Matt’s Peak Ride – 25th February
Well, first of all Happy Birthday Mr Reaper!
The meeting point was the car park opposite the Woodbine Cafe, we arrived early and with a slight chill in the air we headed for the warmth of the Cafe. Gradually everyone arrived, 7 GTers and 2 from MTB Britain and we headed out to get the bikes and kit up.
The sun was out with only the occasional bit of high cloud as we rode through Castleton and up the Broken Road. The headwind in the valley was hardwork but as we climbed the side of Little Mam Tor it gradually got stronger, to the point where me and Simo got blown off our bikes. Tonx battled on to the top (as he did on every climb!) along with some others. The rest of us got off and pushed, even doing that was hard work at times.
It was then, more headwind as we battled up to the Chapel-en-le-Frith road.. The strong gusting wind coming from the Northwest was going to be our in our faces for most of the first half of the ride. Climbing Ruship Edge it turned into a sidewind, and made what would normally be a bit of a boring section of the route a real challenge. Bikes and bodies were being blow all over the place. The trail had multiple options, and most of the time the one you took was purely down to how hard the gusting wind hit you. Dropping down Chapel Gate to join the Pennine Bridleway thankfully got us out of the worst gusts.
I was having a nightmare on the rocky Chapel Gate section and just couldn’t get any kind of rhythm going. At the end I sussed out why… my forks were still locked out… doh. But more annoying was the oil seeping past the fork seal 😦
Dropping (literally) onto the Pennine Bridleway we ended up with a Odbod having a pinch flat and Matts crank arm coming loose. Once fixed we continued into the headwind occasionally getting relief when we dropped into the several Cloughs. In one we had to stop to allow some green laners in 4x4s through. I tried to unclip but couldn’t. Just before I went over my foot popped out. Turned out one of the screws holding the cleat to my MW80 had come loose and was just hanging on. I sat down to get someone to look at it (so I didn’t have to faff about taking my boot off) and the screw had gone…. Ahhh. Fortunately eagle eyed Odbod spotted it and did me screwed it back in.
As we rounded Mount Famine the wind dropped, then up and over the ridge we headed East, the wind should be behind us for the rest of the ride…. Wooo Hooo!
Now was the big climb up the back of Jacobs Ladder, a combination of riding and pushing got us to Edale Cross, the highest point at 1775″, where a dry stone wall gave us some shelter for a well earned 10 minute break. Now the fun started as we started the descent down Jacobs Ladder into Edale. I don’t know how many offs and near misses there were as the group got pretty strung out. Probably a good thing as riding down there in close formation would be a recipe for disaster! Matt managed to go over the bars at one point, and we passed Odbod who was sitting on the side of the trail after a testicle-saddle interface! By the bridge at the bottom there were smiles all round, and tales of “just how close I was to binning it” Bashful had an eventful desent ending up with a pinch flat and bent rear derailieur. Once fixed we headed down the blisteringly quick drop into Edale.
Heading along the road towards Edale villiage we turned right, and started up the lane to Harden Clough. Off road again the route now climbed up Cold Side, the wind was now hitting us from the side making the traverse climb up to Hollins Cross hard work. The combination of tired legs and strong gusts making for a quite stop-start climb.
Once over the top, a final 5 minute break before the grassy, rocky descent back down into Hope Valley, the final rocky section into Hollowford Road giving Matt just time for another ‘over the bars’ moment.
A quick road blast back into Hope, bikes away, changed and we were sat outside the Woodbine Cafe in sweat shirts, in glorious sunshine….in February! As we sat chatting, a bloke came out of the cafe who I recognised, Pat from ProVelo events, organiser of SITS and Mountain Mayhem (I’d shook his hand at the end of my 24hour solo ride at SITS 2009) We chatted with him for a while about Mayhem entries. He left, and gradually the group dispersed, headed home, happy with a great day of natural riding.
Total Ascent – 1350m (4430ft)
Ride – #33 Bike – Gary Fisher Paragon 29’er
Miles – 21.3 Total 2012 miles – 692.5