I returned to cycling after 6 days, today. We spent a few days away in north Wales during last week and my Covid 19 booster hit me hard on Saturday. I felt very tired and somewhat feverish so couldn’t ride at the weekend. I firmly believe that vaccinations and boosters are a good thing. If a denatured version of the virus can make me feel a little rough for 36 hours then how would the real thing affect me? I’d rather not find out. My best hope is that a reaction to the vaccine might indicate that it’s doing it’s job to motivate my my bodies defences, though this is not a theory I’ve read about, it’s pure conjecture. I woke up feeling fine so after walking the dog I was ready for a mountain bike ride. Unfortunately the weather forecast was for a band of increasingly heavy rain to sweep across Lancashire yet things didn’t appear that bad. There was dampness in the air but nothing falling so I chose to ride an easy ride in deference to the vaccination.
The world’s first weather forecast apparently got it correct but since that distant time it seems as if forecasts get it approximately half right about half of the time and that was the case today. A few spots of drizzle but nothing more dramatic. That didn’t change the fact that the ground would be very wet after many damp days and at first I thought that I could ride to Healey Nab to check the condition of the purpose built trails. If things looked dismal I could always continue by road, climbing some steep hills. Maybe I shouldn’t work so hard after the booster, I mused, so chose instead to do something even more local and ride some of the small, tightly packed trails at Birkacre. Turning off the tarmac I was soon faced with a tricky section which is muddy with some embedded bricks. With determination I just about made it up then climbed steeply up a woodland track. The good thing about going up is that you can then go down and after riding through housing I was on an excellent trail which is quite weatherproof and didn’t disappoint. Towards the bottom is a particularly slippery drop where my tyres skated above anything grippy. A more knobbly tyre would help here though may also hinder my speed on less muddy terrain.
I only rode twice around each of 2 loops but had a good time with the unpredictable surfaces. I had one especially nice tail slide which again showed that having a more lightly treaded rear tyre than front is not the best for ultimate grip or speed. On my return home I was faced with a long gravel climb which takes over 5 minutes so I put some work in to improve the training value of the ride. I’ve no idea how well I did because I’d left my phone charger unplugged and with very little charge left I’d run out of power. Just imagine if I’d done that with a heavy E bike. It would have been a hard slog to get home. As it was I’d had an entertaining time. I vote for getting out for a ride in winter if at all possible. It’s far better than waiting until spring.