Yay, no posts since yesterday, so I can indulge my verbal diarrhoea with a write up of today's Peak District ride featuring Jez, Bob, Scandal and I.
We rode the classic Edale and Jacobs Ladder loop, the only slight amendment being the first climb onto Middle Moor and descent to the reservoir.
After a stiff initial climb to Middle Moor we hit the first descent of the day, which passed off without incident and was very enjoyable. My gears started to play up on the next climb, but miraculously sorted themselves out. Then followed my nemesis climb towards Kinderlow End. In a sign of things to come Bob smashed it with Scandal also doing excellently. Jez and I took a it longer, but he was a good deal quicker than me.
In a formula one style pit stop Jez swapped brake pads and we soldiered on in momentary horizontal hail until we hit the climb to Edale Cross. After one of the nicest tickings off I've ever had for (accidentally) not using the proper bridleway from a Peak Ranger guy we carried on. He was a good old boy out and about and pitched his advice really well, it actually made me want to ride the correct route next time!
Bob now took things to the next level as he got as far up the climb as I've seen anyone go. He also nailed a bit further on that I can't recall ever seeing anyone clean. Now for the ladder. What a brilliant descent, no other way to describe it. Great fun had by all, Jez having one mishap close to the gate. I didn't actually see it as I was too busy starting to fix a pinch flat that my over-enthusiastic riding had caused. Next we carried on to the lower section which now has some quite nasty bits where the loose rocks combine with a comparatively shallow gradient to make things a bit tasty. A minor off from scandal followed by a more substantial one from Jez within spitting distance of the gate saw us down. Arms were well and truly pumped up.
A warp speed dash to the cafe at Edale followed. We sat down in the sun to enjoy a welcome repast, but were coerced indoors by some drizzle. After about five minutes I said "the top of that hill was visible two minutes ago". Then rain and hail started. Fresh clothing was donned and we off again to Hollins Cross. Then the snow started. At least we were with the wind. Until the turn at Hollins. Bob smashed that climb and the one up the grassy gullies to Mam Tor. Scandal gave it a good crack as well. Jez and I raised our eyebrows at each other. A quick blast down to the road and it was time for Rushup Edge into a biting wind. Good efforts all round this time.
A nice run down the gully was only interrupted by the only slightly obstructive walkers of the day. Still good all the same. Off to the Pennine Bridleway next and, glory be, some sympathetic trail maintenance on the way into Roych Clough. A nice descent and one where I got airborne with 'baggy knees' to land a bit sideways but intentionally, and felt good about it. I'm easily satisfied. At the bottom Bob generously dished out the energy snacks. These looked curiously like haemorrhoids, but tasted a whole lot better. The extra energy came in handy for me as I was able to lift my head whilst pushing up the climb to see Bob leaving a vapour trail as he dominated the next climb, again.
As we regrouped I was made to regret my badly chosen words on the drive up ("I can't see how this good weather is going to change"). Frankly painful hail and sleet now lacerated any exposed skin. The mini descent from South Head was an experience. It's not easy to ride quick rocky trails with your eyes closed and head tilted down.
We copped some good natured abuse from a walker as she described us as 'nesh'. Mind you, we were cowering behind a stone wall. I might have even have adopted a foetal position if I'd been on my own. The next bit of descent was, if anything, more painful than the last. Soaked through and with numb hands we made our way to the top of the next descent where the sun chose to mock us by appearing for about thirty seconds. A nice razz down Coldwell Clough saw us arrive numb-handed at the top of the last hurrah down into Hayfield. This is always an underrated bit of track and it was as good as usual, with the only issue that it ensured we were totally shit up by the end.
A swift pint next to a roaring coal fire in the George Hotel sealed the deal. A great ride, made more memorable by some slightly intimidating weather.
Scandal and I managed a quick stop at the real ale corner in Chesterfield on the way home just to top things off.
I only have one request for when we next go to the Peaks. If Bob could please get a picture of some gorgeous woman like Gemma Atkinson and stick it to his back I might at least get to look at something nice on the climbs when it feels like my lungs are being pan-seared.
Woodhouse Eaves on Wednesday night people. Be there.