Biting off more than I can chew – Marple Mid Peak Grimpeur 2012

So the plan looked good. Get the first train from Nottingham to Cromford. Then cycle the 50km from Cromford to Marple in 2-2.5 hours. Then complete the Mid Peak Grimpeur 100km. And ride back to Cromford to get the train home. Hopefully getting home for an early night with tea and AAA points galore……..

Well, that came nowhere near to happening. First problem was when I realised the ECE leg to Marple was actally 57km, not the worst thing but it added to the pressue a bit. Then as I started climbing Via Gellia I suddenly remember that the Peak District has hills, which made those extra 7km particularly worrying as I was on a deadline. Not doing too bad by the time I got to Buxton, but started to flag a bit up Long hill, though thoroughly enjoyed the drop into Whalley Bridge. Got to the Costa near the start about 15 minutes early and got to finally eat some breakfast.

Rolled out mid bunch through Marple and onto Glossop along some nicely rolling roads. Snake Pass was a long drag up to the top with a wonderful descent to Lady Bower reservoirs only spoilt slightly by a set of temporary traffic lighs which I wasn’t quite fast enough to make it through. Good climb up along Bamford moor and up to the Stanage car park before a great free fall down to hathersage. The pool cafe was nice and speedy as well so I grabbed a cob and a coffee, and got back on the road. Though as I stood up I should have paid more attention to the cramp attack I got, first time in a long time I’ve had that on  a long ride…….

Things started to go a bit wrong on the long climb up to the gliding club. Suddenly I’d lost power and was finding it hard to event turn over my lowest gear (ok, not that low at 36″, but still). Ended up having to stop and have a couple of minutes slupd over the handlebars before pushing on. Got to the pub for the info, and could tell my brain was starting to go as I began panicing about finding my brevet card in the Barley, never once thinking to check the usual spot in a jersey pocket.

Pushed on, but as soon as the route turned onto Horse Lane from the A6 I could just feel the legs weren’t happy. Had a 10 minute break sat on a wall in some shade watching other riders pass by, and then had another go. 100m further on and I could tell it wasn’t working properly. Knowing that I could head straight down a flattish A6 to Cromford and be at the station in 40 minutes pretty much sealed the deal, especially as I realised that as much as I’d enjoyed the descent of Long Hill on the way to Marple, I was going to have to climb it on the way back, So, I turned tail and headed for the train.

Looking back I think my main problem was the heat. This year I”ve not had much experience of riding in hot weather, and looking back I think this was much like how I was feeling on a 200k to Luton from Nottingham in 2011. This year i’ve been running on 1 bidon of sports drink/ribena and 1 bidon of coke (heh, it works for me). Thinking that I need to switch to ‘thinner’ drinks when the temperature heads north, probably moving back to water and Nunns (which would have stopped the cramps). Further proof of this was the funny looks I got as I spasmed in my seat with cramps as the train rolled through Derby.

I also need to make sure I bite off bite smaller chunks. The 3 sections of my rider were all rideable by me individually, but because I’d put too much effort into stage 1 I couldn’t move onto stage 2+3. It also shows that just because I’ve done a 300km with 5 AAA points (Yr Elenydd 2012) it doesn’t translate to doing a 100km grimpeur +100km ECE as there isn’t the time spread to allow relaxing on the first leg.

Also I’d put myself under some extra time pressure by needing to be back home by a certain time. I might have pulled it back if I’d have had an hour sit down inside somewhere.

Oh well, it’s put the RRTY under a bit of pressure as my only other ride option this month is the Staffs Peak Grimpeur in 3 weeks time, so that’d need turning into a 200, and it’s the hilliest of all the hilly Marple Grimpeurs. Will need to have a ponder, though I could be the only entrant hoping for cooler weather for it :)

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