Muddymoles mountain biking in the Surrey Hills and Mole Valley

Rogate Downhill Session

Posted by AndyW | January 8, 2010 | 20 comments so far

The problem with DH racing in the South of England is where to practice. You can take your DH rig to the surrey hills but most people (including myself) will be wondering what you will be riding it on.

The problem is that there are not enough trails that justify that amount of travel. Ok, so it helps you get used to the bike and that’s no bad thing; but really there is nothing there that a good trail bike can’t handle.

With Saturdays skills course cancelled I decided a spot of DH was in order and a few phone calls chose Rogate as our destination of choice.

Friday night saw me swearing at the DH bike as yet another Raceface BB bearing seized after the rain at FOD; and no amount of TLC could get it working again. So the Nomad got the nod and 8am saw me heading for the trails..

For those of you who don’t know Rogate, its down the A3 near Petersfield and personifies the Southern DH scene with a extensive selection of short runs with a wide variety of different levels. Every time I go there I find another few trails have sprung up and its ongoing metamorphosis is one of its delights. The area is littered with trails that cross each other, dodgy jumps and landings, big road gaps, drops, steep technical runs, big doubles and thankfully a sandy base that dries fast.

The area is split in two by a fire road that thankfully is a short push to reach. The top section is steep and technical with the odd smoother runs thrown in. The lower section is where the trails open up and you find the jumps and drops.

The main line starts with a 6ft drop into a berm (recently built up, though I have no idea why as its horrible) followed by several twists and turns that spit you out into the big doubles at the end.

Meeting up with Simon and Matt, the temperature was a balmy -2 deg; but on a plus note the trails were deserted and we had the run of the place till about 11am. The recent mud was frozen solid which meant fast trails and no bike cleaning at the end.

Starting gradually we hit the runs on the lower sections before working our way up to session the more technical runs through the trees. I have to confess to whining like a girl most of the time, I really wasn’t feeling in the zone and the nomad wasn’t running like I wanted. There was nothing actually wrong with the bike, but the steep angles of the nomad left me feeling out of control.

Riding Matt’s new Blindside really showed up how much faster a full Dh bike was, and even the sunshine couldn’t lift my spirits.

We sessioned the trails till midday, with some great runs had by all. Simon and Matt had been there just a few days before and a little video of their day at Rogate can be found on Pinkbike.

For those who want to try DH, Rogates a pretty good place to practice and I will be heading there again soon to get some practice in for my next race. Anyone wanting to join me is welcome.

Filed under Rides in January 2010


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  1. tony says:

    The Moles Network (well Colin) tells me that Head for the Hills can replace Race Face BB bearings with Phil Woods type marine bearings. It might be worth a shot if you are going through std ones at a rate of knots.

  2. Andy C says:

    I have taken the plunge and (a) entered for the 28 Feb round of the Forest of Dean Mini DH, and (b) ordered a full face helmet from Chain Reaction as they are mandatory at these events. I am hoping to arrange a session in Rogate with Andy W prior to the event.

    I have taken the liberty of using the Muddy Moles name as my team. But team implies more than one. So … the challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to join me (and Andy W I think) in the Forest of Dean on Sunday, 28 Feb.

    Currently they have 263 of 300 places still available. Check out this site for general info ( ) and link to the registration which is at ( )

  3. Dave says:

    Andy, Thanks for the invite. Regrettably I can’t afford this at the moment. Must be a couple of grand involved in a downhill rig of any worth, then there’s the stormtrooper get up to consider. Add all of that to the space in the garage and I just can’t see myself being able to do it this side of never. Also I have a appointment to wash my hair that day….and polish the jey knob on my jeyboy insignia.

    NO WAY! ;o) Enjoy though!

  4. Andy C says:

    Embrace the way of the jey, Dave. There’s no shame in that … well, maybe just a bit. Did you mean washing your hair, or should that have been shaving your legs?

    Is it only me that will uphold the Moles’ honour? Or should that be drag it further into the mire? And how comes there’s never an Over-50s category when you need one?

  5. Colin says:

    Fear not Andy, I will accompany you to A&E, sorry I meant the race! However, I will just make sure there is a slim chance of me getting work before I enter.

    Andy’s excellent report last year on his exploits at the Mini DH series really did fire me up for this.

    I have a voucher for a full face helmet and the Pitch is more than capable of the job so all I need fund is the accomodation and physio after the event.

    Andy, I would very much appreciate some DH coaching so do let us know when you’ve got something planned.

  6. James says:

    Andy you are so hardcore, you have just got back on your bike after your last event ended with a broken hand and now you are doing a downhill event on the pace? In for a penny…….got luck mate.

  7. James says:

    good luck, mistyped!!!

  8. Andyw says:

    Got a few spare full face helmets and armour if anyone needs to borrow before buying.

  9. Andy661 says:

    Dear Moles!


    I believe I have air in my hydraulic brake system 🙁

    When I pump the brakes the levers move less, give it a rest and then they travel a lot further.

    Is this something that I can sort out without a trip to my LBS? And tomorrow, more importantly!

    Had been wondering whether it was the pads but it literally was my first XC run so would hope for a little more longevity than that!

    Any help gratefully received!


  10. tony says:

    Hi Andy

    Some brakes are easier to sort than other (require no special tools). Check out for any vids on YouTube. At the minimum you will need some spare brake fluid. What type breaks are they?

  11. Andy661 says:

    Front Brake:Tektro Auriga Hydraulic Disc Brake Twin Piston Calliper design, Rotors: 180mm FrontRear Brake:Tektro Auriga Hydraulic Disc Brake Twin Piston Calliper design, Rotors: 160mm RearBrake Levers:Tektro Auriga Hydraulic

    Will check youtube now!


  12. tony says:

    Hi Andy

    I have these on my Inbred. They are dead easy to bleed (but better with two people).

    1. Take off the lever and support it so it’s level (I do this in a vice.

    2. Take off the lever brake reservoir cover.

    3. Put a tube on the brake nipple on the calipur and put the other end in a plastic bag. Make sure none drips on the rotors!

    4. Open the nipple a half turn (7mm spanner I think) and fill the reservoir.

    5. Pump the brake, whilst keep the reservoir filled, to flush the system with new fluid.

    6. With the reservoir completely filled close the nipple and then put the reservoir cover plate back on.

    You will then have to clean up the fluid on the reservoir. The brake should pull bite and go fairly soild.

    These aren’t the most brillant of stoppers but they are fine.

  13. Andy661 says:

    Thanks for all the guidance!

    Gutted as I think it will be impossible to achieve before tomorrow morning 🙁 (don’t have all the required bits and pieces)

    Was really looking forward to getting out again too.

    On a happier note I think I have convinced SWMBO that a pair of P7’s would be a good idea so hopefully some night rides will come my way after payday! :-p

    Have fun tomorrow everyone.

    Andy Six-Six-Glum!

  14. DaveW says:

    For some reason I’m struggling to believe that Andy C and Beano are taking on a downhill race… I don’t doubt your skills gents, I just thought you had more braincells!

    However, after seeing the vid of Rogate and Andy Ws previous vid from an uplift day at Cwn Carn, I am totally inspired to do more of this kind of riding. Andy W – let me know if you are heading anywhere like this soon.

    When I have established whether Andy C and Colin are serious about the mini-downhill race, I may consider signing up too….

  15. Colin says:

    Umm, thanks for the vote of confidence Dave, I’ll consider my fire well and truly pi55ed on!

    XC racing was fun, but fit I am not, whereas I can ride fast on downhill and peddle like a b’stard for about 2 mins so the mini DH seems worth a punt.

    I’d never consider full on DH tracks as there’s too much air involved.

    We are serious so we look forward to you becoming team member #3 of the muddymoles micro DH team

  16. DaveW says:

    Colin, I didn’t intend to POYF – as I said before, I’m sure you both have the skills, I was just surprised that you would choose to do this kind of event. You are obviously both nuttier than I took you for!

    Having said that, I had a look at the video of a previous race at Forest of Dean and it doesn’t actually look that hardcore – mostly rollable.

    I’ll check the dates and if I get a pass and I can get a bit of practice in beforehand – e.g. at Rogate, or ideally at the FOD – then I’m in.

    Anyone fancy a trip up to the FOD? Maybe head up there one Friday night and then head back on Saturday evening?

  17. Andy W says:

    DH day at Rogate on 7th Feb. 9am onwards.

    Rogate DH is located here:

    Rogate Downhill on Google Maps

  18. Andy W says:

    Sorry, try this link:

    Rogate Downhill

    or coordinates:


  19. Andy W says:

    Now with added directions:

    Nearest Postcode : GU31 5BT

    Directions from London:

    Follow A3 south to the Petersfield, Sheet and junction (A272 to Midhurst)

    At first Roundabout turn left into Sheet

    Follow B2070 for approx 3 miles until you see a pub on the right hand side

    Turn Right before the pub and follow country road for approx 1 mile to T junction.

    At junction turn left and follow road down hill.

    Parking is on the left next in layby.

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