Last week I had a good week of activity with 2 mountain bike rides and a trip in my pedal powered boat. Today the weather was good after some early drizzle. The TV news has mentioned a hot start to July but that must only apply to the southern regions. We’ve had daily maxima in the North West of England of 16 to 18 celcius which is many degrees down on expectation. I thought that today would be a good opportunity to ride to the top of Great Hill but was prepared to change my plan when on route.
I set off and realised that I didn’t really want to ride for around an hour, climbing most of that time, before I had any real downhill action. I also found some dampness on the ground under trees which may have meant that the downhill route through Brinscall Woods might not have been at its best. Fortunately I have plenty of choices such as riding along the reservoirs towards Rivington or using the canal to access many other trails. I could have turned around to ride through Duxbury Woods or a good number of other options. I made the decision to ride up Healey Nab to use the purpose built mountain bike trails and was at the top of the hill in around 25 minutes. I chose a route to the top with lots of tough climbing. On the steepest part of all I felt a little off balance and failed to negotiate a short section, which disappointed me. Next time I must do it since I know I managed it a few years ago and mustn’t let age beat me!
I rode the top loop which is not technically difficult but involves a speedy descent and climb back to the top. At under 2 minutes my time was good. To maximise my performance turns the lap into a big effort. I haven’t tried that for quite some time. It would be hard to recover from going all out though I suppose that my fitness may benefit from hard work then recovery. Maybe this would be a good plan for a ride? I completed 2 different laps of the hill using alternative climbs and descents. The exposed trails were on top form.
I met another rider on my third climb who had ridden from Wigan, about 8 miles away. He’d never ridden the hill before so I gave him some advice on the red and black graded trails. For my final descent I didn’t want to use any of those choices. Instead I rode an “off piste” option by riding the red route climb in the wrong direction. It feels like a natural rather than man made trail and is possibly my favourite way down. I slid around corners and battled the ground which feels so different to the more manicured purpose built choices.
It was a good ride with plenty of steep climbing which left me feeling it in my legs afterwards.