Harder Day in the Peaks 2020 edition

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  • Macclesfield station
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  • Yep somewhere between 2000m and 2200m I think, depending on whose GPS device you want to believe

  • Great works guys. I need to get on one of these soon. Looks like it lived up to the name.

  • Good work. I took 2 photos all day...


    New (and gorgeous) geography always sets a ride apart from those on known local roads, but this Peaks ride still felt singular to almost any other riding I’ve done. So I think it deserves a little ride report.

    Apologies if I was a bit ill-tempered in the morning. I had to get up fucking early because it was a long way to the start for me. Macclesfield must have some charm to it, although I couldn’t really see any of it in the light or dark. All I can say is that at least inside the Wetherspoons at the end of the ride the crusty locals didn’t seem to take much of an interest in us, but then again their itchy restlessness made it a little hard to relax into the pints. Anyway, I was glad to set off in the morning and the evening.

    From the off the ride was like a sine wave on an incline, especially to the top of the Cat-and-Fiddle. This rhythm stuck for the whole ride and got into the Big up, big down, rolling climbing fugue. I think we felt spoiled for roads in every direction. Black basalt peaks, stone walls, easy wind and lanes that cut straight up the hills. In Kent it seems like they put roads where the fancy them which on the one hand is great because this means there so many little-used lanes. But in the south Peaks it felt like the lane is in service of the only (mostly) reasonable way to the top. Considering probably how much more difficult it could have been going nearly the same way I say thanks again to those who helped put the roads together. It was in a strange way pretty fixed-friendly.

    The roads to Hope were great, save for the wall just outside of Tidewell which was must have been 20% for only 100 feet but was plenty to make nearly all of us walk. A bit embarrassing.
    Snakes Pass was the highlight for me. @Po and I matched up to get to the top and it was incredible. Over the left shoulder was Lady Bower Reservoir which we watched narrowing into the Ashop, which then sunk further away until it was covered by the woodland. Still some patches of snow across the valley at the top. Hardly any traffic especially considering the temporary lights near the end. All the while tap tap on the pedals until nearly the when the westerly caught us and had to grind grind to the crest and descend. And @cagimaha was right: it was only 15 minutes to the top but time dilated beautifully during the climb I swore it could have been 45 minutes or an hour. And watching Ben descend Snakes was it for me, that was the fucking one. Graduated swooping down left and right and his goddamn gradient blue jersey the only bright thing on the road, I felt like a camera bike on a professional road race chasing the leader. My calves had cramped at the top so the first third of the descent was tense until I had spun the muscles loose and open up the speed towards the end. But the cramps had given me a nice break to sit up and watch the downhill.

    Last section after Marple was better than I expected it to be although the group fractured a little. Clayton’s Tower (although just a folly) at the top of the very last climb out of Kerridge gave it a sense of occasion, but also as the last climb it was unsurprisingly the least fun and least welcome.
    I really enjoyed the group, everyone put in a strong ride and were up for the day. Good chat, nice bikes, good guys.

    Retrospectively was silly to go fixed in the Peaks. I had some knee pain the next day which is unusual for me, and my groin hurt from having to winch myself up nearly every fucking climb but Snakes Pass until the end wherein there was a huge amount of winching . So I dunno about chasing 7000ft of climbing over 70 miles fixed - what’s the line between difficult and damaging? It certainly counts as unnecessary. But then again I love this kind of riding because the mental arguments about gear and route fade away as settled, and pulls into sharp focus only scenery and effort - the two reasons I started riding in the first place.

    Maybe a little less up next time, but fucking hell what a loop. Thanks everyone.

  • Damn, I'd meant to do a little writeup too. This feels like so long ago now. I'm about to post up in the generic thread
    about the next edition if anyone is interested.

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Harder Day in the Peaks 2020 edition

Posted by Avatar for Po @Po