Muddymoles mountain biking in the Surrey Hills and Mole Valley

Ride report: Wednesday 16 May – shredding the gnarr!

Posted by Matt | May 17, 2012 | 17 comments so far

D'Andy stacks it on Numbskull

A picture, they say, is worth a thousand words.

In which case, clearly there’s a story to tell concerning poor D’Andy here who assumed the mantle of crash test dummy for our evening ride on Ranmore.

Meeting at the garage earlier we were faced with an altogether more composed D’Andy wearing what can only be described as a sartorial statement in purple plaid. Either D’Andy is subtly passing comment on the transitory nature of youth, or he’s simply regressed to the point where he’s finally dressing himself in clothes his mother prevented him from wearing in his childhood. Either way, I’m not sure La Dandina knows what he’s donned shortly before setting off for an MTB ride or if she does, she’s past caring!

Our purple leprechaun was joined by JamesH, Lloyd, JohnR and myself with a simple plan to make sure we didn’t lose James this time and to make sure we didn’t exert ourselves overly on the night’s ride. We headed up to Wiggly Wood and soon found the perfect conditions for an evening ride, cool but windless and with firm, semi dry trails.

Our purple leprechaun

After that we headed down toward Polesden but were brought up short by the large fallen tree which has been blocking the path for several weeks. Not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, D’Andy soon set about attempting to construct a ramp over it. It was on the larger side of what I fancied and as D’Andy proved, there just wasn’t enough run in from a standing start to get over it, but he gamely gave it a go while we watched his antics, to no avail.

Then we were back riding, through the estate (shame ‘they’ have stepped the bank on the other side of the Dorking Road) and then climbing up to Ranmore.

I was on the singlespeed once more and feeling quite sprightly so soon settled into a steady rhythm up the steeper first section, unconcerned as JohnR steamed past me with an imaginary thought bubble above him which said ‘Strava’ in big letters). It turned out I managed a PB up to the Ranmore Road (it’s called Tanned Hides), setting a time of 4:52 which I’m very happy with seeing as I was on a mono-cog.

Once the others caught up we pressed on to Badger Run and Collarbone. The idea was a trip to Abba Zabba and then along the Abinger Roughs and up the nasty climb to the Drovers Road. Collarbone proved an arduous slog as the ground, while drying, is at that in-between glue-like stage that happens with clay. Throw in damp roots and while I enjoyed myself immensely at little more than walking pace, it was hard work.

D'Andy attempts a log roll

Despite the idea of a more relaxed pace, we weren’t wasting too much time stopping so the flow was beginning to come. It helps knowing everyone is familiar with the trails and know what they are doing although Lloyd was starting to have problems with a front brake that wouldn’t bite. I upped the pace a little through Trouble in Paradise, then we pressed on toward Abba Zabba.

I lead our cluster of MTBers round the chicken run, intent on keeping the flow going all the way through the complex. Round the chicken run, over the low log, up the bowl on the otherside and then down the next short bank before coming out by the oak and heading straight down Blind Terror 2 before I had second thoughts. Perfect!

As we rolled to a halt next to the White Down road, Lloyd pulled up with a lose cleat, thinking with a dodgy brake and now the cleat his ride was over. That was without the contribution of James though who remarkably was able to produce a spare cleat bolt from his bag to keep him rolling. I’ve never seen anyone do that before!

So, underway again we crossed the road with D’Andy bringing up the rear while Lloyd headed down on the tarmac in view of his brake problems. He was in for a bit of a wait. As we headed into Numbskull the group split to the left and right to take on less technical options while D’Andy made the unlucky choice of rolling straight into the steep sided bowl. There’s a nasty step a third of the way down and momentarily distracted by the thought of riders coming in from the side, D’Andy stacked it hard.

The result was a copious amount of blood from a severe nosebleed, a thickened lip and a hefty bruise to the cheekbone. When your face is your fortune this could have been problematic, but since this is D’Andy we are talking about it added extra ‘edge’ to his already gnarly outfit. In fact he was quite concerned about how his shirt had stood up to the abuse!

Seriously though, it looked very painful and was very bloody. It’s not till you stand for any length of time on some of the slopes we ride that you realise how steep they are, how close the trees are and how much momentum is involved.

Three confused men

Undeterred, D’Andy was game enough to continue once he’d cleaned himself up a little. Reunited with Lloyd, we headed onto the Abinger Roughs, taking the meandering singletrack through which we normally do on the Newlands ride. I love these woods and really hammered the short downhill bits but soon it was time to take on the climb back up to the Ranmore ridge from New Barn Farm.

This is one of the hardest climbs round here, much worse than the White Down climb. It starts on deeply rutted, energy sapping doubletrack, then kicks up viciously as you meet the tree line before flattening a little, rounding a hairpin and then settling into a consistently steep gradient to the top. John disappeared up the hill but I was forced to stop and get off and walk for 50 yards or so on the steep bit before the hairpin.

Lloyd passed me at that point but eventually I caught and re-passed him near the top. In fact I was a bit disappointed to have walked as I reckon I must have dropped a minute of time. But my HR (on a leisurely ride remember) topped 182 up that climb!

A rubber chicken

Having taken a few minutes to regroup and recover we made our way to the North Downs Way and on to the Drovers Road to head toward Horsley. As we passed the old Cart Lodge near Crocknorth Road John spotted a rubber chicken lying in the bushes, a sight too tempting for our maverick D’Andy.

It was duly collected and tucked into his belt, squaking occasionally as D’Andy did something to it for the rest of the ride. It even fell off on the descent to Horsley and had to the re-collected. This fast descent has ridden far better, it was hugely draggy in teh top third but finally gave up some pace as we got lower down the hill. I was certainly shaken and stirred on the hardtail that’s for sure!

Into Horsley, we picked up Dirtham Lane and tracked through the woods to Orestan Lane and then back at a fast spin on the tarmac to Bookham. By way of reward we settled down outside the Anchor pub for a pint of Cornish Knocker which was a fine way to end the evening.

I got home, feeling a touch inebriated, with 15 miles on the clock. But what an eventful 15 miles they had been!

More photos of our night ride are on Flickr!

Filed under Rides in May 2012


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 17 comments on ‘Ride report: Wednesday 16 May – shredding the gnarr!’

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  1. MuddyDave says:

    That shirt reminds me of Rainbow (as in Zippy and Bungle). I can’t think of anything else to write, maybe that’s the purpose of the shirt.

  2. Pascal says:

    It takes quite the shirt to visually overwhelm that much blood. Success! Hope it doesn’t hurt too much, D’Andy.

  3. Karl says:

    DAndy, A trifle sudden perhaps sir! Bet you thought so too.

    Nice splash of no guts no glory red though..

    What happened to your Met Parachute?

    Hope the only things broken are few staid dress codes..

  4. paul901 says:

    Dear Diary:
    3 May – must stop riding soon with op coming
    10 May – must be sensible with op coming, don’t want any accidents
    17 May – must be sensible after op, don’t want any accidents
    19 May – must be sensible on Milk-Tray-Man Welsh-slate-downhill and ski-lift-uphill trails

    D’Andy, you know you should be gently spinning on the tarmac, it’s not the end of the world that we won’t let you if you’re wearing that jacket!

  5. stevend says:

    My first thought was had I mistakenly visited the American Loggers website ? From his FB comment I was expecting a few scratches – hmm ouch. Just when we thought the best way to stand out from the crowd was to wear a 2012 mole shirt, young D’Andy steps us and sets a new standard. I like that shirt (not sure about the shorts though).

    Btw, D’Andy did you actually have an eye op or was it just an excuse to wear goggles ? 😉

  6. Bazza says:

    Nice one Dandy, it looks like you will be perfect for a job as Ronald Mcdonald……..
    only joking mate hope its not too painful

  7. Matt says:

    I really like the shirt, although the shorts are a bit clownish! Maybe if the shirt was teamed with black shorts it would look pretty cool?

    Poor Andy did actually hurt himself quite badly!

  8. DaveS says:

    D’Andy, sorry to hear about your smash. Your sympathies to me are returned! The shirt and shorts really do deserve a mention they are really… special! I can see why you wear them night riding. Recover soon. Dave

  9. PaulM says:

    Rotten luck D’Andy!
    Maybe the trail thought you were being disrespectful in that gear – I’m sure you’ll earn it back 🙂

  10. Lloyd Brown says:

    Good ride made even better by a pint of good ale at the end. Many thanks to James for the cleat bolt, its presence in James pack was as surprising as it was welcome.

    Btw the chicken looks like it has just sat down (abruptly) on the saddle a la Danny.


  11. Lee says:

    Dandy, that looks pretty horrific. Your injuries look nasty too….!

    A boring top tip. If you lose a cleat bolt, you can use a rotor bolt as a temporary fix.

  12. James says:

    You are most welcome Lloyd, always nice to help out as I have been helped by fellow moles in the past. Nice pace tonight, well managed to keep up. Really enjoyed the pint and to catch up with some old pals. See you again soon. Andy, hope the face improves…

  13. KevS says:

    To quote D’Andy’s forum signature …

    “D’Andy. Proving that age does not always bring wisdom”

    I have no more to say! 😉

  14. Markymark says:

    To quote yourself [from SDWiad 2011/ D’Andy p*ssing]:

    “I don’t think that’s the recommended colour!”

    That was then, this is now. We are of course referring to the outfit and juice over your face.

    Dude, you sure they didnt swop your eyeballs around during that surgery – something went wrong in that operating theatre bro!

    P.S. after speaking to Lloyd today thankfully i hear all is well.

  15. Dandy says:

    Always happy to provide some ‘colour’ to the ride, but would prefer it was of the ‘loud check’ variety rather than ‘blood red’ 🙁
    To answer your initial question Matt, I think there’s 4 stages to La Dandina’s attitude to my ride attire:
    1. Are you sure that’s what they wear?
    2. I’ve looked at what other riders wear and you’re a prat
    3. I just don’t care as long as you ride away from the house very quickly and only return when it’s dark
    4. If the embarrassment level is too high she will simply hide the padlock keys for the bike rack, and she came very close to that on Wednesday night; but she’s so immune to it now this would only apply if I sported a plaid mankini …. now there’s a thought 😉

  16. Tony says:

    Seems like a good place to start the comments!

    Also is it meet or is there irony that this the first time that you have a faceplant and that you havent been wearing the full facer for ages.

    Glad to see that you are still releasing the inner child!

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