Mind over matter.

Today the weather was fabulous but the rest of the week is unlikely to be good, so that made today a good day for a ride. I decided to ride a loop around Brinscall Woods with it’s rough but exciting downhill section. First, though, I had to get there. I took a mixed road/off road route to White coppice. It undulates but avoids the hills of a road only choice and is quiet with only the occasional walker. It passes some small lodges or reservoirs and lands you at White Coppice with it’s cricket field, surrounded by hills.

Then it’s the technical segment which I struggled, until recently, to ride without stopping or having to put a foot down. I made hard work of the toughest part but kept the power on to get through, even though I hit a big rock which I rode straight over. The rest was easy enough but is followed by a steep, gravel road climb, a tarmac climb and another gravel road up the moor. You’re then rewarded for your efforts with the downhill. It starts with a moorland single track with plenty of rocks to hop over. It steepens and gives you plenty of speed for little effort. Then you have to throw the bike over a stile to ride the woodland section, which is a mixture of pine and deciduous trees. It’s lumpy and riddled with tree roots, steep in places with a good number of drop offs up to over 2 feet down. You need to be confident and push your body weight back to avoid going over the front. I made sure I was master of the terrain and loved the ride.

At the bottom I stopped by a gate with a sign above it.

It’s not that I want to break the rules but in England no changes have been made to access rights since 1967, which is before the first mountain bikes arrived. All mountain bikers ride on footpaths because of the intransigence of the law makers. The situation is different in Scotland, where there is no law of trespass. I’m happy enough because no one has ever been sued for footpath trespass on a bike but what’s the point of a law if it is never used? Anyway, they’d need to catch me first!

Through the gate is the technical section in the reverse direction, which is harder. I knew how it would be. After succeeding on my last attept I had a psychological advantage and dispensed the first steep part with only a tiny wheel spin. Onto the hardest part of all, a steep rooty climb. I decided to take a leaf out of Admiral Horatio Nelson’s book. He was shot by a sniper during Britain’s great victory over the French at sea in the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. Apparently his favoured tactic in naval battles was to “Go straight at ’em!” Perhaps not the subtlest of methodology but, as in 1805, it worked today. I went straight at the roots and kept the power on, skipping over the top with only a slight diversion to the right. I was pleased to succeed again, proving that last time wasn’t a flook and that I’m not too old to manage the challenge. I stayed off road apart from a short climb to the back side of Healey Nab and took the red graded route down. When I checked on Strava I found that I’d done my fastest ever descent! It appeared to be the second fastest time of the year so far but looking at the ride of the one faster rider, I found that he hadn’t ridden the red route. He’d taken a much shorter option but Strava is not sophisticted enough to discern these things. So really my time was the fastest this year and in all likelyhood about as fast as anyone has ever done if they follow the trail and don’t cut corners.

I took the fast, 30mph trail to the bottom of the hill and relaxed on the way home. I coverd 11.63 miles with 1,188 feet of climbing. A very enjoyable ride. Please feel free to leave a comment of “like” my post.

Andrew.

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