Messing about on bikes.

Today is hot by the standards of northern England at 26 celcius. Whilst for many around the world this may seem refreshingly cool, to us it’s rather hot to be riding a mountain bike. My plan was to ride Brinscall Woods to be out of the direct sunshine and to ride with no particular plan. I’d just mess about for a while.

It took me 45 minutes to ride to White Coppice, along the Goit, which is a straightened river, then climb to the top of the woods. For the first descent I used my favourite trail, dropping 270 back down to the Goit from where I climbed by a slightly different route back to the top. The trail surface is typical woodland with loam, often loose for slithering round the corners, and plenty of stones and rocks of various sizes with tree roots protruding above the soil.

Ready to downhill over a rideable fallen tree, which is still alive.
Vegetation obscures the narrow trail in places but I’ve ridden here so many times I know it through muscle memory.

Next I rode a short circuit which I discovered about 18 months ago. It has a flowing downhill start and not too much loss of height. I got confused on the first lap and took a wrong turn so did a second lap in 1 minute 40 seconds, which left me at the top for a third descent. It’s good to work hard on some segments of a relaxed ride to give it more training value. I’ve often mentioned the concept of a Fartlek (speed play) ride and I suppose that is what I did today. I climbed back to the top and rode along the undulating trail to the high point at the south east corner to try a different downhill which I’ve known for years. I haven’t ridden this way very often recently because it’s not as good a descent as the route I took for my first drop but it’s good to add some variety to my riding. I explored some of the different trail options so rode back up a few times and it’s steep, taking me to the limit of my strength, which again is good training.

Riding back towards Healey Nab for a final drop down the man made trails I came across 2 riders on Ebikes. They were full suspension bikes so were probably worth around £5,000 each. I kept pace with them on the undulating trail before we arrived at a gate with a kissing gate option for walkers. At this point I had a distinct advantage, shouldering my bike and using the kissing gate whilst they helped each other to haul the heavy bikes over the gate. We chatted briefly and I left them to struggle. I know that Ebikes allow less fit riders to access the best sport in existence but I’m glad I still have enough fitness to have left them in my wake. The descent of Healey Nab has become slippery through dust now we’ve had a drier period and is running quickly. I’m sure that here my lighter, non assisted bike, would again be faster. Working hard on short sections of the ride left me feeling the effect of the work by the time I got back home.

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