Ride Report: Surrey Hills – Feb 09

14 03 2009

I reckon it's the udjamaflip thingameybob, yes I agree !

I reckon it's the udjamaflip thingameybob, yes I agree !

The Surrey Hills always offer the prospect of great riding and the chance to ride the terrific singletrack and forest trails that surround Peaslake so much, and the club rides up there seem so popular that it now almost seems like Sussex Muddy@rses’ second home.  After the snow and rain earlier in the month, a few weeks of bright and unseasonably warm days meant that the prospect of dry trails on “Yoghurt Pots”, “Telegraph Row” and “Barry Knows Best”, as well as the fab cheese straws from Peaslake Village stores, was in the offing.



A good bunch of riders turned up for the start of the ride, several nursing the after effects of probably one shandy too many from the night before (mentioning no names, eh Lisa?) and the admiring of Chadders home-built singlespeed (the fool) and then it was off for the quick climb up to Holmbury Hill.

A few quick runs over a drop-off and then we all headed off for the first singletrack section through Yoghurt Pots…er followed by a slight communication breakdown, a wrong turn “right…er….no, left? Er….ok…er this is a bit muddy” before we re-grouped, retraced our steps and then all took the right turn onto the sweeping series of sandy switchbacks that make up the start of “Yoghurt Pots” and on to another series of small technical drop offs where a quick stop for playtime ensued.


A few more singletrack sections later, a quick stop and regroup and then we had the surprise arrival of Muddy@rser Michael, sweating and puffing hard, having arrived at the start point late and pretty much sprinting though the first few miles of the ride to catch us up. Michael’s newly renovated, rejuvenated and rebuilt pretty-much-the-night-before Orange full susser, resplendent in its shiny new coat of “positive energy” blue paint was admired as we let him catch his breath back.


The next stage was the classic singletrack run along “Telegraph Row”. To be honest, this is one of my favourite trails in the Surrey hills: a fast, deceptively simple run that zigzags between a series of pylons for about a mile of straight forest open firebreak. If you are patient and allow riders to space out a bit or, if you are lucky enough to get either a clear run or run in a fast pack of riders, it totally rocks as a piece of fast singletrack. There is one particular hidden bomb-hole halfway along that rewards a good line choice and commitment with a fast in-out that never fails to put a smile on my face.  On this day it was no exception with all of us grinning at the end of the main run, but a smaller, faster group of riders following us really showed how much speed you can carry through the whole section.


Finishing off with ”Mutiny”, it’s tight switchback’d stepped corner and huge drop in finish (with the obligatory muddy puddle to finish) we wound our way towards the legendary “Barry Knows Best”, now freshly fettled by a team of local volunteers including our very own Muddy@rsers Rich and Donna. Again, this is trail that deserves to be ridden fast and rewards commitment but, as most of us know to our cost, it has a sting in the tail if you loose concentration. Each smooth berm and jump that looks so tempting to get the bike airborne inevitably leads to a sudden corner, tree or drop-off that can catch the unwary. There’s also a grand finale of a short, sharp, steep, rutted technical downhill…


This days victims were: Lisa, who ended up mangled under her bike after a slight line choice/tree/rutt mishap (just look at Richs’ video of the aftermath…) but fortunately in this instance no harm done to either rider or bike.  Michael was less fortunate with his rear wheel, which chose the end of BKB to part company with his bike, buckling his rear disk and mech in the process.


It was obviously time for a break and with Peaslake Village stores being conveniently close we stopped for the now mandatory mug of tea and deli food of choice: the cheese straw J Much help was on hand to try and repair Michael’s bent rear disk, mech hanger, rear mech and despite Chadders resorting to using his foot to try and bend the disk rotor back into shape (!) it was to no avail and Michael headed back to the car park on a now three-speed bike with only a front brake, his ride over.


More late riders had arrived by now in the shape of Darth and Alex, aka “the wee kid” telling tales of driving up to Surrey pretty much on petrol vapours.  Alex’s new bike was admired (think son-of-Ming’s’ “Beast” and you’ll have the basic idea) and we all headed off up the hill, stopping only to repair Richard’s broken chain, to the “Graveyard Shift” trail.  Rich and Rick led us now to a proper drop-off with a step-down then a steep descent leading onto a surprise jump…Alex wasted no time riding down this whilst most others chose the wimp-out option  of the supposedly “easier” trail to the side that claimed Bob with an elegant slow-mo over the handlebars moment. Not wanting to be shown-up by a child J I decided on the drop-off option and, to my surprise, made it down the descent…alive.


Another regroup and Rich F led us on a climb up the hill across the BKB trail to the reservoir and the finale of the day, a play on the see-saws J


As always, the Surrey hills showed what great riding is to be had in the south east and, as always, the post ride coffee, cake and banter were most welcome.


Many thanks again to Lisa, Rick, Rich and Donna for organising the ride. Roll on the next outing at Stanmer.  Guy




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