Climbing is an excellent way to build fitness for mountain biking. Today I decided to ride to the hills around Rivington to get some ascent done. It’s a 4 mile road ride first, leading to a continuous 750 feet climb to Rivington Pike. The gradient varies and in places needed my lowest gear ratio and a big effort. Early on whilst negotiating a gate my legs felt a little wibbly wobbly! I persisted but kept a sensible pace. The wet ground provided lots of resistance and it was a tough climb to the top where I stopped to take some photos. I need plenty of this type of climbing to improve my fitness this year so I’m sure I’ll be back here soon.
An inscription has been carved into the fence behind the bike informing me that I was 363 meters above sea level. That’s 1,190 feet with most of this height climbed non stop. I had options for the descent and chose to return the way that I’d climbed. The alternative was a steep descent with some sizeable rocky drop offs. There was a time when I wouldn’t have hesitated but must admit that I now take safety much more seriously. I haven’t ridden this descent for some time and doubt I’ll ever see a reason to do it again.
At least I still had an entertaining downhill and it led me to the Graveyard. This is a semi secret segment which was only built 2 years ago. I discovered it from the bottom end whilst walking the dog and found it great in dry conditions. Last time I rode it I found it to be a little too wet but had seen on the app. Strava that it has been ridden over the last few days at some speed. It is now badly rutted, especially near the start so I took my time to avoid certain disaster. I’m sure this won’t be a problem in dry condition but that may be many weeks hence.
I took a small climb from the bottom to add a second quality downhill, descending the terraced gardens which were built as a philanthropic act around 1900. I don’t imagine they ever realised that they were creating great mountain bike trails back then but they did a good job. I accept that I need to get some more practice on these tight, twisty corners. The trick is to enter the corner then grab the rear brake to slide the back end round before heading for the next turn. I completed the ride by road and had covered 11.8 miles with 1,321 feet of ascent.