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Date: 5th September 2010
Riders: Richard, Rob, Rob M, Rich Lonegroover, Warren and Green Orange Dave
Tunnel Hill, Porridepot Hill and another hill that I can't quite remember
Weather: 18°C

This week Warren has persuaded a group of us to meet at Tunnel Hill for a tour around these hidden trails. Athough it's at the ungodly hour of 8-30 a.m. for the meeting I still manage to make it but it's a shock when the alarm goes off at 6-05 a.m. for me to get up (my normal time for getting up and going to work).

After picking up Rob we head down the M3 and 33 miles later are pulling up into the lay-by opposite the Potters, some kind of 70's style entertainment venue.

I have actually ridden here once before, back in November 2008 under very different conditions (very cold and very wet) but it's another large and very different group that turns up today including some of the Muddy Moles with about 16 riders in evidence.

We set off at a fast pace under the guidance of our anonymous guide. That's not to say he was wearing some kind of 'Stig' related disguise, he just wanted to keep a low profile. But similar to the Stig we were riding at a good pace with very few pauses and very little opportunity for photo's either.

However I managed to grab a few pictures and also had my GoPro with me too so will publish a Tunnel Hill movie over the next week or so.

Tunnel Hill and the surrounding area feels to me a bit like Swinley Forest and even looks like it in places. Everything looks vaguely familiar but you can't recognise anything: it's just like shopping in Lidl.

We covered about 15 miles and with 16 riders it was amazing that we only suffered one puncture (me; a snake bite as I failed to recreate the floating motion I could see in my head as I went over a large root.

It was also the first time we had seen Green Orange Dave since our last ride at Swinley and his subsequent appearance on a lonely hearts posting on Singletrackworld. Unsurprisingly he had tried to disguise himself by growing a goatee beard.

We finished the day with a nice steep roll-in and it was good to be one of only four riders to ride it as I have been thinking about it off and on for almost two years having failed to even attempt it on my last visit.


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Date: 12th September 2010
Riders: Richard, Lee, Terry, Jason and Niall
LOMAC to Leith Hill and back
Weather: 16°C

A totally different set of riders to last week and a route that couldn't be more different from the singletrack trails that criss-cross Tunnel Hill.

Even though we have so many trails in the area it's always nice to ride new stuff or at least unfamiliar trails and so I pieced together a similar ride that I last led in July 2009 and prior to that hadn't ridden since the days of Keef, David and Paul (not that any of you remember those guys).

It's a real XC killer loop that started from my front door as I rode the 5 miles to the start point at LOMAC before joining up with the others and heading onto Stane Street. Niall is riding with us today; a relative newbie to the forum who appeared whilst I was on holiday and this is the first time that I have ridden with him.

We push onto Mickleham Down and then down the Alpine trail before a long road section takes us past the bikers at Ryka's Cafe at the foot of Box Hill and then along the road to Denbies where we start the long double-track climb up through the vineyards. With a small group all of a similar level of fitness there's not much hanging around and we are making such good time that this is the first time I get a chance to grab my camera for a few shots.

From the top of Denbies there's a left turn that takes us down a narrow singletrack trail that gets progressively faster and gnarlier as it gets looser towards the bottom as the trail gets into a deep cutting; great fun.

From here a minor error on the route finding as we cross a meadow instead of turning right up the road but we are soon back on track and a lovely fast descent down a steep rooty trail before being dumped out at the un-manned railway crossing.

Across the rails and following the bridleway through Milton Court before crossing the A25 and onto more singletrack across Milton Heath and Bury Hill up to Chadhurst Farm for a stiff climb up towards Coldharbour Lane.

Terry is on the singlespeed and is powering up all the climbs and leads the way once again up this one. I am holding my position in the pack although Jason who hasn't done too much riding recently is flagging as soon as the gradient gets above about 20 degrees.

Into the woods again and more singletrack before hitting the super-technical trails about 13 miles into the ride. After messing around here for a while we hit Summer Lightning for the long descent down there all the way to Westcott taking in the 'barbed wire fence' trail and The Rookery. It's along here that we bump into a dad with 3 or 4 small kids on various sized bikes. We follow one of the kids aged about 9 or 10 for a while and he's actually going pretty fast considering he's on a bike with 14" wheels.

Through Westcott again and we head toward's Pilgrim's Way where we bump into Tim K and 2 of his mates. They have just started a planned 75k ride as they are in training for the forthcoming MacMillan Enduro at Afan. We chat to each other as we climb up Pilgrim's Way before parting company at the top.

From here it's along the top of Ranmore Common Road before turning right and heading through Polesden Lacey and Bockett's Farm and then back into the bottom of Leatherhead. Jason is struggling now, he's still riding okay but we pull away from him as soon as the trails head uphill but he battles away asnd we get back to LOMAC after a long and hard 33 miles.

Another 5 miles back home makes it a very worthy 43 miles for the morning for me (and Jason who lives nearby) and a well-deserved snooze in front of the television beckons for the afternoon.

Date: 19th September 2010
Riders: Richard, Bus, Rob, Rich Lonegroover, Tim K, Robin, Tim, Chris, and Mel
Holmbury Hill and Pitch Hill
Weather: 16°C

For the third week running a totally different set of riders as we head off to find some new trails to ride mixed in with our old favourites.

Dave has invited Mel along and she has picked the right week as Lee isn't around to scare her off with his wind issue whilst Robin is riding the latest in medical equipment, a Marin Quad 140 as he is under Doctor's orders to relieve the pressure on his over-inflated cankle and has interpreted this as a requirement to buy a full suspension frame in place of his hardtail.

Starting from Holmbury YHA we head off right and down the overgrown gulley for a different start to usual and make our way fairly quickly over to Barry Knows Best. Onto BKB and I'm following Robin at a decent clip when we descend the first steepish roll-in. I've ridden this literally hundreds of times over the years and never had a problem with it but for some reason, possibly tyre pressure, possibly my increasingly worn Fox Vanilla's, the front dives and the wheel tucks under as I reach the compression point and I'm off to the left of the bike in a heap with a scratched elbow and shin into the bargain.

Needless to say, the rest of the group rides past laughing and not stopping.

Onto Pitch Hill and we follow some of the tighter singletrack trails before heading over to the far side and Tim prompts me to follow a new trail that Nick M showed him on the Saturday. Although I recall riding this with Nick in the Summer this has bedded in well and turns out to be the trail of the day with everyone a-hollering and a-whooping as they enjoy the steep winding descent although there's a nasty little climb at the end to calm everyone down.

There's just time for Dave to twist his ankle whilst performing an innocuous dimount before we head back again looking for the start to the Supernova trail. I badly misjudge this and we descend the wrong trail dumping us at the bottom of Holmbury Hill. We push back up off-piste for maybe ten minutes and after some grumbling and groaning finally find the trail but again it's worth it as the original great trail has been extended to drop you out almost in the car-park.

A final break for tea and cake at Peaslake sees a South African girl rubbing natural yoghurt onto her legs in an effort to relieve the stinging nettles stings before we climb back up Holmbury Hill and take the Yoghurt Pots and Telegraph Road back to the car.

Date: 26th September 2010
Riders: Richard, Bus, Terry, Keith, Paul, Nick, and Andy
Pitch Hill and Holmbury Hill
Weather: 15°C

I normally try to avoid riding the same hills two weeks running but with no-one posting a ride on the forum it was left up to new guy Paul a.k.a. 'Hollywood' to prompt us to get out on the bikes and Nick offered to lead us around some previously unknown trails.

So an early 9 a.m. start at Car Park 3 sees us heading off on a voyage of discovery as Nick shows us some great trails, all tight, twisting singletrack with plenty of altitude loss involved. We go past Jelly's Hollow where Nick has previously been propositioned by a dog-walker (female thankfully) and onto the bombhole and switchback trails and after riding Xmas Pudding we head back to Peaslake via the extended Supernova where we spot Dave, Tony and Jem of the Muddy Moles before climbing straight up to the top of Holmbury Hill.

A fine rain is blowing in here making it feel like the end of British Summer Time (not long now) and although we grab a drink and bite to eat we don't hang around before taking the usual descent down the Yoghurt Pots, Surfer Rosa (including extension), Reservoir Dogs and Barry Knows Best where I manage to negotiate the roll-in properly this week before heading back past Peaslake again and up to the car park to round off a nice fast paced 3 hour ride.

Hollywood Paul coped with the trails well with no X-rated moments and fitness certainly wasn't an issue and we are now hopefully on his A-list for future rides.


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Untitled Document

all photos and content copyright of Richard Sear 1999 to 2015


click to view click to view click to view Steve Neill Big Trev Orange Dave dialled bikes pewter headtube badge Dave and Dave outside LOMAC Dave on Summer Lightning A grinning Trevor Steve (again) Davebus and Neill on Stane Street Jason next to Denbie's vineyard Trevor struggles up the climb Dave followed by Jason on Stane Street Banstead Downs singletrack It was getting dark by the time I got back Richard (that's me!) Surrey Hills logo at the top of Coombe hill Gary dicing with the cars through New Malden Stag party Gary's Giant SCR 2008 model  A cheerful looking Gary part way round Richmond Park speed limits for cyclists! Kingston Gate, Richmond Park view off the side of Headley Heath Bianchi K-Vid carbon forks self-portrait whilst climbing between second and third hairpin on the Zig Zag Road, Box Hill Dave and Mat, the folly, Reigate Hill urban riding, Richard in Ashtead High Street a bit underexposed but a nice shot of the view from the North Downs Way Richard dropping in on Colley Hill No, not the Mediterranean, this is outside LOMAC, Ashtead High Street Richard showing off for the camera Mat and Richard, Stane Street Richard, Headley Heath Mat on Headley Heath Gary with our 'rabbit' in the distance Gary in the dusk Richard Gary chasing the yellow 'rabbit' in the distance Cas Cas Richard 'self-portrait'