The need for speed.

Today’s ride focused on speed on 2 different occasions for different reasons. My intention was to ride to Brinscall Woods to use the superb downhill which I’ve only discovered this year and to descend 3 times. I took my usual, mainly off road route to the woods and rode the technical side of the Goit, which is a straightened river. I got the whole way without a foot down by keeping the power on, on the steeper, rocky climbs. I then climbed the woods using some of the trail I would descend. Last time I lost my way due to fallen leaves and some broken branches which have obscured the already vague track on the ground.

On my first attempt I started the stopwatch and rode the mainly dry trail at speed. The first half went well with very little mud to reduce grip and hence speed. Later I lost my way at an especially unclear point so my time was an estimate, having stopped my stopwatch. 3 minutes 28 seconds would be my target on my second run. I climbed the trail in it’s entirety to try to memorise the difficult parts. I put a little more effort in, trying to keep pedaling rather than just allowing gravity to get me down. I didn’t lose the trail and managed 3 minutes 13 seconds. The only problem with such a time, for me at least, is that it begs the question, can I beat 3 minutes?

The trail is varied with flowing, high speed, twisty loam tracks, plenty of rocky patches and some much tighter sections.

I climbed by a different trail which took me back to the top. This time I really went for it, pedaling as much as possible and keeping it smooth to avoid any panic braking, which seriously reduces speed. It was going well but again I found myself staring at a piece of woodland floor with no obvious track. I think I’d been so focused on speed that I’d forgotten to navigate properly. I gave up on my attempt and rode to the bottom. Here I looked at the time. It was 3 minutes past 1 and I knew I was having a parcel delivered between 2 and 3 in the afternoon. I now had a different need for speed. I had to get home and bathed in less than an hour so I rode it at a high tempo.

I still had to slow right down for walkers, especially if they had a dog but generally kept the hammer down. It might seem that it would be annoying to have to increase my effort towards the end of a ride but the extra work gave me that high which I love. I was buzzing over Healey Nab and all the way home, setting some of my fastest ever segment times according to the app. Strava. I got back and was ready for the parcel at 5 minutes to 2. Who needs an easy finish?

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