I was doubly hopeful about my riding, today. Firstly, I was taking a new route up Healey Nab, to add some interest. Secondly, it was frosty this morning. The weather forecast informs us that we can expect up to a week of cold but dry weather. That’s a treat, at this time of year. I could see the damp rising like steam in my garden, this morning. It’s strange how cold weather so often dries the ground. It must be due to the triple point of water, where it can exist as solid, liquid or gas at a particular temperature and pressure. The ice is turning straight from solid to gas, then condensing as the water vapour, which I saw rising. That way there’s no liquid to further wet the ground. We’re at the beginning of the dry period so I was still anticipating muddy trails.
When the weather’s good I usually have a good choice of trails which I could ride. I don’t want to go to lesser used trails then, because I might not get such a good ride out of it. That’s why I so often ride different stuff when it’s wet. This has meant that I haven’t rated some trails in the past, only having ridden them when wet and muddy. Later I’ve used them to get from A to B, not expecting them to be good and they’ve wowed me! I looked long and hard for an alternative to reach the Nab, today, using Google Earth and eventually found a trail I haven’t ridden in years. My memory of this trail is when I rode it alone around 2010. On a Tuesday evening I usually rode with a group of mates but on this occasion no one else was riding. I rode the trail in both directions then went up Healey Nab where I set my fastest ever time riding the red graded trail. 10 minutes 15 seconds on the original, longer trail would probably translate to sub 10 minutes on the course we have now. This year I’ve been trying to beat 11 minutes. I think I need to accept that 9 years later I just can’t ride as fast but I’m equally convinced that I enjoy riding as much as ever.
Today I started in a fairly usual way then took a different way along the bottom of the Nab, following a stream called Black Brook. It’s a trail I’ll use again. I rode past a children’s play area then a small farm. I was surprised by the electric fences on both sides of the path and many signs warning you from straying. At the end I should have turned right but a steel barrier had been erected by the farmer to block my chosen way. This is strictly illegal but the police wouldn’t be interested so that’s that. I took a road section instead, then got back on track.
A frosty trail leads to who knows where? Well actually I do know but barely remembered after around 9 years.
It’s a good, though not thrilling trail and was deep in mud in places. I rode to St Barnabas church and took a gravel road which I rode in the opposite direction earlier this year, for the first time ever. This time, heading down hill, it was over quickly but was a good way to link to Healey Nab. I just rode to the top, with the intention of riding down, then home. On the way up I could see a rider ahead of me pushing his bike. I was surprised to find that it was an E bike. I thought the idea of electrical power was that you never needed to walk?
From the trail head I could hear the screech of brakes below. When I was riding down I saw a BMX bike being ridden nervously by a teenager, who should have been in school! When I passed I saw a mountain bike ahead then later half a dozen others stopped near the bottom. When I got home I found that some school children have held a climate strike, today. It’s good to see that rather than inconveniencing others, they were participating in a very eco friendly sport. Although if you include the production of bikes and the import, usually from Taiwan, is it really so green. I saw a bamboo framed MTB online earlier. I hope this isn’t the future.
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