Back after a mad weekend.

When ten middle aged men go away for a weekend, staying in wooden huts, riding ancient scooters only suited to a short trip into town and tackle the steepest passes in Europe, something’s bound to go wrong. It’s perhaps surprising that only one scooter returned in a truck and only one rider found himself grazed by rolling around on the tarmac. Many have theorised that he did it deliberately since he performed the same maneuver in the same place twice, maybe seeking attention. After a little coaching and a new clutch lever, which had thoughtfully been brought along with us, he made it at the third attempt. More ominously the broken down scooter had a Woodruf key, a small, hard piece of metal, dropped into the gearbox as if the rider feared day 2 of the madness with the hardest passes of all. Still at least we’re all still alive and will laugh about it for years.

Video of Hardknott pass

I was glad to get back out on the mountain bike today. Scooters are good fun to ride and the camaraderie of the scooter scene is excellent but it’s different to the buzz of riding an MTB. The combination of intense physical activity and the adrenaline rush of riding on the limit is addictive. Yesterday was Monday and although the weather wasn’t too bad for riding, I was still fatigued from 2 nights away. 30 years ago it wouldn’t have seemed a problem but I suppose it’s just another of the delights of getting older, that you need much more recovery time. Whilst we were in the English Lake district we were on the go all the time. Combine this with plenty of beer until late into the night and probably too much food and it’s no wonder I didn’t feel fit to do a decent ride until today.

lakes pic

It’s not surprising that the whole of the Lake District is a UNESCO world heritage site.

The rain has continued but from about 11am it’s been sunny. It took me 15 minutes and 17 seconds to do a lap of Healey Nab, a long way from my best of the year at 11 minutes and 8. The main section of jumps has been worked on last weekend but the ground was so soft that I lost too much speed to really jump. The future for that section of trail, however, looks good. I completed 3 laps but felt a little tired on the climbs. I’m sure you get the best training when you’re fresh at the beginning of the ride but I’m sure today was useful anyway. It would be easy to slip into a winter ethos where you slack right off on training but I feel for me that it’s better to keep the effort up year round. My riding is a fairly consistent 2 to 3 rides per week and it’s unlikely I’ll ever be able to put in a 5 or 6 day training week. If I lose form it will, therefore, be hard to get it back. It just feels so much better to ride when you are feeling fitter. I keep speculating what it will be like to ride in 5 or 10 years time. I think the answer will be to just keep going and perhaps set my sights a little lower! My difficult to achieve targets of this year are a good example of me trying to stretch too high. I’ve managed 2 out of 4 and was close on another so it’s been exciting to try. Next year I’ll be carrying the sub 11 minute lap of Healey Nab over and trying to think of some other interesting ones. Roll on spring, but first I’ve got Autumn and winter to enjoy.


Sunshine after the rain before leaving the Healey Nab woods.





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