If a picture paints a thousand words…….

If a picture paints a thousand words then imagine how many more words a video could paint. I’m not an avid watcher of Youtube videos but the other day I watched some mountain biking footage, specifically routes near Darwen Hill which is one of my longer rides from home. Here’s a link to the video with thanks to Mark Hackett. https://youtu.be/QqD84BleXFc The first 2 segments were in Roddlesworth Woods on the lower slopes of the hill and even after 30 years of exploring the area I couldn’t remember riding them. My mission today was to ride them with no other targets in mind.

I used a series of trails which I ride quite often, sticking to the off road choices as much as possible, which lead me to Brinscall for a steep road climb and fast, gravel downhill. I was then on the access road to the woods. I was to pass the bottom of the second descent so thought it would be good to check out the trails by riding up them both. The first was all rideable and looked like a good prospect. The second had a very steep bank to climb where I had to push. It was a little slippery under foot and I realised I’d have to be cautious on the way back down. I’d stopped to take some pictures.

A descending woodland trail which looked like it would ride well.
There were some rocks and plenty of roots under the wheels.
I rarely take a selfie but with the prospect of a downhill trail to come I had the right to wear a stupid grin.

I reached the top and turned to descend. The gradient was gentle at first but what surprised me was how quickly I reached the steep bank. On the video it seemed really long, scything through the trees with lots of twists and turns. I was soon down and heading for the second which had looked like the better trail as I’d climbed earlier. Again it was over far too soon and offered little real challenge. The video had lied! A picture may well paint a thousand words but perhaps this is not the case for a Youtube offering. I started to think that if these 2 descents were over so soon then what would some of my favoured downhills look like on video? The ones where you feel like it takes a good while to get down, like my 13 minute 30 second descent from Great Hill into Brinscall Woods.

I’d wondered on the way out if I’d fancy adding the Brinscall Woods descent onto this ride and resolved to do it. I climbed by an old route which I tried a few weeks ago, getting a little lost by not taking a turn. This time I got it right and ended conveniently at the top of the woods where I rode my favourite. It was vastly superior to the Roddlesworth downhills which weren’t even as good as another way that I knew already, higher up the area. I was feeling fatigued and found later from the app. Strava that I’d been keeping up a good pace, setting 6 times which were the second and third fastest I’ve managed on those segments. I’d covered 19.38 miles with 1,736 feet of ascent by the time I’d ridden back over Healey Nab. I used a new, longer version of the red graded downhill section which I’m really enjoying. Last time the bike felt a little out of it’s depth on one fast part so I tried to use my arms and legs to supplement the medium travel 130/140 mm suspension. It helped but I really could do with more travel on that short section.

I left the woodland and twisted around on the loamy surface but saw a walker ahead. I knew I owed him my best effort to slow down so hit the brakes to take some speed off. It looked safe enough so I tried to give him as much space as I could and caught the end of my left handlebar on a tree which pitched the bike sideways and had me rolling elegantly on the ground. He asked if I was OK and with only a scuff on my shoulder I said I was and continued home. I’d saved the ride with my extra ascent and downhill and was properly tired when I got home. I made sure I stretched my calves out on the last few hundred yards of road. A picture may paint a thousand words but that doesn’t mean they’ll all be true.

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