Riders: John Musgrove, Stephen Grieg, Martin Bagshaw
There are times in everyone’s life when something seems like a good idea but turns out not to be, buying that Betamax video, investing in a Sinclair C5, going for a ride in the Peak District against the advice of the weatherman!
We’re made of stern stuff in Tickhill so the plans were drawn up to meet at De Rhodes Arms for a ride through Chesterfield to Baslow returning by Curber gap. Arriving early, I unpacked the bike in the chilly August air having wimped out and driven to the meeting point and sat in the car looking at the leaden sky and half hoping everyone else in the club was more sensible than me. My hopes were dashed when Stephen Greig pulled up, also in the car (sorry Frank) and while we exchanged optimistic predictions about the rain not starting till 1:00 pm and the fact we would be almost back by then John Musgrove rode in. Faced with John’s stoic ride in I felt guilting trying to convince the guys to change to a shorter route with less hills and eventually conceded to John’s view that we were here now and could only get wet once.
So it was that despite waiting for a while the three of us put on waterproof jackets, more for warmth than rain protection, and rolled out on the road. It was freezing cold but at least not raining yet and we were reassured by the fact Tuesday was going to be fantastic weather once we were all back at work. The ride into Staveley was mostly down hill and did nothing to warm us up and it was while riding out of Staveley and beginning to climb some hills that the first spots of rain began – so much for 1:00 pm, I’ll never listen to Lucy Verasamy again! and as we descended into Brimington it was spitting as Peter Kaye would say with every indication that it was going to get worse.
Time for a bit of Rider Leader decision making so after negotiating Brimington roundabout we ignored the left turn up St Johns road and carried on straight to Cuthorpe thereby avoiding the 5 mile climb through Old Brampton which is tough enough in good weather. The ride up past Cuthorpe was no walk in the park but it’s more of a short sharp shock rather than a long grind.
We warmed up a little on the hills and split into the usual A & B rides, the A ride being John effortless gliding up the hills while Stephen and I puffed and panted behind.
What goes up comes down and we were soon gingerly descending into Baslow in stiffening winds, quite persistent rain and falling temperatures. I was in the front entering Baslow and pulled in for a team meeting only to find I was on my own with John and Stephen no where to be seen. I was pretty sure I hadn’t heard any shouts and absolutely sure that if I had to ride back up the hill I was going to continue back to the car when they rolled into view after apparently stopping for a suspected mechanical.
In Baslow we normally turn left over Bubnell bridge for the climb up Bramley Lane but Stephen was quite insistent that we continued straight into Calver and the café, a couple of pounds for the TVC swear box there Steve. Straight to the café it was then along the not too busy A623 to arrive at Insomina on the cross roads. Passing on the outside tables we peeled of wet cloves and waterproofs and sat dripping on the laminate floor while we drank coffee, caught up on gossip and contemplated the challenge of Curber gap waiting for us. It became apparent that no matter how long we waited we weren’t going to dry out and the bikes wouldn’t ride themselves up the hills so it was time to leave.
It’s hard to describe how it feels putting wet waterproofs back on but riding out of Calver I realized hypothermia in August was a potential issue and was looking forward to the up coming climb to generate a bit of body heat. The Curber Gap climb starts as soon as you turn left so it was straight into granny gear and head down as the “A” ride disappeared up the hill after helpfully advising us the current incline was only 14%. Coming so soon after the café is was touch and go whether the coffee and buns were going to make a reappearance, but the initial lung busting stomach churning section relaxed into a leg burning head down grind to the top.
We passed the “A” ride half way up where John had stopped to take pictures of our pain as Stephen and I slogged it to the top. In true Velo “it’s only a hill get over it” style we did get over it and had a few miles of freezing, nerve wracking descents and panting ascents through Holmefield and into Dronfield Woodhouse. As a responsible ride leader I tried to lift spirits with a few songs but “Singing in the rain” and “Here comes the rain again” went down like a lead balloon so we battled on eventually tip toeing on the brakes down through Eckington with some buffeting from an ever increasing side wind then turning right towards Renishaw golf course.
The last serious climb of the day was into Spinkhill and even John the “A” ride had to admit we’d had enough and were all glad to be getting back to Barlborough. While Stephen & I collapsed freezing and dripping into the cars, trojan John battled on to ride back to Thurcroft. Lessons learnt today, wear more layers and if Lucy Verasamy say’s it’s going to be wet and windy LISTEN TO HER!!!!
All three of us for turning up on a grim day
Stephen Grieg: Battling on with a pulled groin
John Musgrove: Riding in and out to and from the meeting point.