I don’t usually have any problem with motivation when it comes to mountain bike riding, I love it and often wish I could get out more. Today, however, I simply couldn’t get excited about a ride. The weather was dull and gloomy with wet ground after overnight rain. The inevitably wet trails just weren’t calling me so I thought about alternatives. I could ride up the canal bank with the possibility of turning off to a variety of destinations. I could ride a road route, either flat or hilly. I could do a trail ride, perhaps choosing a potentially drier option. Nothing appealed so I set off up the canal bank to see if any ideas came to me. After a mile or so the flat, fairly straight, hardpacked surface was providing no excitement so I turned off as I headed north to climb up Healey Nab with it’s man made trails.

I’d already walked our dog, Freddie, in the morning. I’ve never known him to lack motivation to go out.

I reached the wooded area which surrounds the summit and saw a very steep climb which meets the usual ascent part way up. The good things about trying such a climb are that it’s useful training to us all your muscle strength on a tough gradient. There’s also a small sense of victory if you conquer the hill without having to stop and push, which I managed this time. I then used an unusual continuation to the top of the hill and wondered if this unofficial ascent would be exciting as a down hill. It was OK but lacked corners compared to the alternatives so I returned to the top. I then descended via the long version of the red graded trail and found a substantial branch laying on the path. I got round it but thought it would be nice of me to remove it.

It could have caused a problem if it had fallen further across the track.
Healey Nab isn’t a trail centre, it’s too small to deserve such a title. It does, however, have berms or bankings on just about every corner, which is typical trail centre stuff.
Looking back at the exit of the same corner.

Berms are probably necessary on trails which are going to get a lot of traffic. A flat corner would always be encouraging me to find the limit of grip, which inevitably wears the surface. With a berm guiding you round you rarely find that limit and a lot of riders seem to prefer it that way. I often seek out natural trails with no built up bankings because I enjoy the sliding, slithering nature of them.

After a third descent I didn’t feel like climbing again so rode home. So what was the cause of my demotivation? It can’t have been anything else going on in my life that was depressing me because one thing I can guarantee when I’m on the trails is that I won’t be thinking about anything else. I get totally absorbed in the ride which is a good way to relieve any life pressures. All I can think of as a reason is the gloomy weather. The countryside and gardens are at their drabbest point in the year and the skies are dull. I’m now getting a bit desperate for spring to arrive. I haven’t used my boat since October, even though I’m still giving boating and boat building a lot of thought. All is not gloom, though. I’m now basking in the warm glow which hard exercise gives and with brighter weather this afternoon the future is looking far more appealing.

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