With the weekends weather looking promising and having wangled a pass out for the day I put in a late entry for this on thursday thanks to the wonders of the AUK online entry system. All very nice and civilised, though missing a little something without all the SAEs :)
Decided to extend the ride by riding to and from Crich to give about 100 miles for the day, and a little extra climbing (as if that was going to be needed).
7am Sunday morning set off over to Crich using my normal route. Already glorious weather, in fact slightly too glorious and I was having worries about heat on the tops like I had during my DIY attempt at Easter. Took a while for the legs to kick in, but by about Greasley I was amblig along quite happily. Hadn’t ridden that route for a couple of months, so was pleased to make all the hills without stopping, something’s working then.
The tram museum was busy with cyclists, lots had been tempted out by the weather (later found out there’d been about 140 entries for it). Started off with a nice roll across the tops behind Matlock, with no serious hills until Owler Bar. Where suprisingly I hit a suddent bit of form and led a train up and over, no idea what happened there!. The drop down into Hathersage was good fun, in fact a little too much fun as the little group I got into overshot the turning for the cafe and had to come back up a bit to find it. Cafe was very busy, so just grabbed a couple of bits of cake and some water to top up my bottles and headed off.
From here on things started having a few more climbs. A nice steady climb up through Abney and then a pretty ride across the tops, a quick crossing of the A623 and rolled through Tideswell. I’d been joined by a Derby Mercury rider by this point, who pointed out that we could just take the main road through Tideswell and avoid a slighlty ‘greener’ route. Seemed like a sensible idea to me. The long drag out of Millers Dale seemed to take a long time, but having a wheel to follow gave me something to chase. Another couple of big climbs and we started to drop into the River Dove valley. The climbs took some effort, but on the descents I wasn’t feeling too confident. Think my brake pads may have glazed slightly, so some sand papering may be in order, and the canti’s aren’t always awe inspiring at speed. As we dropped in Hollinsclough for the next control I was amazed by the scenery. This isn’t a part of the Peak District I normally head for, but I reckon I’ll make the effort now either by bike or for some walking. The Hollinsclough control was being run by the local WI, which as always provided some mighty fine cake and tea at a very reasonable price.
Very glad of the cake during the climb out of the valley through crowdicote, the road signs proclaimed sections of 20%, though it all seemed a bit steep to me. Not helped by some pretty large potholes on one of the hairpins either. Just after the top I found this event’s headwind, there’s always one isn’t there? Passed a Nottingham Clarion rider about here, who was the last other rider I was going to see before the end. Here there was a longish stretch on the A515, which could be avoided by an official ‘diversion’ down the High Peak trail, but I didn’t fancy chancing it on 25’s (though speaking at the finish to the Clarion rider he’d managed it on 23s, so it probably wasn’t anything to worry about). Bit more rolling and climbing and then the fun/scary drop down through Bonsall and onto Via Gellia, where I got stuck behind a car and couldn’t let go properly, grrrr. Quick crossing of the A6, and then came the sting in the tail with the climb from Cromford back up to Crich. At this point it’s worth turning off the distance countdown on the GPS as it ticks down demoralisingly slowly.
The finish was at the Cliff Inn, where every finisher was given a much welcome free pint. As I’d another 30km to go to get home I settled for a pint of bitter shandy and a half hour sit down chatting with other finishers. Then just the slight matter of riding home.
It was only on the ride home that I realised I’d pedalled up every climb without a stop! Which is a pretty good improvement in a short time. So well happy with that. Not feeling too sore today either, apart from some sunburn. All in all a very good day out on the bike.