After my Thursday night hill session with Kinder Velo about a month and a half ago- which nigh on killed me, my diary has somewhat prevented me from getting out with the club. I narrowly missed out on the hill session last week, as I was just getting home in the car as they peel off out of the start point. Gutted.
This Sunday was set to be beautiful weather, and Dan was planning the route. A secret route, no less, which promised to be about 50 miles long, and a delight to behold.
There were 16 of us as we set out from the station at 10, a beautiful morning, with lots of cumulus in the sky, it was a great day for cyclists, bikers and walkers alike. Up over and onto the Woodhead, where a load of people split off to take the shorter route- which apparently ended up at about 30 miles.
Our group of 9 went up Holme moss, which I have hear a lot about, but never actually got around to climbing up on the bike. It was long, but, at the beginning of the ride, I didn’t actually find it all that challenging, just a steady grind up the hill. No problem. We stopped at the top to wait for people, where I switched my garmin off for a time, and forgot to switch it back on until we were at the bottom of the hill- which explains the lost 4 km, and the rather odd shaped hill near the beginning of the garmin profile.
We carried on north through Holmefirth, and the surrounding countryside- I recognised a lot of the landscape, not from being there in the past, but actually, I realised, from a childhood of watching Last of the Summer Wine. Quite a weird feeling!
To be perfectly honest, I cannot recount the ride from then on, except that it involved a number of horrible hills, not just long grindy ones, but short, vicious ones which I really didn’t have the gears or the legs to get up. More than once I have to admit I was tempted just to get off and walk, but I stayed on and managed to push myself to the top of each climb.
At one point on a down hill, thankfully just as we were rounding a corner at low speed, my pump came out (need to find a better way of securing it), so I slowed down, got to the curb, completely forgot that I was clipped in and lay down nice and peacefully on the curb, still attached to my bike. In front of EVERYONE.
Ah well, it was going to happen eventually.
I retrieved my pump and we carried on, no more injury than to my pride.
Shortly after this, we went off down what seemed like a muddy path rather than anything resembling a bike path- it still had a sign on it, so off we went, right down next to the M62. We had taken a minor detour, but we knew there was a path that went under the M62, and all we needed to do was go back, down and round.
I looked down over the fence, and there the path was, not more than 30 yards away. Path of least resistance always works well, so over we went, walked our bikes down the verge and there we were, perfect.
From there, it was a short ride across the dam, up another very sharp and steep hill and into the village where we were meant to be stopping. A minor issue had occurred here as well. The café where we were meant to be stopping, which had been organised specially by Dan on Thursday had texted him to say that they weren’t going to open as it really wasn’t going to be worth their while. This arrived just as we were setting out this morning. So the search was on for a pub or a café. We passed one pub, in the middle of nowhere, no cars in the car park, and when we went in it stank of stale cigarettes (do people realise when their places smell that bad? I wonder), so we swiftly vacated that one and carried on a mile down the road to a delightful pub called the Moorcock Inn. Spacious, friendly, with a decent outside area, though a tad expensive for the small amount of cash that I had brought with me. A plate of chips it was then.
Food took a little longer than we expected to turn up, but apparently the Burgers were as good as anywhere- in fact the general verdict was that they were delicious beyond compare. Though that may have been something to do with the distance we had travelled, and more importantly, the height we had ascended. Although this was a Sunday ride, meant to be chilled out and relaxed, this was the hardest ride they had done for a fair old while and was comparable to a hill session in terms of height gain.
After a refreshing lunch we set off back again. The hills were a killer. Try as I might to hold on to the front group, there was not a chance of that happening, and I was dropped. I gritted my teeth, and carried on, one of the hills was a grind, but the wind coming down it was killer, and I faded. At the top was a spectacular view, but we knew we had to continue into the wind, even though it was down hill, it was pedalling all the way. Again, I was spat off the sharp end. I really need to get fitter at the 30mile+ end of things.
At the bottom of the hill we split into 2 groups, those who were taking the “short cut” home, and those who were sticking to plan A. Realising that the short cut crew were way faster than me anyway and I’d end up pretty much with no-one around me, and lost, I went with Dan and Michael and made up the 3 who did plan A. The final few miles were on B roads, fun little roads which weren’t necessarily entirely tarmaced. And then a final drag up from Stalybridge and down into Glossop.
Somewhere around 75km and 1500m climbed.
Contrast shower- well, a planned contrast shower, except there was no hot water, so I just had a cold shower instead, which was just fine by me!
I feel surprisingly good today as well, not totally destroyed, just a bit fatigued.
That’s the longest ride I’ve ever done on a road bike. All good fun. Now I just need to be concerned about next Saturday. 15 trigs on foot. Yikes.