On my last ride I felt extremely tired. I’d found a problem with a loose bottom bracket which was rubbing and making it hard to turn the pedals but didn’t know if this was the whole story. Perhaps my fitness had also fallen? Yesterday I chose to ride to our local hill, Healey Nab, to do 5 circuits of the purpose built hill top trails. I used the steep ascent up the front of the hill and thought it felt quite tough on the first climb to the top. I used the excellent red graded downhill and for my second lap took the shorter, steeper way up. I must have loosened up by this point because I can’t even remember who the steepest section felt.
As the slightly different laps progressed I was feeling good but was I just more comfortable because I was taking it easier? By looking at my performance on the app. Strava I can see that I maintained my pace throughout. On descent 4 I wondered if I should try a very fast attempt at the segment. Obviously the faster I go the more danger I put myself in. Years ago I never really considered danger and would always give it 100% trying for targets of no real consequence. Now, though, I do think about the risks of mountain biking and try to keep it safe. I can attribute my change to 2015/16 when I had 2 bone crunching accidents. I decided to go for it despite the increase in risk and descended the section in 2 minutes and 4 seconds. This was a second slower than my try 2 weeks ago and shows that I’m right on my limit. It would be nice to beat the 2 minute barrier and I even have a strategy to achieve this. There’s a short ascent part way down and I think this is the place where I can make the most difference. Firstly I’d like to try it on my 19 year old Whyte JW4, which is considerably lighter than the Boardman FS Pro which I rode on this occasion. Secondly I need to give it absolute maximum effort on the pedals and keep the power going in for the entire descent.
I had a great 5 laps and didn’t feel spent at the end. This is encouraging since I have some motivating targets to attempt during my mountain biking year.