Strava likes me!

On my last ride I felt full of energy but today I was rather tired. In the morning I’d had a cooked breakfast prior to walking the dog before my ride. It could simply have been that I was still digesting my food and wasn’t ready to ride, I’ll never know. Had I felt more energetic it would have been good for me to do a big aerobic ride but I lacked the motivation so decided to ride to Brinscall Woods for one or more downhill segments. I upped my effort alongside a reservoir to see if the extra work would spur me into action. Whilst Strava told me later that I’d achieved my second fastest time on the section I’ve ridden dozens of times it didn’t encourage me to keep the effort up.

I used the technical side of the Goit, a straightened river, but had my foot down 3 times, whereas last time I cleared the whole way. I climbed the fire road in the woods and took a route to the top of the woods which I’d discovered walking my dog, Freddie, recently. At first I couldn’t remember if I’d subsequently ridden the trail as a downhill but I eventually recalled that I had. I think I’d put it to the back of my mind because it simply wasn’t a patch on the alternative which seems at the moment to be the best downhill I’ve ever ridden.

At the top of the best downhill I carried on towards 2 fallen trees then turned around to descend. The trees have been cut to allow mountain bikes to ride over them but I fear you could damage a chainring because the cuts don’t look deep enough.

The Boardman before I turned it round for a delightful descent.

It had taken me 45 minutes to reach this point and only the technical ride along the Goit is truly entertaining but now the action begins. I rode along to the top of the downhill which I’ve set up on Strava as a segment which I entitled “Brinscall Woods singletrack DH”. It’s long and complex with easy to miss turns so only a handful of other riders have followed the route. I’m in 2 minds as to whether I should write a guide and publicise the best trail I know, or do as others so often seem to and keep it a secret. I see photos and videos of riders on trails who flatly refuse to reveal the location in the subsequent discussion, but I’d maybe prefer to help other riders find the best riding. I thought today about taking some photographs to help me make a guide but was too keen to get on with the ride so launched myself from the top.

What makes a great trail is a question which can’t easily be answered because we’re all individuals with different definitions of great riding. For me it isn’t the berms and jumps of a man made roller coaster but far more the natural trails, which almost always begin as footpaths. There are corners on this descent where the effect of wheels is clearly evident. Mini berms are being scored into the ground. Fallen trees have been hacked to make them rideable and stones have been piled up to help you climb over obstacles. Much of the surface is loamy woodland floor with rocks an roots protruding. Perfection. There are countless twists and turns but I was holding back just a little. I forgot to mention in my last post that I’d twanged my right thumb in a small accident. I’d picked up a twig in the rear spokes which had locked the wheel on a corner and I’d hit the deck in front of 2 other riders who asked if I was OK. I was, apart from the thumb so I kept that information private but today I could still feel the effects so backed off somewhat. I continued to the bottom of the woods. The second half is called “Better than going straight down” on Strava. The segment was set up by someone else and has been ridden by many more riders.

I continued back along the Goit to White Coppice then back over Healey Nab with it’s red graded trail and open downhill towards town. I was tired and didn’t think it had been the very best of rides but I got a lift when I downloaded my ride to Strava. I equalled my fastest ever time on the long downhill, where my time is already fastest ever, and set a new personal best on “Better than going straight down”. This elevated me to fourth fastest ever at 1 minute 2 seconds, only 3 seconds behind the current King of the Mountains. That definitely gives me something to aim for. My previous best was 1 minute 10 but that was set last year. A few shorter, faster options have been established since then so the trail is naturally faster. It again reminded me that my 2016 Boardman, though somewhat middle aged, is a faster bike on these action packed trails than any of my 3 classic bikes dating back as far as 1996. Strava was a friend to me today.

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