Muddymoles: Mountain biking (MTB) in the Surrey Hills and Mole ValleyMuddymoles: Mountain biking (MTB) in the Surrey Hills and Mole Valley

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Ride report: Wednesday 17 November – New Faces… Old Friends

Posted by Muddy John | November 17, 2011 | 6 comments so far

Mindful of the eponymous JRPM factor, I arrived in plenty of time for the Wednesday night ride. As expected there were some newer riders; Jon H, who has quickly got the knack of posting on the forum to check there is going to be a Wednesday night ride, and Ross along for his second ride with the Moles.

As usual for a Wednesday, Kevin was out and there was a welcome return from Dave W – a stalwart of dark winter nights last year. It was also good to see a rare but welcome appearance from Lee, a regular Wednesday and Sunday Mole long before I started who has become increasingly committed to family duties. And at first un-noticed, lurking at the back of the pack, was an athletic looking Paul 901 – my surprise at seeing Paul out for a night ride was tempered by the realising he was on one of his road bikes, but it was nice to see him stop by. The eventual arrival of Tony signalled it was time to head off – and on this occasion, inspired by Kevin last week and some comments from Tony, I had a plan and led the pack up Crabtree Lane and towards Wiggly Woods.

Instead of the usual Tanners route, this time we dropped down to Bagden Farm and started up Dearly Beloved. Sadly this route choice was not greeted with universal approval and I noticed that Dave W and Lee were both on single speeds. The initial steep chalky section was a challenge, especially for those without the luxury of changing down a few gears. Halfway up the easier woods section it started to get misty and we were surprised by downhill pack of night riders – on balance, probably the fun direction to be doing the run.

At the church it had got foggy and we headed down the road peering through the murk for the start of McPhearson’s Mount. Everybody seemed to enjoy the fast descent over a golden carpet of leaves and I hoped it made up for the previous climb. Across the railway and a cheeky cut through the woods brought us to the edge of Westcott when Ross dropped off the end of the pack with a flat. Luckily it was a tubeless and the magic latex quickly did its job, because with a quick pump up it was soon firm and ready to roll.

From Westcott we climbed up by the church, eerie in the gloomy fog, and along to Logmore Farm. Inevitably there was another climb, short and a brutal for the singlespeeders, but it had to be done. The reward was a blast down Wolvens Lane and the Rookery before returning to Westcott and debating where to head next. We soon settled on the Goat Track, parallel to High Mediterranean, then on Tony’s suggestion headed for some more downhill action on TTW3.

The mist had made the ground slippery, and I was on the final segment when I unexpectedly hit a loose branch on the trackway and smacked straight into a nearby tree. I now know that when you hit a tree trunk it doesn’t have any “give” at all, and the immediate sharp pain in my shoulder and chest immediately brought to mind other Moles’ exploits. But after the immediate pain subsided I found I was just winded, and gingerly headed down to join the group, thankful no bones were broken.

Heading up the start of Crabtree Lane we debated the name of the run through Druids Grove – with suggestions of “Jem’s Favourite” or “Ladies Favourite”. Whichever the name is, it was fast and fun, but the final climb felt a lot longer than Lee had promised. In deference to the single speeders we skipped the remorseless climb past the radio mast and headed up middle track towards Norbury for a descent of Infestation. After that riders progressively peeled off for home before the final climb up Roaring House Farm and down to the garage.

My Garmin showed 17 miles in two and a half hours, with 2000ft of climbing. I am not out next Wednesday, so perhaps the route will be more single speed friendly.

Filed under Rides in November 2011

Muddy John

About the author

John has been biking in the Surrey Hills since the late 1990s but only started riding with the MuddyMoles in 2008. In the couple of years since then he has learned more about mountain biking from the Moles than he learned in the previous ten.

Having remained loyal to his vintage pale blue and orange Stumpjumper hardtail since the last century, he has recently explored the limits of his storage space and his wife’s patience by adding an On-One Inbred Singlespeed and an Orange Five.

John is usually wearing or riding something blue and does not eat any raw fruit beginning with the letter T.

There are 6 comments on ‘Ride report: Wednesday 17 November – New Faces… Old Friends’

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  1. Matt says:

    Yes, I have can confirm there’s no give in trees! Glad you got away with it John, it can all happen so quickly.

    I’ve certainly missed a few good rides recently, haven’t ridden at all for about 10 days now which is sad; a mild head-cold now seems dispatched so I’m looking forward to the weekend.

    Great to hear some of the core Moles are turning up and welcome to newcomers.

  2. Karl says:

    Glad you got away with it John!
    Stay lucky…

  3. DaveW says:

    I’m not sure if this sentance was about the night ride, or if JR’s mind was wandering onto other nocturnal activities:

    “the magic latex quickly did its job, because with a quick pump up it was soon firm”

    Thought I’d mention it before Lee got the chance!

  4. tony says:

    It was a good ride and enjoyable with a slightly different route than normal. Only you would suggest riding up Dearly Beloved! Although now my Orange 5 is besmirched with bar ends (the shame) I found that I got up it no problem.

    I’m only surprised that we didn’t ride up McPhersons mount! Coming down McPhersons first was interesting since it was quite difficult to work out which way the trail went at the crossroads – especially at the speed I was going.

    Also it was good to hear that your shoulder was OK – we were starting to wonder if we should head back up to look for you. One trail named “Collarbone” is enough.

  5. KevS says:

    That was a nice route choice JR with plenty of climbing thrown in to keep us warm!

    Riding through the fog up on the hill tops was interesting and certainly caused everything to be wet and slippery with more than a few sketchy moments enjoyed!
    Coming back up to Ranmore on Goat track was very atmospheric in the fog with the Tawny owls giving it some welly.

    Glad to hear no serious damage done to your skeletal frame after the tree hugging session. That’s the problem when you are riding in the “sweeper” role, no one behind you watching YOUR back!

  6. Lee says:

    Good ride, chaps. Enjoyed that one. A nice intro back into night riding and a chance to get the single speed legs going again. Hopefully those very ad hoc solo rides will now start turning back into a more sociable experience for me. Roll on 2012.

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