I've been back home riding in the Peak District, where I originally started road riding when I was at University in Sheffield, I've not been riding up here for over 3 months now!
Saturday was a 60 mile loop with Jack, including some classic climbs and the famous Snake Pass, the road between Sheffield and Manchester. A 9.4 mile climb averaging 2.4% which may not sound much, but the last 2 miles average around 6-7%.
I had set out with my goal being to hit this hard, but I knew given the headwind all the way up, today was not going to be my day. I felt good throughout the climb and put in a solid effort and time for the conditions. Pleased with how I felt! Well it was certainly windy on the top! A very quick smash down into Glossop and we then headed over towards Hayfield and Chapel-en-le-Frith. I've not ridden this route since 2012, and I'll be honest I had forgotten what the hills were like between Glossop and Chapel. Couple of cat 4 and 3s! With the wind up Snake I knew if I put in a big effort upto Mam Tor from Chapel, I could potentially bag a few top 10s. I felt very strong, concentrated on my breathing and pedaling technique and set a good pace and rhythm. The final sprint up Mam Nick nearly did me though....
We then descended down Winnats Pass, which given the amount of traffic out that day wasn't that fun, through Castleton and pushed onto Hathersage, next stop, the Outdoor cafe (they do pints of coffee) Jack and I stayed in there for a good hour... then decided to do one final climb upto Fox House. A 1.5 mile climb at 5.4% average. Wind may have been in our favour, but the cafe stop probably wasn't. Final decent into Grindleford and it was back to the car.
Overall just shy of 60 miles, but a lot of climbing at nearly 5,900ft
Saturday evening was then spent plotting Sunday's ride. A 70 mile loop from Nottingham into the Peaks, again taking in some good climbs.
Sunday was different, no sun and even more wind! I gritted my teeth and set off, immediately feeling the effects of Saturday's ride in my legs, never mind, must push on. The first 20 miles were flat through various small North Nottinghamshire towns and was all very boring. First climb through was upto Crich, a long climb of varying gradients, and this wasn't enjoyable. Never the less I then headed down into Ambergate to climb back upto Crich from the other side. A 2 mile climb at 5.4%. From the top I then descended into Lea and over towards the famous Riber climb, a local and national legend. A short 0.3 miles averaging 15.2% with sections at 25% plus... I actually arrived from the wrong road, so had to ride down it just to ride up, nice! It was then down into the Spa town of Matlock and out the other side. My target. Two Dales. I'd never actually ridden this climb before, always opting for Beeley, but the lure of another 20% was too much so I hit it. It was a mistake, the road was so slippy and couldn't stand up, so had to sit and painfully pedal away on my 39:25 setup... I reached the top of the moors, needing food, some midget gems and a tunnocks bar had to do... I've mentioned the wind before, but this wasn't fun, a headwind for 30 miles near as dam it all the way home now! The route from Kirkby was the same as the outward journey so I knew what was coming, and that was a few mean little climbs and some small towns. Good to get home, feet up and eat everything (thanks mum) really should have used the time and washed my bike but that can wait till next weekend... Today's efforts weren't as good as Saturday, but still a good ride. 70 miles and 6,700 ft of climbing...
I'll be back in the Peaks soon and hitting some of classic climbs and even Snake again, depending on the wind!