Wet.

The weather forecast was right. It rained. I don’t usually like to set out on a mountain bike ride if it’s raining already and this morning it was more a case of damp in the air than actual precipitation. I’d intended to ride to Rivington, a popular local venue, and thought I might meet plenty of other riders there. I used one of the many road route options but as I arrived at Rivington village the rain started to come down. I’d noticed that the hill was shrouded in cloud on my approach and things were obviously not going to get any better as I climbed so I changed my plan. I’d now ride back along the reservoirs and over Healey Nab, which had been clear when I last saw it.

I put some work in on a gravel and stone climb which is fairly long but gentle and descended down to the water recording, according to the app. Strava, my second best time ever out of not many attempts for the climb plus descent. I don’t think that riding in these conditions is generally good for improving fitness and the slimy surfaces won’t develop your bike handling skills. On a short road section I could feel the spray from the rear wheel percolating through my clothes with an unpleasant chill. Along the reservoir the drizzle continued but you know what? It ceased to be an annoyance. I was, after all, already damp with perspiration so it was little different to riding without rain. The trail was, however, sloppy with liquid mud and no fun at all. I climbed with some effort up a narrow gravel track. It was either slow down a lot and change down through the gears or maintain momentum with more work. I remembered back many years to a time when me and my mates would keep the pace up here towards the end of a group ride. Next came a decent which has some wooden steps near the bottom. I pushed my weight back and allowed the bike to cope easily, running onto exposed tree roots at the bottom. I could feel the wheels slither and wondered if I could keep it upright. The answer came suddenly. I fell to the right with lightening speed and my head and shoulder hit a stone construction.

The bike as it had fallen, with the saddle twisted out of line. The stone structure was undamaged with the impact of my head and shoulder.

I’d hit the rock on the base of my skull behind the ear and I had a buzzing in my head like a synthesised sound from a sci-fi movie. The buzz soon started to diminish and I noticed the discomfort from my shoulder. I think I’ve bruised the top of my shoulder blade. I took the photo as I waited a few minutes to recover my composure. I didn’t have a headache but the pain built up when I moved my shoulder, especially if I lifted my arm. I still had to complete the ride and when I set off again I didn’t feel too bad, just a bit beaten up.

The rest of the way along the reservoir was treacherous. I even allowed a runner to go ahead and only caught him at the end. Back over Healey Nab I was cautious, especially down the open area where speed builds easily. At home I felt stiff around the injury and in the muscle of my neck up to the back of my skull. Thank God for crash helmets, it must have taken some of the impact. I’m sure I’ll recover by Monday when we are predicted a return to summer.

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