Horses for courses.

Just as you need the right horse to perform best on a particular race course you need the right mountain bike. Today I wanted to push myself on 2 different pieces of trail. The first is a climb which takes over 2 minutes, so is equivalent to an 800m running race on a track. The skill here is to pace yourself and not burn out too soon. The second track is a downhill taking less than a minute. It is a sprint with plenty of corners and jumps. It’s fabulously entertaining with an acceptable level of danger.

Unfortunately the same horse won’t be ideal on both courses! I chose to ride my Whyte JW4 which is pictured above. It was sunny and the magnolia blossom is looking good. This picture proves that we do sometimes see the sun even in Chorley, which I recently heard is the “second cloudiest place in the country”, hence the building of an armaments factory in the 1930s. I loved the JW4 last time out and it is well suited to the climb I wanted to try.

On the way to the climb at Birkacre I rode the “Drop to Birky” segment where I have the fastest time ever recorded on Strava. I didn’t need to ride it flat out but once I got going…………………A minute and a half later I could feel that I’d put some effort in. That, plus a full day’s work yesterday can’t have helped on my climb where the best time on Strava is 2 minutes 21 secs. I managed 2 min 24 which was 2 seconds faster than I’ve recorded before though this time the trail was fairly dry.

I’ve mentioned before that the trail called “Faccy track”, which was my downhill target, is exquisite. It needs some hard sprinting to get the best out of it but slithering round the turns and leaving the ground over the jumps is intoxicating. Before the final corner and sprint to the finish is a sudden lip before a steep drop. It’s about 10 feet or 3 meters to the bottom and at speed you spend most of that in the air. I’m taking a bit of speed off before the drop for safety but was still convinced I’d done enough to beat the 52 second Strava King of the Mountains time to make me the fastest ever (out of a small number, few of whom are likely to care anything like as much as I do!).

Strava played fun and games, recording an extra loop I did before starting the run. My time looked poor but by cutting off the extra loop I could see my time should have been more like 49 second. I’ll change my approach next time and hopefully record a KOM. If Strava wants to mess me around I’m willing to play a waiting game.

Despite the slight annoyances it was good to be out today.


  1. Barry says:

    Nice to see you were out on the JW4, I’ll be out on mine a lot more now.


  2. kirkmtb says:

    I should be out on the JW4 again tomorrow. I’m thinking of Great Hill to see if I can do it faster than on the Boardman.


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