Something new.

Something that was new about today  is that it hasn’t yet rained after 14 consecutive days when it has rained at some point. On the way to the north end of Healey Nab, my local hill, I’ve noticed a sign indicating a footpath to St Barnabas church. It’s a gravel road, so today I thought I’d ride it, imagining that the church might be disused and way out in the country. The road gradually increases in gradient but never becomes particularly steep. It is a Strava segment which seems strange since there were 2 gates where you had to lift your bike and climb over. I rode at a mid pace and after a while passed a farm which had an old, 17th of 18th century farmhouse and converted barn. The road turned to tarmac at this point and was 0.8 miles long in total. I was suprised later to find that I was 13th fastest out of 43 Strava equiped riders! Ominously the segment is entitled “Cardiac Hill”. Lets hope it’s just intended as a cardiac workout. At the end of the road I knew where I was on a county road and sure enough there was a church. A rather large Roman Catholic church so I took some pictures.

I need to find out how to adjust the sensitivity of the appalling camera, difficult without reading glasses, one of the curses of middle age. At least I’ve managed to produce a look like a vision of heaven in a movie.

I turned on the tarmac and rode to the village of White Coppice. It gave a great view of the surrounding hills and Healey Nab soon came into site. There’s a farm track to the Nab so I took it and rode towards the top stopping at the beginning of the full red graded circuit. If you’ve read a few of my posts you might know that a sub 11 minute lap is a target for the year. Realistically we need a full week without rain to dry the trail out if I’m to stand a chance. The downhill was not too slow but I could feel the mud holding me back on the climbs. I managed 13 minutes 48 seconds today but imagine I’d have been 2 to 2 and a half minutes quicker in bone dry conditions.

Back at the trail head I thought I’d try a black graded descent and didn’t find it too hard but the short, steep track isn’t really to my taste. I prefer the more flowing red trail. My 1 minute and 2 seconds today would still have seen me as the 264th fastest ever out of 2567 riders, according to Strava. That comparison is with the fastest ever times of each riders, most of whom will have ridden the trail many times, often in much better conditions. I like riding quickly, it’s exciting. I don’t know what the motivation to ride such trails is if you’re not going to ride it like you’re racing. It’s different when you are trail riding over longer distances. I usually relax and enjoy the environment, though I might speed it up on short sections.

I took some views of Chorley and the surroundings on the way back home.

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Chorley is a town of around 35,000 people but if you include nearby villages it’s more like double that figure.

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The white building on the nearer horizon, dead centre, is the Mormon Preston Temple, which is actually in Chorley. To the right of it on a more distant horizon is Blackpool tower, a poor man’s Eifel tower but at least it truly is in Blackpool.

 

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