Great Hill for a great trail ride.

I had no aim on my ride today except to ride to the top of Great Hill at 1,250 feet to enjoy the fabulous downhill into Brinscall Woods. From there I’d climb the back of Healey Nab for a shorter descent towards home. I walked our dog, Fredddie, under cloud this morning but by the time I started on my ride we had gentle sunshine. A beautiful autumn day at around 16 celcius with virtually no wind.

I took my usual mainly off road route to the hamlet of White Coppice and again chose the easier side of the river because the technical side will surely be rather muddy by now. I also took the steep way up Brinscall Woods as I had on my last ride but this time continued to climb over 500 extra feet to the top of the hill, rather than just riding the woodland section of the downhill.

My camera may have been set wrongly but I like the ghostly image at the summit.

From here it’s all downhill for almost 15 minutes. Yes, there are some undulations and on a tricky hump I needed every resource to keep it going but it’s an exciting and ever changing mix of trails. Sometimes it’s rocky or loamy, rooty, gravelly or muddy. The amount of twists and turns, particularly in the woodland, is impressive. I now know every inch which was important today with fallen leaves obscuring the line. It was damper than I’d expected after so little recent rain but the cooler conditions are no longer drying the ground. The trail may not get it’s form back until the spring unless we have a dry frost or unseasonally dry weather at some time over the winter. It was still a worthwhile descent but not nearly as thrilling as it was in the summer.

The purpose built trail at Healey Nab, meanwhile, was on excellent form. The area is now open after tree felling and the well made trails have great drainage so I had a superb descent. I found from the app. Strava that my average speed on the ride was 8.1 mph. Usually I’d expect my average to be down around 7.5 mph on an almost exclusively off road ride and can only conclude that now I’m keeping the pedal speed up around 90 rpm I’m riding faster. This is an amazing discovery after 30 years of often pedalling too slowly.

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