Muddymoles mountain biking in the Surrey Hills and Mole Valley

Ride report: Wednesday 3 February – muddy again

Posted by Tony | February 4, 2010 | 3 comments so far

Muddy, muddy, muddy!

Last night it was an apt night to be a Muddymole.

With Matt not riding last night I was uncertain as to how many people were going to turn up and the weather didn’t look great either. However a good number of hardy soles turned up AndyC (the new Whiteboi with super sparkly white shoes), DaveW, Barry, Paul (fashionably late), James, MattP7 and myself.

Normally I’m not the earliest of arrivees on a Wednesday evening, but yesterday I got everything ready well in advance (“working from home”). However riding up to the garage I knew that something was wrong with the bike. Definitely a strange noise from the front wheel. By the time I got to the garage I figured it, no pads left on the front brakes (I then vaguely remembered something about needing to fix the bike when I last put it away).

I was pleased to only find Barrie at the garage knowing I had some time to change pads for the spares that I fortunately had in my Camelbak. I then demonstrated an amazing lack of mechanical dexterity but eventually got the pads in. Even Paul had arrived by that point!

We set off up towards Wiggly Wood with a group discussion of a route to miss the worst of the mud. However as soon as we got onto the Bridleway it became apparent that it was going to be seriously claggy. The days early rain had soaked into the surface and partially dried forming a grip free paste on the trails. Blocked tyres and sideways mud surfing was the order of the evening. My front brake bedding in stops had to be done with great care.

We headed instead down past Roaring House Farm (what a great name BTW) to miss the quagmire of the Admirals trackway. With MattP7 leading the way we slipped and slide along Infestation, past Bocketts Farm and across to the back of the water works. Going down this hill was a good indication of the nights ride. You went down and crabbed round the corners in two wheel slides. Not an evening for sharp braking or quick steering adjustments.

It was then the flog up Alastian with the single gear bike boys (Barrie and DaveW) shaming us all with their pace. We regrouped and rode up to the Nower car park, with James almost losing his bike to the deep mud and AndyC taking a great last minute line to avoid ramming him. We pressed onto Headley with my Orange Clockwork lapsing into it’s worst chainsuck habits. New chain and chainring for me today I think.

It wasn’t a time to hang around too long at the Headley viewpoint with a strong wind and light but driving rain blowing in. So we quickly moved across the common and slowly up the muddy valleys to the Outdoors Training centre, then up to the Box Hill road. It was back into the misty woods, for some eerie cycling over to the Box Hill cafe.

After numerous slogs up Box Hill it was time for a ride down the face of the climb. Normally this is either a superfast blast down the face (avoiding the bunny holes) or the flinty trackway. For some of us it was their first descent of this particular hill. We headed off together and swung left up to the face route, however here was the worst mud of the night.

Thousands of feet had turned the chalk into a thick paste that required good pedal strokes to keep you going – downhill. We decided to angle off to the trackway with Barrie in the lead. He got to some steep steps and informed us that it was definitely ride-able, then promptly went over the bars. The rest of us walked down. Back on the trackway it was a test of the various mud blocking appendages that Moles employ as the chalk paste flew off in all directions.

We regrouped at the bottom of Box Hill and headed over to Norbury Park. At this point James impressed us all by pulling a long and super smooth wheelie. Astounding Adventures, I’m impressed. However I’ve missed out and the new talk of “just push the shopping trolley to pull a manual” left me slightly bemused. But it seems to be working for the trainees.

Barrie and I split at the bottom of Norbury Park to head back to Leatherhead. It was the end of a slippy but very enjoyable evening.

Filed under Rides in February 2010


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There are 3 comments on ‘Ride report: Wednesday 3 February – muddy again’

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  1. Lee says:

    What with the his new washer toy, those shoes will always be super sparkly white, eh Andy!

    Perhaps we should be seeking some sponsorship from Daz for our new shirts.

  2. James-Wheelie King! says:

    Another fine ride, a slightly different route which I enjoyed apart from Alastion or was that Alsation?(I just follow) slog, having a kebab for luch followed by dinner at 6pm kinda did me in! Still didn’t use the granny ring. I did later though! Didn’t brake anything and I didn’t fall off!!!

    Had a creeky seat post which has been well lubed now.

  3. Andy C says:

    As usual I lurked around at the back of the group, this time in shame as I tried to hide the luminous white shoes.

    Is Tony going to admit in print the secret to fitting his brake pads and saving 15 minutes of faffing? The answer is to put them in the right way round 😉

    It would be interesting to hear how many miles we covered in the 2 hours or so, as we didn’t stop much on account of the chilling damp.

    Following MattP7’s tail down the face of Box Hill was great fun, I heard various curses from behind as the other ‘face virgins’ suffered from not benefitting from Matt’s local knowledge on how to tackle the clag.

    The final pull up to Norbury Park saw me shamed into not using the granny ring that I had resorted to for most of the evening. I left Paul & the Wheelie King (the slackers) to gossip at the rear as I set off in pursuit of MattP7 who was doing his best to keep SS Dave W in sight. As soon as Matt caught my lights catching up with him he found another gear which was too much for me (I blame the broken hand for cruelly denying me that solid endurance base earlier this winter, and not the attractions of the sofa that I found myself loitering on for most of the time).

    The good news is that after last night’s mudfest the ‘Whiteboi’ shoes are now a dull shade of beige. The sunglasses can be put away again until April/May, when it might be the sun itself that will necessitate their use, rather than my glowing footwear!

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