Another muddy ride.

We’ve had plenty of rain in the last week and at this time of year the ground takes a long time to dry up. It was inevitable that my ride yesterday would be on soaking wet surfaces which limits my riding options. Healey Nab, my nearest hill, seemed like the best bet. The man made trails are never really too wet to ride so I set off with the intention of riding 3 laps of the red graded circuit. I used a mainly off road route to the north end of the hill and could tell that it would be the muddiest ride so far this autumn. I chose to use a steeper but shorter climb to the trail head and rode all the way without being stopped by impassable swamps. There were, as usual on a Sunday, a few other riders on the trails. I rode a circuit of the top loop to let the trail head area clear a little before I took some pictures in the rather grey conditions.

I’ve often taken pictures of my bikes leaning against the board with a map of the trails. Quite a lot of ferns are growing where the trees were felled in the spring. I fear that brambles will take over, though.
In the opposite direction lies Winter Hill at 1,498 feet. Many of the trails there will have to wait until spring before the riding is worthwhile.

I started on the downhill and with a gritty surface it’s entertaining to ride, despite some puddles. I continued on the old red route which has recently been cleared. The surface is very muddy from all the debris left by tree felling. I noticed that more had been cleared since my last visit and saw 4 people ahead who were obviously clearing the trail further down. I stopped for a chat and was told that they will build a new flow trail from the trail head, linking into the existing red route. I’m looking forwards to riding it, perhaps by spring. I climbed using the longer climb this time and found that where the old way has disappeared and you have to follow a wide tyre track it was too muddy to ride. I ground to a halt in mud and clay where a short while ago I’d still been able to keep going.

Back at the top I set off down again and made sure I kept my body position correct with my torso fairly level, elbows out and head over the steerer tube. It’s too easy in slippery conditions to just hang on for dear life but by maintaining the correct posture I knew I’d be less likely to slide the front wheel. It’s also crucial to keep it smooth with not panic braking and sudden changes of line. I used the shorter climb after my descent so that I could keep it moving and rode a third descent, trying again to maintain my technique. Considering the conditions I enjoyed my ride climbing 914 feet in 8.84 miles.

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