Riders: John Musgrove (Captain), Tina Musgrove, Pete Down, Jenny Down, Mark Badger, Martin Bagshaw (Back marker – usually)

The weather forecast wasn’t good for our club run around the hills of Bakewell but plans are plans and the ride was on. As it turned out the forecast was wrong, and Sunday dawned with clear blue skies and sunshine and although it was a little cold climbing up some hills would soon sort that out.

Driving into Bakewell (sorry Frank) we noticed a magenta clad rider in the distance and gave Mark Badger some verbal encouragement as he made his way to the carpark. Arriving first Martin B (me) and Tina were soon joined by Jenny who drove in (sorry Frank) and Mark, Pete and John who rode in, hardcore. With a few extra layers added and some encouraging words from ride leader John it was time to roll out of the car park.

The first 7 miles was a rollercoaster road through some fantastic scenery in the sunshine. passing through Calver it was tempting to call in at Insomnia for a coffee and a bun, but we had an appointment with a big hill. John wanted us to stop before the climbing started which was a good time to peel off the extra layers as if we weren’t warm enough by now we soon would be! So, the time had arrived and it was time to start the first real testing climb of the day, Sir William Hill, category 3 with average 9.7% gradient and a max 18%. John said “the first bit is a bit steep, it levels out after that”, yeah right, 1 mile later and 200 metres higher we regrouped and had a breather to get heart rates and blood pressure back to normal.

The reward for our efforts were fantastic views across the peaks and a white-knuckle descent into Eyam through some shady woods. We were warned about the 2018 tractor rally which would be heading our way, hopefully we wouldn’t meet the 200 plus tractors on Mam Nick as in previous years. We bobbed along some undulations then had a long sweeping descent into Bradwell which meant the café was virtually in sight and it wasn’t long before we were rolling into Hope in the hope of some coffee and buns.

Choosing to sit inside as despite the sunshine it was still a bit nippy we reviewed progress so far and planned tactics for the upcoming hills. Beans on toast, bacon & egg butties, carrot cake were all consumed while we discussed the TVC 2019 Mallorca trips. Soon enough though it was time to get back on the road and see if the beans would have the desired effect on the climbs.

Having decided that Winnats pass would have to wait till later in the year we turned right for the 6 miles journey from Hope to Barber Booth which despite appearing flat does have a gradual incline to slow things down a little but nothing like the climb up Mam Nick which we were constantly reminded about by looking left at the imposing Edale skyline.  Another one-mile cat 3 climb but this time with a maximum gradient of 22%! Whose idea was this ride!! Nothing for it, just focus on the road in front and take it one pedal turn at a time. Some riders pedal turning got them to the top a little faster than the rest, but they came back down to support the stragglers (me) to the top where we had a rest and a photo.

Mam Nick out of the way there was only a small matter of Monsel Head between us and the carpark, but we had plenty of time to contemplate that as we rolled through spectacular countryside on empty roads and in ever increasing temperature, this was turning into a lovely bike ride.  As we made our way past the Peak Forest Tina treated us to her life like farm yard impressions of sheep and cows but was silenced as we witnessed a very amorous bull playing leap frog with a cow in a field we were passing. Not sure how fast bulls can run but it was prudent not to make any heffer noises in the area as his advances were rejected.

Disturbing the sleepy tranquillity of Tideswell and Litton the next little village, Cressbrook had another challenging hill for us to negotiate only this time it was a steep descent on a shady road covered in moss and gravel. It was a toss up which was the bigger worry, locking up the back wheel and skidding or locking the front wheel and going over the handlebars. Either way it was a relief to get to the bottom with hands aching from gripping the brakes so hard! So, we were now in the valley bottom and making our way to the final challenge, Monsal Head which at only 20% maximum incline should have been a piece of cake after Mam Nick. Well it wasn’t, it was only the promise of an ice cream and a sit down that got us to the top. Spectacular views, an ice cream in the sunshine and the prospect of an all downhill run to the carpark made the 10 minutes we were at Monsal Head a very pleasant experience indeed.

The final four miles back to the carpark were predominantly downhill as promised and passed without incident. The group split at Birchwood roundabout as Mark, John and Pete headed for home while Tina, Jenny and I headed for the carpark, sorry Frank.

A great day in the hills and the rain never materialised, thanks to John for leading a great ride again.

Chapeaux:

John, Pete and Mark for cycling in and out of Bakewell

Jenny for digging deep on the hills

Tina for drafting me on the flats and buying my breakfast!

 

Martin Bagshw