘berry matter’ on my shorts and adhered to the seat stays. Also what looked like small teeth marks in the fabric of my shorts. I can only assume a wayward migratory fruit bat had been trying to ‘violate’ me. Clearly the pain of the ranmore climb dulled the senses, but nevertheless, one for the Autumnwatch team to investigate.

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