Back to the hills.

I took it easy on my last mountain bike ride because I had some discomfort and swelling in a tendon at the top of my calf. It seems to have recovered so today I wanted to return to “real” mountain biking rather than riding along the canal bank. We’ve had plenty of rain so I thought that 3 laps of the purpose built trails on Healey Nab was my best bet. The trails are well drained and so are almost always rideable and I only need to ride for less than 10 minutes before ascending the hill. Today I used a longer route to avoid sticky mud but was surprised to discover that the trail was rather dry. It must have been the strong winds over the last few days drying the ground.

I reached the summit to ride 3 laps, first riding a loop on top of the hill and stopping at a cairn to take photographs. The picture at the top of the page shows the view to the south west and beyond the local hills I could clearly see the hills of North Wales. A famous MTB trail at LLandegla lies somewhere in those hills. Maybe I should plan a trip in the summer? I hadn’t expected to be able to see such a long distance as 45 miles with a bit of damp in the air. Below is a more familiar view towards Rivington Pike to the south east, which I rode last weekend.

With fairly dry trails the riding was good and I used the same route for my first 2 laps. One section is particularly difficult due to the bumps and dips. It’s all too easy to take off over one bumps to slam into the next and on my first lap I think I hadn’t prepared myself correctly. On the second lap I made sure that my arms and legs were well flexed with my upper body almost horizontal. This way I could absorb the bumps and push the bike into the dips to keep the wheels in contact with the ground.

On my second climb I passed 2 riders who were talking and then set off behind me. They took a short cut which I’d have thought was too slippery at this time of year but they managed to keep it going and overtook me. They were much younger than me and maintained a good pace. On a particularly slippery slope one rider spun the wheel and ground to a halt. The other then slid on an exposed tree root allowing me to get past them both. You see it’s not all about being young and fit. Luck and having ridden the climb a thousand times helps as well.

For my final descent I chose to ride an old school run which isn’t one of the purpose built trails. It’s recently been resurfaced with gravel and I was inspired to ride it after watching a video on a blog which I follow. (https://brakeswideopen.com/2022/02/11/cannonball-mtb-festival-2022-day-3-huge-speeds-at-the-fox-flow-motion-cup/) The sight of a bike sliding the tail out was something I wanted to imitate but I was surprised by how much grip I got on the loose gravel. I was trying to do my turning on the firmer, grippier looking parts of the turns and had a good time doing it. I returned home after a good ride. I think I picked a good option to suit the conditions.

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