Muddymoles mountain biking in the Surrey Hills and Mole Valley

Ride report: Wednesday 16 December – no show, no snow!

Posted by Matt | December 17, 2009 | 6 comments so far

Every once in a while it falls to a select few to maintain our riding honour in the face of general unavailability. With Dave recovering, Tony away, Colin’s bike in bits and the fact it’s the season of feasting and merriment there was always the likelihood of a low turnout last night. Added to which it was bloody cold and wet.

But that didn’t stop MattS, James and myself from venturing onto the hills, lured there by the prospect of a dusting of snow. The trouble was, despite it snowing during the day, by the time we started it had marginally warmed to the point where it felt we were being rained on by a large Slush Puppie, alas without the Blue Raspberry flavouring.

No matter, at least there was a dusting in places, ready for us to leave our tell-tale tyre tracks and mostly, the mud had started to freeze. By the weekend, with the projected drop in temperature I reckon it could be a nice firm riding surface for the first time in weeks. For us it was still quite hard work and rather than hare off into the distance we decided to settle into a steady pace to keep the waiting at the top of climbs to a minimum. Besides, we were so bundled up in our cold weather gear we’d have spontaneously combusted if we’d gone any faster.

So a light sleet-fall, draggy mud and warm clothes defined our ride. We kept it simple, especially since Dave’s recent accident had brought it home to us that we really didn’t want to be lying around in the freezing cold if we could help it. Through Wiggly Wood, down toward the farm, a swift right to Polesdon and then up past Tanners.

The Tanners climb passed at a steady cadence on my singlespeed, I find I can stand on the pedals now all day without hardship although the backs of my arms and forearms feel it the next day. Fortunately my problems with the tensioner now seem to be resolved. At the top of the climb though the recent logging activity, while giving the air a nice pine scent, has unfortunately turned the track to slurry – it’ll be a while before this is sorted out I think.

Once on Ranmore we decided to retrace our steps from last week and head down Mcpherson’s to the trackway. I quite enjoy this bit, it’s sufficiently a challenge in the current conditions without it being stupid and being in front this week allowed me to set my own pace. A bit of extra speed helped no end and we were soon heading down a snowy trackway toward Dorking. At the bottom the wiggle through the wood was a bit slippy—I must make a note not to look back when I’m riding wet roots—and we were soon on the (footpath?) to the Ranmore Road.

Here we passed three or four riders who we heading in the opposite direction, one of whom was female. So it could just have easily been a group of extreme doggers (you know what Surrey is like). But I doubt that.

Soon we were heading through the Denbies estate, it’s great to have ‘discovered’ an alternative route through here and I’ve made a mental note of it next time I’m returning exhausted from Leith as it’s a much easier ride over to the A24. Once there, we agreed to head up and over the Mickleham Gallops. Unlike last time, I was feeling quite comfortable up here and soon stretched out a reasonable lead before we regrouped and continued upward and over to Stane Street where James managed to avoid repeating his total wipeout from last time too.

All that remained was a controlled descent down Alsation which had patches of soft mud in the middle that had my bike floating about disconcertingly but we were soon past that and back into Leatherhead leaving us with the climb up past Thorncroft Vinyard and an easy run through Bockett’s Farm. Mercifully, given the cold, no punctures which was a great relief.

Filed under Rides in December 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 6 comments on ‘Ride report: Wednesday 16 December – no show, no snow!’

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  1. James says:

    On my way to the ride I almost did a U turn and went home. It was cold and now wet, not the best receipe for a fun ride. I also had a bit of a headache, brought on by a day off! (Son was being a real pain, he is 3, enough said).

    Cycled down to a very togged up Matt, he was up for it and soon MattS made it 3. Now I really enjoyed the pace, not as quick but without stopping too long. When we got back washed the bike off at the Esso, it really cleans all the crap off it.

    Matt I even got a puncture!!!!! A slight hiss whilst it was in the car and it was flat, luckly I pumped up the tyre at home and the Dr Sludge tubes did there job. So happy! Ordered some mineral oil from wiggle so should have a better front brake for Sunday. Snow tonight?

  2. Andy C says:

    ‘Chapeau’ for braving last night’s conditions. I sat inside, shivering, as I began to recover from the dreaded Swine Flu that laid me out this week.

    Maybe not an ‘annus horribilis’ for me, but possibly an ‘autumnus horribilis’; fractured hand, dodgy back, swine flu etc.

    Good luck on Sunday, you might get some firm ground and a carpet of snow to play in. I don’t think my flu-ravaged lungs ‘n legs will be up to giving the Pace an outing, so you’ll all have to wait with eager anticipation for it’s unveiling after Christmas. Ride on.

  3. John R says:

    The snow has been lying all week here in Munich and it’s about -10C, so I am looking forward to joining you for a nice warm ride at the weekend.

  4. Rod Mills says:

    Hi guys, I’m from Tasmania, Australia and am missing my MTB, need to hire one and find some tracks to ride on.

    I’m staying in Yately so anything nearby would be cool. Have all my riding gear including pedals. Any help would be good. Cheers Rod

  5. Matt says:

    Rod, bike hire is a bit of an issue if you plan to ride regularly – Head for the Hills in Dorking do this but it could get expensive. May be cheaper to buy a decent 2nd hand bike off eBay and sell it on later?

    As for routes, Hampshire has plenty around the Haslemere/Hindhead area, contact a local bike shop for advice (Cycleworks are in Haslemere and Petersfield). We’d be happy to show you round the Surrey area which has loads of cracking stuff.

  6. Colin says:

    Hi Rod, as per Matt, best buy a bike secondhand and resell when you head back, you won’t lose much.

    As for routes, Yateley has some great singletrack – Gorrick run plenty of races there.

    And, you’re just up the road from Swinley Forest. Us Moles would offer to show you round but whenever we head there, one or more of us seem to break bones !!! Don’t let that put you off though ………..

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