I rode my mountain bike on Friday and it was a fabulous ride. On Wednesday I’d felt really tired on what should have been an easy enough ride and I still don’t know why that was. On Friday things went well with me back to my expected energy level. I wanted to include a downhill segment in my ride so rode to the top, 5.5 miles away from home. The mixture of road early on then off road took me over 40 minutes. I chose to ride the segment twice and it drops by around 200 feet in a little over a minute of action packed riding.
What I particularly love about this section, which is called “Graveyard” on the app. Strava for no apparent reason, is that it feels completely natural like an adopted footpath. This can’t be the case because no times on Strava are from more than 12 months ago so the route must not have existed in a rideable form before that. It starts, as in the picture at the top, on a very gentle descent where you can pick up speed for the first feature which is hopping over a broken down stone wall. An immediate right hand turn means that you need to control your speed a little, then the real action begins. Most of the descent is a dirt single track scribed into the surface. There are some trees to steer around and one very steep drop where you need to push your weight well back to avoid going over the handlebars. It’s not really about finding the limit of grip on the corners but more about tenaciously sticking to the narrow ribbon of twisting trail.
I was riding my newest bike, the Boardman FS Pro which is 6 years old. At the end of each descent I noticed, for the first time ever on this bike, that the brakes felt rather inadequate. The SRAM Guide brakes are well regarded and it could be that the brake fluid is too old but they felt mushy and weak after the 200 feet of descent which inevitably needs a lot of braking.
I rode along the sides of a chain of reservoirs to the back of Healey Nab for a final downhill. It’s good cross country riding on an interesting mixture of terrain. Erosion has turned one part into a technical challenge of 2 foot high steps both up and down whilst other parts are easy going. The final significant climb up the back of the hill had me feeling the effort in a big way in my thighs so I knew it had been a good workout. I covered 15.48 miles with a healthy 1,743 feet of ascent and had a great time doing it. I tend to rest very little when I ride because all my old riding companions have decided that they’re just too old to ride! The only times I stopped were to answer a ‘phone call from my son before my first attempt at the graveyard and along the reservoirs when 2 E bike riders from outside the area asked me where would be good to ride. Non of the rather unofficial local trail are waymarked so it’s not too easy to give directions to someone unfamiliar with the area, so I just did my best.