First ride since Christmas.

I haven’t ridden since before Christmas and my last exercise wasn’t even a mountain bike ride. 5 days ago I went for a run for the first time in over 5 years, if memory serves, and I could still feel the effects whilst walking the dog this morning. Even during the run I could feel some discomfort in the muscles at the back of my thighs and the sensation has persisted ever since. This time for my muscles to recover is not something I’m used to and demonstrates how differently the leg muscles are utilised in the disciplines of running and cycling. It might be worthwhile to offer some advice to cyclists who choose to go for a run. I must have lost the necessary condition in my thigh muscles but was still able to easily complete a 4 mile run but the experience has convinced me that it would have been far better for me to start modestly and build up gradually over several runs. Don’t just run a longer distance only to need days of recovery afterwards.

As soon as I set off on the bike today I felt no discomfort. I obviously wasn’t stressing the muscles in question and possibly helped them to recover my giving them a good shaking out whilst riding. I used a road only route to the north end of my local hill, Healey Nab, because the ground was bound to be rather muddy on the off road option. Fortunately the purpose built trails on the hill are well drained so provided good riding. The picture at the top of the page shows the misty trailhead. I saw only 2 other riders on the hill and completed 3 different laps. For my third and final descent I rode the red graded climb as a downhill. A runner, climbing the mountain bike trail, pointed out that I was going the wrong way and I said that I knew this. It was, however, the best of my 3 descents because I much prefer the flat corners rather than the bankings which are typical of man made trails. I know that a mountain bike route needs to be durable and this is the justification for the berms which steer bikes around. Sliding around a flat corner is bound to wear the surface a little more but fortunately few riders seem to appreciate this kind of riding so I don’t find that it’s on the corners that the wear mainly occurs. The worst wear on Healy Nab is on some braking areas before slower corners which develop bumps as well as loose gravel.

Despite the damp conditions I was able to practice some riding skill, keeping my upper body low and near horizontal to absorb a particularly challenging series of bumps. I allowed the bike to rise up as the wheels rolled over the bumps to then push it back down into the dips to keep the wheels in contact with the surface. I extended my arms and legs from a low starting point as I turned around the banked corners. Pushing the bike onto the surface increases grip, ultimately allowing you to corner quicker before a slide occurs.

After my final descent I rode home by a route which had me passing a convenient place along Black Brook. Here I dipped the bike into the stream to rinse off the bulk of the mud. The only problem might be a tiny amount of oil or grease may be washed into the water but I’m sure the majority of the lubrication had already been washed off on the wet trails. A wash and lubricate was still, of course, needed when I got home.

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