GT – Calver, Peaks – 12th February
The day started early with a ride up the Kersley Road to Martins. Halfway there I realised it was still dark and I was riding on the road with no lights…. how many times have I seen cyclists riding at night with no lights and said they’re just asking to end up on the bonnet of a car! Oops!
A clear run up the M69 and the M1 saw us the other side of Chesterfield and it’s crooked spire in no time. As we climbed up into the Peak District the temperature outside went from 4 to 0.5 deg C, not a bad thing, as the last thing we wanted was the snow and ice to melt quickly into a crappy boggy mess.
A few GTers were at the meeting point in Calver when we arrived, and pretty soon the whole ride of 21 riders turned up, were kitted up, biked up and ready to go.
A quick bit of road and we were quickly climbing Coombe Dale and Rough Side, on a crispy mixture of deep frozen snow and ice. The changing conditions claiming a few victims including one serious case of ‘Oh, Cock, chainsuck’ (you don’t want to get those words mixed up!) that resulted in a bit of a domino effect.
Climbing to the top of Middleton Moor we then hit tarmac, and flew down towards High Rake, and the first descent, a really nice easy descent, that throws the occasional big rock into the frame just to keep you on your toes. Halfway down I suddenly realised the reason why I was struggling to see was that my glasses were perched on top of my lid, and my eyes were now full of muck. No time to try and put them on, best just squint a bit and hope to see anything that’d have me off before I got to the lane at the end.
I survived, and we were soon heading through Hassop. Turning left we quickly dropped back off road and headed through Birchill Wood. We dropped onto 100m of the A619 just in time to give mean stares to a load of roadies 😮 Then it was a hard, rutted and icey climb up the lane to Pilsley.
A rest, Haribo, map check and photo break later we headed off up Handley Lane, the quick riders heading down the ‘lane’ to Edensor…. Wow that was fast! With a nice combination of drop offs, ice and tree branches to really test the concentration. At the bottom of the hill we cut back up to Pilsley and caught up with the rest of the GTers at the top of the wooded drop into Bakewell.
This was real slippy, rooty and ice covered descent. I can imagine it’s great fun in the dry, but in these conditions…. bloody sketchy! I can over one section, only to see everyone shouting ‘right, go right’ but I was already going left…. I just managed to slow down before I dropped off a 3-4 ft drop off, only to drop the front wheel off the side of the slope… and down I went. Picking the bike up I rolled down to the group only to do the same again…. Doh!
Then along the ex-railway Monsal Trail (a walker filled, ice covered, incline…. there must be a better way) off then though Great Longstone, and the traverse climb up Longstone Edge. Crossing our track out we then decended back to Rough Side.
At this point the ride split, those wanting to get back to the cars rode back down our original way up, the rest climbed Black Harry Lane, and rode down the fast descent between the quarries that dropped us out on the A623.
A quick run down through Stoney Middleton (that included a roadie chase 🙂 ) and we were back at the cars.
Quick change, and into the Eyre Arms for a post ride pint and chat……
Ride – #25 Bike – Gary Fisher Paragon 29er
Miles – 24.4 Total 2012 miles – 522.7