Finding new challenges.

Having done a hard day’s work on Saturday I decided to wait until Monday to do my next ride. I didn’t feel on top form, still recovering from working on a long garden fence but I still wanted my ride to have a purpose. It has been quite breezy today and I thought it might be exhilarating to ride to the top of Great Hill at around 1280 feet but decided I’d be better cutting down into Brinscall woods for the high quality downhill segment. First though, after a few miles of mixed road and off road riding I had the technical section from White Coppice to Brinscall woods to ride. I made it without a foot down on the Boardman FS Pro.

Then I took it easy on the steep fire road climb up the woods but in dry conditions the ride has got a bit easier.IMG_20190329_125738

Above is the climb up the woods from a previous ride. After this is a short, narrow tarmac road which ends at a gate where a gravel road climbs up the moor. Instead of going up to the top of Great Hill I turned right after a few hundred yards down a gorgeous piece of moorland single track. It was dry and fast but there are plenty of sizeable rocks in the rutted surface. You need to stay loose and let the front wheel do its own thing. If you stiffen up it could all go wrong!

Into the woods and the surface throws just about everything at you from hardpacked dirt to roots, rock and dips where puddles have dried up. It’s an exciting challenge and I got to the bottom with no real incidents. You need a good bit of experience to ride a section like this and every time you ride it you find it a little bit different due to the weather and the gradual erosion.

From the bottom of the woods it was on to the technical trail back to White Coppice. I made the first steep slope so rode on to the hardest part of all. I should have committed to my original route but was in 2 minds on my approach. I just couldn’t keep the bike going and was disappointed. I went back a few yards and succeeded on a second try. Of course this doesn’t mean I succeeded on my challenge which I set in January to ride the section in both directions but at least I know how to approach it next time.

I rode towards the back of Healey Nab and took 2 photos where I cross the dam at the end of the Anglezarke reservoir. The picture at the top shows the flank of Great Hill in the background with Brinscall woods on the horizon, just left of centre.IMG_20190415_150214

The stone wall runs along the top of the dam. Up Healey Nab the dry conditions helped me to get up quickly. I paused at the top whilst another rider set off. I gave him plenty of time before I started so he didn’t get in my way and despite chasing him hard when he came in sight in front of me I couldn’t catch him. It had, I suppose, been my intention to race him. One day I may grow up but I hope not for a long time!

Now that the open fields down towards Chorley have started to get really dry I thought it worth having a go at beating my Strava time on the “Froome Street downhill”. I was 2 seconds quicker than my last ride when I was riding the Whyte PRST4 but I felt disappointed. I was 8th fastest of all time but believe I can be number 1 on this segment. It’s a fairly gentle slope with 2 steeper, rougher sections with high speed corners. I thought that what I need to do to get faster and reduce my time from 54 down to 46 seconds is to visualise the segment before I ride it. This is the kind of thing that professional sports people do to improve. You imagine yourself riding the hill and think about what you’ll do at each point. I need to get off the mark quicker and build up the speed as quick as possible. I noticed by comparing my run to the best run on Strava that I started off quite well, only losing 1 second before the first steep part. I lost a further 4 second by not pedalling hard enough on the next part which has many dips in the surface. I’ve learned something for next time and am looking forwards to giving it a go.

It was and excellent ride and I was glowing as I rode back home gently in the sunshine. “Like” my post if you’ve enjoyed reading and feel free to leave a comment.

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