In the north of England you have to be ready for all weathers, often just in one day but this week has been dry and the trails have dried up well. This is unlikely to continue until the weekend and in the woodland there are still plenty of puddles and patches of mud. Having said that I had a great ride today. I couldn’t afford to tire myself too much since I’m working tomorrow and my negotiation with my wife to do a full day’s ride on the Mary Towneley Loop had ended in abject failure. The dog needed my attention, apparently, and Ali didn’t fancy visiting Yorkshire and dropping me on the way. Freddie would have had to be left in the car for too long whilst she browsed the shops for things she doesn’t even need. Married life does have it’s compensations, though.
So 3 laps of Healey Nab seemed like the best plan and when I got to the trails they were dry enough to put some effort in on a full lap. It took me 13 minutes and 30 seconds but I didn’t push myself anywhere near the limit. I rode 2 red graded laps sandwiching a single lap of the black route with it’s bigger jumps and berms. I’m enjoying the changes which have been made to the red route this year. A new jump section requires planning. I have enough experience to be able to make it flow but I fear some may let enthusiasm get the better of them and take off from one massive jump only to smack into the next jump. I’ve mentioned before that I stand up then absorb the first jump by allowing the bike to rise up underneath me. I keep the wheels on the ground and can then jump upwards on the next up slope to send the bike into the air, clearing the long top of the mound. This is followed by a sublime section of corners which provided plenty of grip to keep the speed up, today.
I met only one rider in my 3 laps. He was riding a hardtail with no rear suspension so when we met at the trail head I asked him why he had made that choice. He said he’d had a full suspension bike last year but just loved the simplicity of the bike he had now. He pointed out that he also had no gears, just a single speed and said the ride was silent, with no chain rattle. He also liked the lack of maintenance. I’d like less servicing and a bike that last forever but mountain bikes just don’t work that way. You have to at least clean and lubricate after anything but a very dry ride and parts wear out. On my last couple of rides I had problems with the chain slipping over the cogs and getting derailed and thought I might have to replace the whole transmission. I had a part worn chain, though, so had fitted it a couple of days ago. It works perfectly and should save me the expense for a few months, at least.
I’m enjoying making a suspension fork for my 23 year old Proflex to replace the tired original. It needs the correct nuts and bolts to be bought, painting, lubricating and generally finishing off. I can squidge it up and down as it stands and I very pleased with what I’ve done so far.