On my last 2 rides I practiced riding techniques on jumps and corners and today visited a different trail environment to put that practice to use. The last rides were on the purpose built and beamed (banked) trails on Heakey Nab. Purpose built trails usually consist of berms to prevent riders from sliding their wheels, which will soon wear a heavily used surface. Today I rode to Brinscall Woods for its natural trail to see if the same ideas on how to go quickly still applied.
I reached the woods feeling very tired. My legs seemed to lack power and I was struggling. I may have set off too quickly in my eagerness to reach the trails but I don’t think this would be nearly enough to explain my lack of energy. I used my pedal powered boat 2 days ago and it tends to be less aerobic and more muscular than cycling so maybe my muscles were still on recovery? Whatever the explanation it was hard work to reach the top of the woods.
I set off down and tried to drop my body weight close to the bike on approach to each corner. I could then push away mainly with my legs to drive the wheels into the ground to provide maximum grip. On a varied trail with loam, roots and rocks things were far less predictable than on a manicured trail centre type of surface. On many corners I knew that grip was at a premium and some sliding virtually certain. On this type of corner I was often using the motocross method of resting on the saddle, sticking my inside leg out. When the wheels slid I could avoid falling into the corners by tapping my foot on the ground. This way a difficult to handle front wheel slide would be changed to a rear wheel slide and controlled.
I turned into one tight lefthander and slid to the ground which may be one less crash to endure this year. I had a good time on the edge of grip and realised that whilst pushing the wheels into the ground for grip works on many corners it doesn’t apply to every situation. On looser corners it’s often better to stick a foot out to control the slides.
I returned via Healey Nab after 2 rides down the woods and found the trails so dry that dust was now adding another element of slipperiness. I continued to tire during the rest of the ride but hope to be back on form for Friday.