Big ride around the Peak District

Well, over a year has passed since I last posted. Don't worry, I have still been walking, although not as much in the hills as in the past. However I have been riding my mountain bike a lot. This has increased even more so over the last couple of months as a couple of mates and I train for our first Welsh Ride Thing attempt in June.

Well, yesterday, I broke the 20 mile ride for the first time this year. I followed the Hope Tour route from the Vertebrate Graphics White Peak book. 22 miles, and > 1000 metres to climb was the target, and my singlespeed Orange P7 the weapon.

Mam Tor ridge from Hope Cross - first climb done!

I was out of the house early so I could start riding around 9am, leaving the main car park at Hope, Derbyshire. The weather was beautiful, though slightly cold - this would be perfect for the drag up past Win Hill to Hope Cross. Riding at my own pace, it actually went quiet well and whilst I did get off and push for the steeper sections, my 20 tooth rear cog allowed me to ride most of the climb.

Over the top, and there's my favourite descent of the Peak District down to Rowlee Farm. Rocky descents where momentum is your friend is one area where the low ratio gear caused problems. I could not maintain the speed I'd have liked to, and thus my legs and arms got more of a pounding than if I could have pedalled through it. I had to stop a couple of times just to give my limbs a rest!!

Over the A57, and I actually managed to clean the climb out of Rowlee Farm and was delighted to get the top for the descent past Lockerbrook Farm to the reservoirs. I managed to ride past Fairholmes without stopped for a pastie and was soon climbing (well pushing) up the steep bridleway back up towards the crossroad above Hagg Farm. I met a great couple half way up that I actually rode with for most of the remaining miles. The drop to Hagg Farm is another classic, I really love my P7, and am so glad I recently sorted the seat post out...

Over the A57, and after another short downhill blast comes the pain. A long slog along the reservoirs, then up and over the flanks of Win Hill takes you to Thornhill and my riding nemesis - Aston. I hate Aston. Yes it's a pretty little hamlet and beautiful surroundings. But it's always the signal for a painful drag up Win Hill, and this was the 3rd time my bike was pointing towards the sky on Win Hill today. This last climb took me within 300 yards of Hope Cross, and after 18 miles or so, it wasn't a great warm down. At least at the top, you get the chance to point the bike back down the hill down the slightly rocky though disappointing straight downhill back into Hope.

As I rode back toward town, I stopped suddenly to help a Duke of Edinburgh student who had collapsed. She was been looked after by local walker but unsure whether they could get an accurate call through to the emergency services, I rode into Hope and reported the incident from 18 Bikes.

I finally managed to reaquiant myself with the car about 3pm. 5 and a half hours I'd spent in the saddle, and boy, does my back end know about it!! In fact, when home in evening, I started researching Sudocream and chamois creams - I'm not looking forward to the 3 day event in Wales anymore!!!!

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