I’ve often thought that I knew every trail within easy reach of home. Sometimes, though, I’ve ridden along with someone new and they’ve shown me a trail I didn’t know. Within the last year I’ve been surprised to discover several trails in places I’ve been riding forever. Today I did a little exploration and found something unexpected.
I wanted to get out whilst it wasn’t raining having had yet more rain since my ride on Monday and didn’t want to do too long a ride. After Monday, when I rode 3 laps of a circuit, increasing the pace on each lap, I was feeling the effort in my legs. Usually after 2 days I’d expect to be back to normal but I could definitely still feel the effects of my last effort. Setting off up an easy road climb I felt good and chose to take an off road route to get me towards Brinscall Woods. The mud was so deep at one point that I actually ground to a halt in a sticky quagmire. When I got back on the road I realised I’d have to stick to the tarmac rather than taking the trail alongside the reservoirs to avoid further muddy mess. I noticed an uneasy feeling from my pedals which were rocking slightly. Looking down I could see that the bottom bracket was worn out. This contains the bearings where the pedal cranks are held in the frame. The modern bottom brackets have much smaller bearings than previous types so they inevitably wear out quicker. These are less than a year old but I was given them for free! It’s an easy enough repair and wasn’t going to prevent me from carrying on.
I took a dirt road to the woods and rode along the goit, a straightened river, to the steep way up. I looked to the right near the bottom of the steep ascent and made a mental note to have a look at a trail which I could see climbing up. I’ve ridden the woodland to the left twice recently and on the second occasion found an interesting section. The climb up the woods seemed easy enough but as I rode up the narrow tarmac to the higher part of the woods I could feel the effects of my last ride. Taking an earlier turn into the trees I noticed another trail which I can’t remember riding before, to my left.
A deep ravine cut by the water over thousands of years.
From the top I was finding conditions slippery but at least I could see the trail this time. On the previous 2 occasions it’s been more like a river. I failed to find the top of the trail I’d seen so rode up it from the bottom. It was a vague looking start, a secret little twisty delight and I wasn’t surprised that I’d never found it before. It was still so wet that I’m thinking of it as something to look forwards to when things improve. I was enjoying the riding and turned off in a place where I didn’t know there was anything previously. I went through one of the farmhouses which were abandoned around a century ago and descending through the soaking wet woods I sensed that there were plenty of trail options which I’m still to discover. The surface is loamy and wouldn’t take heavy traffic but if it’s just me there’ll be no harm done.
Healey Nab looks much as it always did until you get up there.
I rode back along the goit in a second fastest ever time according to Strava and carried on following Black Brook to access the back of Healey Nab where the larch trees are being felled. As the twigs seem to settle down on the ground between the piles of felled logs it’s getting easier to ride but in all was a waste of time. I got stuck on the wrong side of some tyre tracks which were a meter deep in places. It took me a while to extricate myself from the situation and go down the hill by the route I’d climbed it. I can only hope that the area can be cleared without too much more damage or we really will be starting from scratch to rebuild the trails.
I clearly did some good training on Monday if I’m still feeling it today and hope to get out once more this week. I can’t wait to ride the new (to me) trails in Brinscall Woods when we finally get a dry period. The wind was blowing strongly against me on the road home. I was heading south and a southern wind makes a change from the westerlies which have been bringing us all the rain.