A recovery ride.

Due to Covid 19 I haven’t had a weekend camping trip so far this year but last weekend a wrong was righted. I left my wife and dog at home and spent Saturday night near York in my tent. 7 of us had ridden our old scooters for another memorable trip. Needless to say we had beer drinking to catch up on so by Sunday night I desired no more beer. It’s hard to camp for a night. I was on my feet a lot and the concentration needed to ride a scooter is mentally taxing. I managed to stay up until a normal bed time on Sunday night despite being tired, probably due to not drinking beer. Today is Monday and I had time for a mountain bike ride, though I didn’t feel very motivated. I decided to ride to Healey Nab for 3 laps of the hill.

Setting off I felt quite fresh. My legs were not feeling tired after 3 days without a ride and I chose to take the steeper way up the front of the hill. Conditions were quite good on the open ground but once I entered the woodland towards the top of the hill it was very muddy. I had a wheelspin on a tricky climb where I can’t remember failing this year so far. I didn’t see anyone riding today, just a few walkers. Although the sun shone in the afternoon it was fairly gloomy during my ride. I took 2 pictures at the summit where I could see the hills in North Wales to the south west but not the Lake District to the north west.

The Welsh hills were visible with the naked eye but can’t be seen in the picture.
At least it hasn’t rained!

From the top I was quite surprised by how good the trail was. Just a day without rain and the surface was fairly dry on the now open hillside. Last year would have been different before the diseased larch trees were cut down. I enjoyed my first 2 laps, first using the red graded trail, then one of the twistier black options. It was an unusual ride because I didn’t have any targets, or even a plan beyond riding 3 laps. For my third lap I thought it would be interesting to ride the main climb in the opposite direction, as a downhill. Before the tree felling I found this to be the best downhill of all and after today’s ride I can confirm that it still is. Because the corners are designed to be ridden on a climb they are flat, not banked. This is my preferred type of corner and I rode on the edge of grip, sliding a good many times. The new version of the trail, post tree felling, is even better than it was before in this direction so it was a good highlight to enjoy towards the end of my ride. I just had the open downhill to do and I’ve noticed how one part has become very slippery in the rather wet weather we’ve had since the beginning of June. It’s strange how familiar trails evolve. In this case the slippery part is where you reach your highest speed and whilst I may not have considered the danger 20 years ago, I do now.

What I realised after today’s ride was that being mentally tired is very much a factor in my riding. I wasn’t physically fatigued after my weekend away but I was mentally tired, leaving me with less motivation than normal.

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