Training for a big ride.

I’ve been tired since we returned from holiday but know that I need to get back to a higher level of activity if I’m to do my planned big ride. This will involve an almost exclusively off road ride, climbing around 5,000 feet of ascent. I thought that it would be good to ride a familiar route to the top of Great Hill, climbing over 1,000 feet in the ascent, then use the superb downhill through Brinscall Woods and back over Healey Nab.

The improvement in the weather which the forecasters had predicted has been hit and miss. Although we’ve had some sunshine, in cooler than expected conditions, we’ve also had some heavy rain. It always interests me that every news report mentions the very high temperatures in parts of Greece whilst almost all of Europe is experiencing colder than average temperatures. Conspiracy? That’s nothing compared to the carbon dioxide nonsense. I worked in a field, admittedly before Global Warming was dreamt up, which leaves me unusually capable of intelligent comment. Now is not that time, though. I had a ride to do, which would generate carbon dioxide from my breath. Bugger, maybe it’s all my fault?

The trails were damp in places and this always means the ride will be slower. The app. Strava didn’t record any particularly fast segments of the ride but the thrills of mountain biking can be enjoyed on any ride. I reached the top of Great Hill in weak sunshine and turned for the long downhill section. Admittedly I didn’t put a massive effort in but worked fairly hard all the way down. The often very rocky section, which has popped my tyre on a few occasions, seems to have smoothed out this summer. The sharp rocks must have laid on their sides to give an easier passage but I was still cautious. A puncture is a serious annoyance yet I’m still not convinced by the need for tubeless tyres. 3 punctures each year is probably a smaller investment of time than the fitting and maintenance of a tubeless setup.

I was lucky today that I didn’t need to slow for walkers. A few small groups were very obliging, which would have been a blessing if I’d been trying to beat my best time which currently stands at 13 minutes and 20 seconds. The slightly damp conditions had a massive effect on my time. It took me 16 minutes and 50 seconds and even if I’d really gone for it I imagine I would only have reduced this by one minute. The best part of the ride, which is down through the woodland, was slippery so not on it’s best form. It was like an early introduction to autumn. I’m not sure I’m ready for that! I have to remind myself that I’m still privileged to ride such a trail. I’ve ridden a good few popular trail centres but their manicured predictability has never beaten my favourite natural trails.

The Boardman at the top of Healey Nab before my final downhill.

It was a good ride and I picked up the pace back over Healey Nab to give it more training value. To be honest I do think I’ve lost a little fitness during my holiday so will continue to ride bigger rides and time segments or whole rides to get more value out of them.

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