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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Rides – 4th September – the last morning of summer?

Posted by Tony | September 6, 2011 | 11 comments so far

“Change is as good as a rest”. The Mole Forum agreed and the sunday ride de-camped to Bracknell to ride the trail-fest that is the Swinley Forest.

Pulling up to the Lookout car park a mottley group of moles were waiting for an early off. Steve (our guide for the day), Tommo (wrong bike again!), DaveC, The D’Andies, D-dub (on his big bike  “My stantions are bigger than yours!), Keith, Kevin. With me on my Trek, for once the Trek’s (Steve, Kevin, me) out-numbered the Oranges.

As always there was some fettling before we set off. Saddle heights, tyre pressures etc…. but it’s not often some-one  has to turn around the newly added cleats on their shoes because they are the wrong way round. No names.

So once DaveC had sorted his shoes out (doh!). We were straight into the singletrack in a Trek convoy. Here follows one of the worst descriptions of a ride ever, as my mental note taking of our route was non-existant, since Steve immediately took the lead and for the rest of morning with his fabulous leadership, trail followed into trail. I simply didn’t have to think about where we were riding.

I have been round Swinley many times (some with better outcomes than others) but not for many months. It was immediately evident as we rode off, that the trailpixes have been busy. Stickler (I think was one of the first trails we rode) was much longer and many trails seemed in better condition. Plus what I think of as Swinleys signature trail feature, the sunken tight berm, were certainly more frequent. They look easy but they aren’t.

We headed over to the Corkscrew where numerous wheels had made it more technical than before due to wear. Still enjoyable nevertheless. We mooched around the play area for a while and there was much sizing up of a gap jump, but no takers as the take-off looked particularly tricky.

We blasted along other trails. Seagull and Tank traps included. Eventually we ended up at the jump gully where our efforts were shown up by young teens on jump bikes. One guy was doing masive jumps into the gully on a FS bike. Very impressive. D-dub and D’Andy did us proud though.

The only real downside of not having been at Swinley for a while was seeing the vastly greater amount of litter visible at places like the jump gully. Some of it was probably due to foxes breaking into litter bags, but much of it was simply a lack of respect for the forest. Very disappointing.

D’andy junior headed back to the Lookout for a rest and we headed on. More trails, including Labyrinth were ridden. Including the particularly sweet trail on the far left (I can’t remember its name!)  of laybrinth.

We finally headed to another jump location and tried out many of the jumps, before heading back to the Lookout. As we were only a few hundred yards from the Lookout the rain started and by the time we were back at the cars the rain was hammering down. So much so that D’Andy was put off from heading to the Lookout for a coffee! 

Today’s hardman award definitely went to Keith. Even though it was almost biblical levels of precipitaion, he (as promised earlier) rode home.

The trails at Swinley had been great. Fast, dry – but not dusty, grippy and smooth. With the rain on Sunday afternoon and the rain since Sunday, it looks like we had the last of the summer on Sunday and some great memories for the autumn/winter.

Filed under Rides in September 2011

Tony

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  1. stevend says:

    What a farewell to summer (if we can call it that) this weekend was for myself; 30 miles on the IoW and 20 miles at Swinley with perfect trail conditions. Stunning views on the former and excellent mole company on the latter. Sadly Tony you may be right and winter starts early. 🙁

    The route we took is now becoming my Swinley standard, or at least 75% of it is, because of the flow of the trails riding Swinley this way – I am glad you enjoyed it. The runs at the top of the Labyrinth are (L-R) Deerstalker 2, DS1 and Babymaker – there are two others but I forget their names as I rarely ride them.

    Think positive thoughts and let us hope for an Indian summer.

    • tony says:

      Hi Steve

      Yep deerstalker 2 was the fab swoopy trail into the Labyrinth. A great trail and especially thanks for blocking my nemesis, the straight on route at the end of Labyrinth,

      I think a mole trip to the IoW must be on the to-do list. It looks great from your photos.

      • stevend says:

        Re: Iow, I would be happy to help plan. Something like; drive down the ‘new’ A3 to Portsmouth, bikes and moles on the catamaran to Ryde pier, circular route back to Ryde via railway tracks, steep climbs, stunning views, counting red squirrels (do red squirrels and moles get on ?) and building sandcastles on the beach – you can also get a fab all-day breakfast on Shanklin pier. 😉

  2. Dave says:

    FLOW is right! The whole ride had a great FLOW about it and I was loving the berms, really concentrating on getting the footwork right makes such a difference to speed, all the more noticeable when I fooked it up!

    Defo need to get over there a bit more, if we can just sort an uplift up for DS2, that would be great!

  3. KevS says:

    That was only my second visit to Swinley and was even better than the first one. I have no clue as to the names of the trails we rode so hats off to Tony for knowing some of them.

    Steven did us proud leading along trail after trail and kept the pace up nicely so we could feel the “Swinley Effect” creeping into the legs by the end of the ride.

    10 out of 10 points to Tommo for style as he laid his bike down and performed a graceful dismount/step off on one of the berms. Naturally a few of us gave him the benefit of our advice as we swooped past him grinning! 🙂 Nice one Tommo and no damage done.

    The tropical storm at the end was something else and nearly drowned us. Never seen so many Moles move so fast and run for cover. Biblical levels of rain indeed and so was the mood level of ‘er indoors when I got home 2in her car” still soaked through, big wet patch on the drivers seat and bike dripping in the back! Ho Hum ……

  4. tony says:

    It has been pointed out to me (thanks folk – but I did tell you that it would be a poor quality report) that I missed out a couple of important Swinley locations in my ride report.

    Of course no Swinley ride would be complete without a trip of hommage to “D’Andy’s ditch of doom”. Location of D’Andy’s dying turtle impression…. and to think that such a small ditch would be such an obstacle!

    Plus no trip to Swinley with D’Andy is complete without numerous visits to Jenny’s “procreation” Bench. We only passed it once with Steve last week, but we all know it’s location now, thanks to D’Andy.

  5. Dandy says:

    D’s D of D nearly claimed another victim, but as Tommo had earlier been practising his ‘bike to run’ transitions, he avoided the Dead Dog in a Ditch impression.

    I must point out that it’s Pip’s ‘effin’ bench, not Jenny’s. That could get me into trouble if La Dandina ever reads this !

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