Wild weather.

After a very rainy week we also got strong winds today. I decided that my only option was to ignore the weather and ride to a high and remote moor! I’d ride to the ruined and deserted farms set above Brinscall, back through the woods and over Healey Nab. I set off with the wind behind me in light rain but once the rain picked up I had a change of plan. It would have been most unpleasant to ride back into the wind and rain after a tough mountain bike ride so I diverted towards Healey Nab’s northern end. The rain lessened so I carried on to another point where I could still have chosen my original plan but more rain sent me a little further to climb the eastern side of the Nab. After this I was in woodland for some of the ride and didn’t get much more rain. I’ll save my moorland ride for another occasion.

From the cairn at 680 feet I could see out to the coast. The weather was coming from the west and it didn’t look like I’d see much more rain.

After taking a picture at the summit I rode across to the trail head and down the red graded decent. Although there was some standing water only one short section was really slippery. On my last ride I’d tried a corner at the north end of the area which has changed completely this year after 2,500 larch trees were felled. Now the trail drops far more steeply at the end of a straight section onto a flat and open area where you need to turn left through almost 180 degrees. It gives you the options of either braking before the steep slope, as well as on the way down it, turning tightly at the bottom. Alternatively I could brake as I descended the steep and on the flat area below, taking a much longer and less sharp turn. I wanted to find which way was quickest so after a practice run I timed my efforts between 2 markers. I found that I was around a second quicker braking earlier and taking the shorter but slightly slower tighter turn. It seems that in cycling a shorter route is almost always quicker, even if the riding is harder. Taking a short option up and over a hill will be quicker than a physically easier but longer route which doesn’t climb. Next time I ride one of my favourite Nab downhills I’ll know the best and quickest line to take on this corner.

My bike pointing up the steep slope earlier in the year. Nature is now taking over with vegetation starting to cover the stones.

On my way up I noticed more trail options descending from the top than I’d expected. This was good news since it looked like more of the old trails have been cleared, which were buried by the tree felling. I rode and pushed up the trail and rode down from the trail head. Although it wasn’t running fast I was delighted to find that the old red graded trail has been largely cleared. It’s amazing to find how much has been done in these difficult times where Covid 19 has prevented groups getting together to work on the trails. I rode a couple of downhills, had a chat with some other riders and rode down the hill towards home.

The weather is taking it’s toll on my bike, it seems. I’ll need to service the headset because rusty water has run out of it. The steering feels smooth enough so hopefully it just needs to be regreased. The bottom bracket, where the pedal cranks rotate in the frame, has developed some play and feels gritty. Modern bottom brackets just don’t seem as robust as the ones we had years ago.

I enjoyed my ride despite the mud.

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