Stormy weather.

We’ve had a lot of rain since my last ride and today was predicted to be very wet. A weather warning for strong wind and rain had been issued but this morning, despite a good breeze, things didn’t look too bad. I decided to risk a ride before the predicted deluge rather than wait into the afternoon when the rain band was expected to have passed over us. I didn’t expect to be out for too long and didn’t want to get too far from home under the circumstances so I again chose to ride our nearest hill, Healey Nab.

The temperature has risen considerably to 13 celcius which, even in the wind, felt perfectly comfortable. I decided to take a slightly long approach to the hill to make my outing more of a trail ride than a few quick laps of the hill would have constituted. Wind dries the surface well but after Hogg’s Lane, an unsurfaced road, I cut across an open pasture and regretted it because I left a distinct tyre track. I much prefer to leave no trace on the ground to avoid criticism of myself or indeed the whole sport of mountain biking by other countryside users. After some tarmac to the southern flank of the hill I ascended a gravel road to it’s high point. It’s then a rougher trail to the top of the hill where I stopped to take some pictures. I’d expected to see stormy weather encroaching from the north west but the picture below betrays no such thing.

The sky to the north west was quite bright, if cloudy.
To the south the rocky trail had plenty of puddles but relatively little mud.

Trail conditions were damper than last time on my first descent of the red graded trail. I had a few small skips and slides of the wheels and really noticed how, by applying downward pressure to the handlebars, I made the front wheel grip after a little slide. Having the correct stance in the first place matters and you just need to trust that by pushing down you will not push the wheel further into a slide but will instead gain more grip.

By the time I returned to the trail head it had started to drizzle which I assumed was the onset of something worse so I decided to ride only one more downhill before returning home. I wanted to enjoy the slippery conditions so used an unofficial descent where the corners are more flat than the berms or bankings of the red route. This allowed me to slither around on the edge of control, which is my favourite type of riding. I returned home but the drizzle stopped and we’ve had no more rain since so I now feel robbed of my third downhill by an inaccurate weather forecast. I really do think they only get it right about half the time. Perhaps my title should have have been “Threat of stormy weather which didn’t materialise”! I’d covered 7.74 miles with 822 feet of ascent.

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