It’s been quite a while since I’d made it to a Moles Sunday ride, or even a longer MTB ride, so it was great to get out this morning. Braving the poor, put improving weather we made a group of four, James, DaveW, JohnR and I. DaveW was rocking a new Titus Ti beauty, JR was on his carbon Trek speed machine and James on his trusty Trek (worryingly held together with tape??). After a few mechanical issues had cropped up on my old Five (poor rear braking) and Fuel Ex8 (even worse front complete lack of braking). So I hauled myself up to Bocketts on my Spesh Camber 29er for a rare winter outing. JR promised us better weather with even sunshine late in the morning. Although it didn’t look to promising as we headed up the Admirals trackway.
The ride almost came to a premature end on Admirals trackway as JR slowed to warn us of a runner ahead, he caught the edge of a rut and went down. I was damn glad to bring along a bike with fully functioning brakes as I endo’d to stop myself running over JR. Ddub had to brake damn hard too. All was soon well and with JR endeavouring to miss the lake at the end of Admirals, was turned off at Wiggly wood and rode up and over to Crabtree lane.
Not having been out for a while it was already a bit of a stuggle to keep JR in sight as he stomped off with Ddub in pursuit. The bridleway was in surprisingly good condition with only patches of mud making for reasonable good conditions. Live and Let Die was following well, slippy, strewn with leaves, polished roots and small jumps, however not muddy so that you could lean into the corners. It was a blast.
JR had us on tight timescale to meet Lloyd over at Holmbury so it was straight up to Ranmore, turning off at the bottom of Golden Nugget, up the Prospectors trail, which was just about rideable at the steep early section, then the sharp right turn to the top of Ranmore. As we halted it was far warmer than either JR or I had thought. We were both seriously overdressed and disrobing was required although not to D’Andy (down to mankini?) levels.
We were now realising that the 9:30 meet up schedule with Lloyd at Holmbury was “somewhat optimistic” so a text was sent warning of our late arrival and we decided that McPhersons was the quickest way off Ranmore. It certainly was. Running fine and clear it was tempting to try for some air at the road crossing and even with some restraint it required some serious slowing to make the bottom corner.
We grouped together to ride to Westcott (that looked like a building site) and onwards to Abinger Roughs, then over the A25, past the farm and up the hill to the Volunteer. The trail here was particularly nicely hard packed and running so well it hardly showing any evidence of winter weather.
Finally arriving at the Walking Bottom car part, Lloyds car was there but of him there was no sign. JR’s earlier text message appeared not to have got through so we headed straight up the fireroad to Yoghurt pots to try and find him. I’d called Lloyd at the carpark to leave a message and five minutes later (on the damn hill) Lloyd had got the message and called me so we arranged to regroup at Yoghurt pots.
YP was once again another trail that was running well, as I headed down first, the Camber was riding sweetly although the rear tyre was going noticeably soft on the corner berms. It didn’t stop my enjoyment was I got some nice air (well for me) on the new rollercoasters.
At the end of YP I had to borrow JR’s pump to put some extra air in the tyre. Although his “big barsteward” pump seemed half full of water! Lloyd was riding his uber bling Santa Cruz Blur (it absolutely requires carbon bars Lloyd!), with carbon almost everywhere, CaneDb shock, XX1 etc… His only complaint, the rear tyre “farting” on the mudguard. New mudguard required there I think. Ddub had a similar complaint of his bike although I think that was more due to his high fibre vegetarian diet and gaseous digestive system.
There was a short discussion (well JR was keen) of a roundabout route to Peaslake however cake and cheese straws were on our mind so the vote was the direct route to BKB and cake. Again BKB was running very well. Fast and grippy with hardly any mud. I was having a ball chasing Ddub as he seemed to be getting on fine with the Titus.
Although as we got to the bottom I reached down to my saddle to pull up my slightly stuck dropper post and tweeked my back. Damn getting old is a pain (literally) at times.
Peaslake stores was surprisingly quiet. The fine selection of cakes was good as usual but with an unbelievable combination of quantity and quality Ddub and I went for a huge slice of cherry bakewell. It was very pleasant to sit in the bus stop, eat cake, drink our tea and watch the world go past.
Soon it was back up Radnor lane and on up the fireroads to Holmbury hill. The sun was breaking out beautifully on the South Downs (as promised earlier by JR) and the main discussion what our route of Yoghurt Pots, Secret Squirrel and Telegraph would be called on a strava section. Yog-quirrel-graph? Pot-secret-tele?
Yet another set of trails was running well with hardly any mud and only getting held up on Telegraph by a couple of other riders prevented a new Strava PB (honestly). At the end we parted company with Lloyd, who was heading off for some extra miles.
Time was getting on so we retraced our route past the Volunteer and over to Abinger roughs. The lack of miles and bad back was beginning to tell for me but I think James was also suffering too as we pressed on. The direct route back, up White Down beckoned. As JR passed me on the hill I just about had the breath of agree that the view here must be one of the best in Surrey.
After a short catch of breath we pressed onto Ranmore and down to Yew Trees for a last climb. We split at Polesden to our various destination. After at a pretty poor weather start the day got better and better. The trails were much better than I expected and the company very good. Definitely a great day to be out.