Back on the bike at last.

Normally my mountain biking life is very steady. I rarely leave home for more than a week at a time and sometimes when I have, I’ve taken a bike with me. This month, though, I had a trip to the island of Jersey by scooter, with friends. This kept me off the bike for 6 days but when I returned I developed a bad cold. I even tested for Covid but found that I was negative. I think it may have been the strain of the Jersey trip that made me suffer so badly with a cold. A lot of responsibility for a trip for 15 was on my shoulders. I organised the trip because, lets face it, if I hadn’t it may either never have happened or been really rubbish! I’ve organised 5 such trips previously and all went fairly well so I was entrusted with the job this time. Today, though, I felt a lot better so got back on the bike.

I know that I’m still not 100% back to normal so chose to ride something fairly easy to get me back into the swing of things. I rode to our nearest hill, Healey Nab for a short 2 laps of the hill top circuit. My energy levels seemed less than normal as I climbed around 400 feet or so towards and up the hill. I had the advantage of climbing on a lightweight bike, my 19 year old Whyte JW4 and found later that I climbed a road hill unusually quickly, even if only by a handful of seconds. On the trails I tried not to push myself too hard but rode my first lap surprisingly fast due to bone dry conditions. It was quite dusty on the downhill and the tyres scrambled for grip, which made a change from sliding on mud. A dusty surface is considerably less forgiving than a wet one. Slides happen at lightening speed and are far harder to react to and control. I had front wheel slide on one tight, left hand corner which almost had me. The wheel slid then gripped again, turning me tighter than I’d expected. There was nothing to run into on the inside of the turn and I was able to muscle the bike back in the right direction.

I used an unofficial descent on the second occasion, riding the red graded climb in the wrong direction. With no one else on the hill I wasn’t creating any danger and I’m convinced that this is a better downhill than any of the designated ways. The corners are less predictable and need much more thinking about. Also, without man made bankings on the turns, they have a natural feel, which I usually prefer. I was tired, even after such a short ride, which I hope is just because I’m getting over a cold, not because I’ve lost fitness in 13 days of relative inactivity. I have another trip away at the end of the week so I’ll be off the bike again for 5 or 6 days. I’ll make sure I ride once more before then. We’re visiting our son, who now lives in Aberdeenshire, northern Scotland, which will be a treat. He has acquired, in the last year, a girlfriend who now owns 4 horses with the recent birth of a foal called Tommy. Between them they also have 3 dogs so we can only pray that our own little canine, Freddie, can accept his new family of doggie rivals.

Butter wouldn’t melt? I’m not too sure.

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