In January I set myself some targets for this years mountain biking. I haven’t had too many attempts at most of them but one target has stubbornly resisted me despite multiple attempts. When you keep missing the target it becomes a psychological as well as physical battle. I was starting to struggle with the belief that I couldn’t do something that I’ve achieved just about every year for a very long time. Then you start to worry that it’s an age thing. Am I too old to do something that I first managed over 20 years ago?
I was reading a magazine, MountainBike Rider (MBR) today. It carried an article about setting goals or targets and it motivated me to have another go at “White Coppice to Brinscall Woods and back without a foot down”. Not the catchiest of titles, I admit. On the outward leg it’s a bit easier than the return and I’ve been doing it most of the time. I’ve also retried the sections I’ve failed on the return leg and tried a different approach on the hardest part of all. So today I reached White Coppice after a mixture of road and trail and prepared myself for the first steep climb. I said a little prayer. If there is a great God in the sky he may not have time for trivial matters which serve only to give a warm glow of satisfaction to one individual for a time. At the hard step up I was in a gear too low and just about ground to a halt. Determination and belief got me going again and I was over it. A close call, there. A tree has fallen over the path further on but I made it round the makeshift diversion and finished with no more drama.
This is an old picture looking down the hard part described above. It’s steep, stoney and you have to get around the large rock to the right of the bike.
Rather than ride the excellent trails around Brinscall woods or up Great Hill I was keen to try the return leg. I bounded up the first steep climb and went onwards to the killer section. I knew what I needed to do and launched myself at the steep roots. Fortunately I’d chosen the right gear and floated up as if on the wings of an angel. I’m torturing the religious metaphors so much I could either be excommunicated or cannnonized, We’ll see.
The first hard part on the return. Stick to the steep slope where the bike is positioned. The roots will stop you dead.
I rounded the fallen tree. A stream crossing straight after has been badly eroded and is far harder than it used to be. Again I slowed right down but pushed hard to get through. The final challenged beckoned. A dip in the ground about 6 feet deep. I almost stalled but on the spur of the moment directed a word upwards and kicked it through. Praise be!
I rode the rest in smug satisfaction and took some pictures. On the left is looking up a man made channel to the old lead mining area. On the right I was faced with a curious sheep.
Back to Waterman’s Cottage and up Healey Nab. I took a panorama of Great Hill from near the top.
I had no plan for Healey Nab so just concentrated on searching for speed on the red graded downhill. The result, according to Strava, was my best time ever at 1 minute 41 seconds. And the sun is still shining.