This evening England play Italy in the delayed Euro 2020 football final and I hadn’t planned to do anything else today, apart from maybe a bit of gardening. By the middle of the day I needed something to occupy me so what could be better than a mountain bike ride? I thought I shouldn’t tire myself too much or I’ll be falling asleep during the football so a few laps of my local hill, Healey Nab, would suffice. After a mile on the road I have a 1.9 mile off road climb to the trail head which is close to the highest point at 676 feet. I climbed by the steepest, shortest way and found that recent rain, which conveniently enough has been at night, has left some mud and the odd puddle on the trails. I had a pre planned circuit in mind but didn’t feel very motivated as I set off to complete 3 laps.
I was quick enough down the first long downhill which has a few rises in it’s half mile length. It’s followed by a similar length climb where I would have liked to have used a short cut to work my muscles harder on the steeper gradients. Some earth moving equipment has been used on the hill leaving sticky mud so I used the official trail instead to return me to the top. 9 minutes and 56 seconds. Damn! I’d now have to make sure my next 2 laps also beat the 10 minute barrier so I hatched a plan for lap 2. Instead of trying to pedal any harder I just made sure that wherever I could pedal I did so. This would keep the momentum up so I wouldn’t slow down and lose time. I may have added a bit more effort and I knew I was downhilling quickly as I reached the limit of grip on more than one corner. 9 minutes 29 seconds was a surprisingly good improvement.
I felt much more motivated for lap 3 and put a bigger effort in. I made sure I didn’t overdo it on the corners and finished in 9 minutes 10 seconds. I chatted to another rider at the trail head and we talked about other great local riding like Brinscall Woods, which he said he rode a lot, as do I. Clicking the stopwatch before my first full lap had made a massive difference to my motivation and, consequently, enjoyment of an everyday kind of ride. I cruised home like I was floating on a cloud. I hope I feel the same after England have faced Italy tonight!