To use the words of a friend of mine, ‘at the moment you are on it’. I seem to be too. I just can’t get enough of riding at the moment.
Today I had planned to go out on the bike, no matter what. I had checked Manchester Wheelers website, but there was no ride on the cards. I was by myself. I sent text messages to a couple of people, but I don’t really know them, and so when I didn’t get a reply it didn’t surprise me.
The Pretty One was asking yesterday about my plans for today, “well, I need to ride. For one, I need to undo the evil of the crisps and beer” (at the little local beer fest that we went to). If that sounds like I am being a bit silly about food, we ate perhaps two, if not three packs of crisps each. Give that crisps, essentially, are just a waste of time with very little nutritional value at the best of times, it was only lack of option which drove us to this.
The Pretty One looked a little disappointed. “Can we do something together? I know, what about I drive somewhere and you ride there?”
“Good plan – where?”
Chatsworth House was chosen, and I looked at the map and decided on a route through the Peak District to Buxton, then on to Bakewell via the A6, before taking the back roads to Chatsworth.
It was a ride which would rival the route last week. Yes, there was less height gained, but there was one, or two 15% climbs more than last week. Also, I was riding alone. No one to hide behind, and as my friend Matt Page said, yesterday had 3D wind. It came at you from every direction at times – I don’t think it was quite as bad here as it was in Wales for him though – most of the time it was behind me. It hardly made the ride easy though, and again I was lusting after a 25 rear sprocket.
The weather was cold. It was one of those days when you seem to have to take all of the clothing that you own with you. Short sleeve jersey, bib shorts, arm warmers, wind proof, knee warmers, buff, helmet, Ergon HC1 mitts and of course a set of Oakleys. On the climbs though, I had to peel lots of this off, down to an open jersey, with the rear pockets stuffed with the arm and knee warmers. It was a constant struggle to keep warm – you can’t leave all of this kit on when climbing, because it will be soaked with sweat and cause you to freeze.
The ride itself was epic. I will do this ride again. Even the A6, which I wasn’t looking forward to, seduced me as it weaved along a river, cut its way through the rock, while going backwards and forwards under the railway line. It was like Switzerland, but just with the wrong type of trees. It wasn’t that busy either, and, for once, there was a road surface which didn’t feel like it had been shelled. The descent was over 20 minutes long too, even with a 76.4km/h max speed.
Climbing out of Bakewell, I got a message from TPO that she was on her way, and that the schedule was working perfectly. As I pulled into Chatworth, it reminded me of Longleat. Such a beautiful house, I headed for their restaurant, grabbed some pasta and a coke and ate, and lay on the grass for 10 minutes until TPO arrived. Even then the exercise wasn’t over. After the superb picnic which TPO brought with her, we then went for a walk up to the tower overlooking the grounds. I am afraid I had to stop, like some kind of fat person, for a breather half way up.
Average Speed: 24.1
Max Speed: 76.4
Total Ascent (m): 1,092
Total Descent: 1,006
Max Pos Gradient: 14.4%
Max Neg Gradient 16.1%
Today, I think I will go for a run.
This was an amazing installation outside Chatsworth House – Shauna Richardson’s Woolly Lions.
The Tower, and the view from the top.