A lovely day for a trail ride.

Today was a great autumn day where temperatures must have climbed to around 20 celcius. I walked the dog and noticed that in the open the ground was quite dry. We’ve had only light rain this week and despite some muddy puddles under the cover of trees things looked favourable for a mountain bike ride.

I haven’t been idle this week and have sailed my pedal powered boat twice to test the latest modifications but things haven’t gone well. I’ve now made a significant change to the boat so hopefully next time out it will go as I want it to. I thought for a while about a trail ride but couldn’t fathom one where I’d spend a significant proportion of the time in the open to get the driest trails so eventually settled on Brinscall Woods. This ride includes my favourite downhill segment but I didn’t know how good it would be in today’s conditions but still expected it to give me a good workout.

I used a mainly off road route, choosing the easy side of the river to the bottom of the woods. I was consciously keeping the cadence, or rate at which the pedals turn, up around the 90 rpm mark because I’ve discovered that my muscles fatigue significantly less than at a lower cadence of, say, 60 rpm. Yes, I know I keep droning on about this point but it’s been a revelation to me that I’ve had it wrong for so long. I used a steep way to the top of the woods where at times I had to grind the pedals round because a low enough gear just doesn’t exist and arrived at the high point at about 40 minutes from home.

This is typical of the trail conditions I met today. Firm but with some muddy patches.

So onto the highlight, a long downhill. It was quite slithery but only occasionally was I struggling through the gloop. I was somewhat cautious but enjoyed the drop nevertheless, feeling the wheels slide around on some of the many turns. It’s so action packed and I hope we get some more dry days because it wouldn’t take much more rain to render the segment too wet to enjoy. I rode back over Healey Nab for the excellent downhill but kept it sensible on the fast, open section where you could easily get in trouble at high speed.

It must be my higher cadence that left the app. Strava telling me that I was “Trending Faster” on this ride. In fact today’s 8.1 mph average was my fastest of 12 similar rides yet at the end I still had plenty left in my legs. I’d advise everyone to measure their cadence and make sure it’s in the right area at 90 rpm. It’s easy enough to do by counting revolutions for a time measured by stopwatch, then doing a bit of arithmetic.

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