Last ride and review of 2021.

Today was bright, sunny and unseasonably warm at 13 celcius. A perfect opportunity on New Years Eve for a last ride of the year. After a considerable amount of rain since my last ride I chose Healey Nab for its well drained purpose built trails. But first, what has my mountain biking year been like?

Looking at the app. Strava I see that I’ve recorded 1,259 miles of almost exclusively off road riding. This is a handful of miles more than 2019 but 250 miles less than last year. I also climbed some 43,000 feet less during my 103 rides compared to 2020’s 124 outings. In 2020 I did put some more miles in to train for a long ride around the Mary Towneley Loop which I finally attempted in September (The Mary Towneley Loop, ridden and reviewed.) In addition I have a new athletic pursuit this year in the form of my pedal powered boat so I often substituted sailing the boat for mountain biking, so I actually went out more often for athletic purposes this year than last! The development of my boating will certainly continue in the New Year so watch this space if you have an aquatic interest. I have big plans. I’ve enjoyed my riding this year and even had some successes chasing the King of the Mountains title on Strava segments for a fastest time by any rider. One particular highlight was setting the best time on a segment in Brinscall Woods, which is a sensational downhill. My time was, however, beaten by a single second in September so recapturing the crown will certainly be a target for next year.

Despite the recent rain I had a good ride today completing 3 laps of the hill, using different routes each time. The picture above shows a view of the neighbouring hills whereas on my last ride I could only see the nearby trees through the mist. I practiced a technique today to maximise grip on the wet trail. On the approach to corners I bent my elbows and knees to bring my body low to the bike. Once turning the corners I then extended my arms and legs to push the wheels into the surface. With a little practice it begins to feel smooth and natural. This effective increase in weight on the tyres improves traction, making a slide less likely and ultimately allowing me to corner more quickly if desired. I hope our good weather continues for a few days at least and would like to wish all my readers a happy New Year.

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