Yesterdays Matlock biking epic

Decided on a bike ride in the Peak District for Saturday. A quick scan through my White Peaks book led to a planned Cromford Circuit ride - about 21k. As I was on my own for the day, and in such a beautiful place, I decidied to get up their early and have a play with the camera over at Black Rocks which was good.I finished with the camera about 9 so changed, padded up and started riding about 9:30. This is where my first navigational blunder occurred. I cycled about 2 miles the wrong way down the High Peak Trail. Doh! Having realised my mistake, I climbed onto the A6 and backtracked to Cromford to start the second loop of the figure of eight route. This was fairly uneventful, lots of climbing and descending easy, but pretty trails and a few cow pat scattered fields.

On completing this loop, I continues to start again, from Black Rocks. Having joined up on the High Peak Trail again, things got a little tougher. My first climb that I couldn't complete on the singlespeed was embarrasing - especially when some older people overtooks me as I pushed - they did have gears though!!

Then, just having overtaken some walkers, I realised that I had overshot the bridleway exit from this trail. So, I had to backtrack again, past the walkers. Doh again! By this time, with my errors, time was getting on, so I needed to pick up the pace. It's a vicious circle however, the less I look at the route guide / map, the more I missed turns etc. I was reminded of a couple of the negatives to natural trail riding - navigation and farm gates spoil 'the flow' of the ride no end - especially during fast descents.

There was one more lesson to learn however - keep your mouth closed when descending fast tarmac after riding through cow pats. I forgot at one point, and was reminded when a sugar cube piece of turd flew off my front tyre straight into my gob. I was travelling too fast and concentrating too hard to spit. Mind, I did need the calories. To add injury to insult, the final descent into Matlock included a 'cheeky trail' comprising of singletrack through a nettle field. My ankles are still itchy now...

All in all, it was a good day. My legs and arms ache, still not fit enough for singlespeeding in the Peaks really. And the photography was  more successful than the navigation. But I did have some big (yes, the open mouth again) grins on the descents! I wonder what next weekend will deliver.

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