Muddymoles mountain biking in the Surrey Hills and Mole Valley

Ride report: Wednesday 2 June – Crunch

Posted by Matt | June 3, 2010 | 14 comments so far

Over night the weather has flipped from Bank Holiday mode to more summer like conditions. A relatively cold weekend was followed by a day of rain and then… Wednesday arrived with the temperature cranked over to ‘quite warm really’.

So, joining me at the garage were a selection of poets – sorry, riders – including JamesH, Barrie, BiketechMark, Adam, DaveC, D’AndyC, MarkW, JamesS, Keith, Trevor, DaveW as well Toby who wasn’t riding but had come to say hi after a long, dark-side inspired absence. In all, 12 of us started out for our regular jaunt.

I fancied a different direction to normal so we started quite easily, up Crabtree Lane and round the edge of the big field before turning up for the sawmill at Roaring House Farm. Once again I was on my singlespeed, prompted by the rain the day before and after three recent rides on it I’m starting to get my spinning legs back.

At the sawmill we turned toward the Dorking end of Crabtree Lane, an easy roll along tarmac, before picking up the cheeky footpath toward the Chapel Farm area. All was well as we zipped through the singletrack with the gradient on our side for a change but it didn’t stay well. Not for Keith at least who caught a handlebar on a trailing branch or something toward the end and crunched down heavily.

It soon became apparant that it was something more than just a tumble as he didn’t move and his breathing was making a terrible noise. The fall had knocked the wind out of him but BiketechMark was very prompt in giving him some first aid while he recovered, as the rest of us gathered round. After a few minutes Keith was back up on his feet but couldn’t remember what had happened and was clearly unsteady.

As soon as we’d reached the road he turned for home with DaveC in attendance to make sure of a safe arrival. I think there may have been a brief loss of consciousness and the latest from a sore Keith is that having taken himself to hospital this morning there’s a couple of broken ribs into the bargain. Get well soon Keith and thanks DaveC and BiketechMark for the assistance.

The rest of us moved on, round the back of Polesdon and onto the climb up to Tanner’s before taking the ‘middle way’ up to Ranmore via more cheeky footpaths. JohnR dubs this the impossible climb (which it’s not, especially for him) but it nearly proved impossible for me as my first big effort to stamp on the pedals uphill coincided with a kick from the back end over roots.

What should have been a nice smooth power delivery ended up with me spinning my rear wheel in mid air, with my weight heading forwards and down rather rapidly over the bars. Fortunately I didn’t go over but it was a close thing as the bike came to a rapid halt on the incline. For a moment I couldn’t even work out what had happened, it was like riding into a wall.

This trail may not be impossible (and I’m determined to work it in as a downhill return one night) but it certainly calls on a fair effort to climb and we were all panting at the top. From there it’s a simple spin to Ranmore, where we started off toward Denbies.

MarkW surprised us veterans as we span down the concrete road to the top of the descent by suddenly darting left toward the trees, showing us a nice ribbon of singletrack which brought us out on the parallel trail. We then carried on down the fast chalky descent, rattling down at high speed before turning sharp left for the flinty descent to the A24.

From here we headed for the dreaded Box Hill climb. I timed myself on the singlespeed and managed 7:40 which was not bad, but I was a way short from really pushing. I reckon a 17 tooth cog would have me shaving a bit off that. Adam on the other hand, despite suffering from nausea since the start of the ride managed to summit in 6:15 on his Turner, by far the quickest we’ve seen up there. I reckon a sub-6 minute climb is on the cards for him on his race bike.

The effort took it’s toll though, with Adam struggling for the rest of the ride with the unpleasant feeling he was going to be ill. I’d originally thought a Brockham descent and climb back up would be on the cards but with time getting on (and darkness arriving abruptly) we scotched that and headed for China Pig after parting with MarkW and JamesS.

China Pig. What can I say except that this unique trail is one of the more consistently challenging trails in the area. The rain of the day before hadn’t done it any favours with greasy chalk at the top causing more than a few moments of worry as the front refused to slow or turn as crisply as I’d have liked. Behind me, others were finding the same.

Ahead of me, DaveW, Barrie, D’AndyC and Adam disappeared, leaving me to chase JamesH, occassionally catching him and then losing him again until I passed him as he stalled on one of the sharp inclines. Overall though it’s down, a snaking ribbon of moss covered, rooty, twisty singletrack that provides quite a workout.

Arriving at the road we climbed back up onto the Mickleham Gallops, with Adam clearly suffering most uncharacteristically. Our path took us onto Stane Street and eventually out at the top of Alsation with me gaining the advantage of leading everyone else down.

It’s now getting rather overgrown which has a kind of telescoping effect on your vision as you’re limited to quite a narrow tunnel. I let the brakes off and went for it at a fairly high speed, topping 30mph which considering I couldn’t pedal due to the lack of gears on my bike is pretty good. Hugely enjoyable!

All that remained was a sedate run back to Bookham after dropping off Trevor at Leatherhead. A sighting of Venus (the Evening Star) over the Fetcham Downs illustrated how still and clear the air was as we reached home with the last remains of the day left to us.

I was quite surprised to see I’d notched 19 miles (including to and from my house) which was way more than I felt I’d done. If you can, make the most of these summer evenings, the trails are riding great and the lack of horse riders and walkers is a huge bonus!

Filed under Rides in June 2010


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 14 comments on ‘Ride report: Wednesday 2 June – Crunch’

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  1. MarkW says:

    Sorry to hear Keith your injuries aren’t to good and wish you a speedy recovery. Just goes to show you this sport can be a bit dangerous at times, although I guess that adds to the adrenalin rush, which is why we enjoy MTB so much.

    Anyway, enjoyed my night ride without any decent lights! although I was inspired enough to buy a “nuke proof” lights today. I did notice a number of you had some helmet mounted lights any advice what these are and how much?

  2. John R says:

    Keith – hope you are feeling better soon. At least if you can’t remember what happened you won’t be frightened you’re doing it again.

    6:15 up Box Hill for Adam – I don’t know whether to say it’s some consolation to the rest of us that he didn’t feel well afterwards, or just well done! From now on I am paying no attention to Box Hill times posted by anybody under the age of 50. Pass the port & silton.

  3. D'AndyC says:

    Rumour has it Keith has already forked out for a new helmet, so expect to see him back out there in a week or two. Get well soon, Keith.

    I hope Adam’s recovered now, too. I hate to see a chap suffer, but it was certainly a novel experience to have him sticking behind me to take advantage of my lights at the end of the ride. I’m sure that by next Wed normal service will be resumed 🙁

    You have nothing to fear, John. With Keith’s ‘early bath’ the remaining Port ‘n Stilton team member barely managed to come in under 9 minutes. At least I kept a few of the young ‘uns in sight.

    A fine route yet again, Matt. It was fun following you down Alsation, though I did have one or two ‘moments’ despite having you lead the way. I do suggest Secret Singletrack in the next week or two, before it gets too overgrown.

  4. Ex Whiteboi says:

    quote D’AndyC “…….barely managed to come in under 9 minutes….”

    In fact, i’m not going to say anything further !!

  5. Paul901 says:

    This sounds like a tough ride and I’m sure I’m better off missing it. I had a sunny and misty 8am road ride instead blasting about 16 miles in one hour over a hilly route. I hope Keith recovers fast, I had 3 cracked ribs in my 20s (well over 20 years ago) and recall how important massage was. Our bodies naturally pack the rib area with fluid for protection but it causes stiffening, some of the pain and slows the healing. I learned this at a physio with the 1st crack, I self-massaged the 2nd and 3rd cracks which happened on separate occasions. Some say 6 weeks recovery should be allowed, we’re usually mad enough to get back to our chosen sports earlier. I reckon all in all it was a full 2 years before all traces of pain were gone.

  6. D'AndyC says:

    Col…err Ex-Whiteboi I mean; it’s the benefit of experience and a degree of control sadly lacking in you younger chaps that allows me to keep going for 9 minutes.

  7. kc says:

    Thanks for all the comments and well wishes guys. A public thanks to Dave and Biketech for looking after me.

    I can confirm I have a new helmet on the way in silver to match the 5.

    I shall be back as soon as I can laugh without pain!


  8. Bazza says:

    Cheers everyone for a great ride out last night, good route matt, plenty of everything and a glorious summer evening

    Keith glad you are on the mend. Especially liked china pig. Last night was the first time I could feel my legs coming back after weeks of feeling weak, although some way off Adam, even sick!

  9. DaveW says:

    With all this talk of barely managing to come in under 9 minutes and the self massaging of cracks, I thought I was on the wrong site…

  10. cathie says:

    Dave told me about Keith and I am glad he went to the hospital and I too wish him well x

    China Pig, Dave took me down it one wet September last year it was certainly an experience I remember quite well 😉

    I am also pleased you timed yourselves up Box hill as I have been timing myself up Alsation which is .66 of a mile and Boxhill is pretty much 1 mile. I am slower than you guys but will be keen to time myself to see how much slower and what I can improve to.

    Funnily enough you did 19 miles and felt you hadn’t done that much very much like myself this evening. Sunshine and good cycling is a great therapy.

  11. PIJ says:

    The Box Hill challenge. Oy you lot! Today I thought I’d see if I could match your timings up Box Hill. Nah, no chance. 9:53 I did it in. 7:40 would be flying, but 6:15!! My riding partner only managed 9:40 and he’s almost a decade younger than me, so still in nappies.

    Just to see if we’re doing the same [please, please say no!]…. Starting from a standstill at the bottom of the trail on the road that leads to Ryker’s, then stop the clock at the road exit at the top near the NT cafe?

    6:15 seems superhuman. No fat on that man.

    At least today on Stane Street I got near to your 33mph – man at those speeds you kind of just pick a spot 30m away and aim for it, ever so slightly out of control. Huge fun but you need the right bike and tyres for it. Could never do that on my Clockwork. Actually scratch that; I’m not brave enough to do it on that old thing.

    Hope you lot had a good ride without any of the near death incidents that seem to follow you around.


  12. Matt says:

    Hi PIJ, the Box Hill climb is a miserable one but a good yardstick of fitness I guess. Nothing technical, just keep on spinning!

    The correct route is actually into the tea room car park (no need for a standstill start) via the direct route (not to the road) as shown here by our friends on the DoMTB site. In fact, it was their idea originally and we’ve run with it a bit here.

    My best is currently 7:10 so I reckon a sub 7 minute climb is do-able for me. That’s on my limit though and I’d need the wind behind me. It might not happen. Most of us would manage between 7:40 and 8:40 I’d say.

    As for Adam, he’s scary fast, as is his mate Darren and Darren’s other half Amanda.

  13. PIJ says:

    Nope, disagree – always had a soft spot for the Box Hill climb, even though it can be horrid. At least it can always be completed, no matter what the weather. For a horrid climb try the track up to Chaldon [Tollsworth Manor] from Merstham. Eeek, could go on and on about horrid climbs around here!!

    DMB – yet another site to monitor when bored at work. Excellent little disparate community of bikers we have around here isn’t it? Can’t be many places in the UK where one has such good riding on one’s doorstep?

    I think as it is a personal challenge, then the Redhill “Billy No Mates” community may well stick road to road, seeing as how that is how we started. It is an excellent measure though – hats off to the person that started this one off. Just have to learn to look nonchalent and bored at the top like all the roadies that do it.

    Guess to get below 7:10 then you’ll have to lose mass at some point? Carbon wheels, Ti frame, single speed, just wear a pair of speedos…..


  14. DaveW says:

    PIJ said:

    “Guess to get below 7:10 then you’ll have to lose mass at some point? Carbon wheels, Ti frame, single speed, just wear a pair of speedos…..”

    You would think so wouldn’t you? But Adam got that 6:15 time on his Turner 5 Spot!

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