With autumn undeniably with us I have to consider the likely trail conditions before every ride. I remembered back to around 25 years ago when I’d ride with my mates to Rivington and particularly the western flanks of Winter Hill. We’d ride the area at weekends right through the winter so surely it would be good today?
Of course back then our bikes were very different. We had started to acquire our first primitive suspension forks but no one had rear suspension. The advantage of springs is that slippery stones and the like are absorbed, giving the bike a better chance of going where you point it. I used mainly roads to reach the village of Rivington before a long climb to the top of Rivington Pike, a strangely rounded hump, at around 1,200 feet. The hill looks unnatural but it is not known whether it’s shape is due to stone being quarried around the top or even a deliberate adornment thousands of years ago. It may just be nature which left the peculiar shape.
I’d decided on the climb to use a downhill section which has had some work done by mountain bikers to improve it. It was slippery and I needed to be cautious but I enjoyed something which I can’t remember riding in some years. I linked into the classic terraced gardens, which were inspired by Japanese gardens. The corners are too sharp to ride smoothly round so you need to go in bravely and fast enough so that as you turn in you can grab the rear brake only, locking the wheel and sliding it round until you’re pointing at the exit. It’s a fun enterprise and I got it right, or at least good enough, to get me down the many turns.
I again used tarmac to get to my last objective of Healey Nab. The trail alongside the Anglezarke reservoir would have been too muddy by far and might not be worth riding until spring. I enjoyed the man made trails and although I haven’t ridden as often or as far as last year I’m getting the impression that my fitness must be good. A segment on the app. Strava is called “Over the Nab” and is around 2 miles in length, climbing 218 feet then dropping by 375. It took me 16 minutes 35 seconds placing me 33rd fastest out of 254 riders. I’d have been much quicker had I not circled round several times before the downhill. It was my fastest ever attempt. I had a good ride and am not too discouraged by the onset of winter. I just need to plan my routes carefully on damper trails.