In Britain you have to be prepared to ride in the wet weather or you would need to supplement your mountain biking with other sport, just to keep fit. When I had a business it was much harder to ride during the week once the clocks went back, leaving me riding in the dark. I used lights and had some good rides but the problem was when I got back home, cold, wet and covered in mud, still with a bike to clean and lubricate. I more often chose to run instead. It’s a few years now since I’ve been for a run and I’m sure it would hurt me to try! You definitely use your muscles in a different way when running. I noticed how I put muscle on, both below and above the waist, when I started mountain biking.
To ride through the autumn and winter I find it important to keep the riding exciting and not a chore, to be undertaken only to keep fit. I haven’t been to Birkacre for a few weeks so thought it would be a good place to go. The surface is mainly hard and well drained but slippery enough to easily find the limit of grip. The downhill ride to the area is also good and somewhere that I’ve set and subsequently beaten the King of the Mountains fastest time ever on the app. Strava. Today took me over a minute longer at over 2 minutes 30 seconds. Sliding around the corners was a thrill, though. I have to admit, if I had the choice, I’d take a dry trail every time! I rode a good few laps of the different, short segments at Birkacre then took a road section to Ellerbeck, a former coal mine. There’s little evidence of the mining left but several trails to follow. The downhill I chose was just too muddy and rain rutted to ride at anything above a crawl. I’d expected that, really, but it linked me to a fairly long trail ride to Healey Nab. I decided to cut down the canal bank to home since, if I’d ridden to the Nab, I’d have only got one downhill for the price a few miles of muddy, unexciting trail. The weather had forced me to make the change but I knew the dog was waiting at home, so I had to be sensible.
I put some effort in on the last leg purely for training purposes. So maybe not the best ride of recent times but I enjoyed the Birkacre section. I’ll have to keep an eye on the weather forecast to plan my next ride and in the meantime I can plan a 47 mile ride of the Mary Towneley Loop next year. I’ll probably wait until April in the hope of dry ground. Such a long distance will be tough enough without mud. There’s also 6,500 feet of ascent in the circuit so I’ll want that to be as easy as possible.