Well, I planned a ride a month or so, set a date, and tried to get people to come ride it. Then it turned out people were either busy, or were put off by the stupidity of the ride I’d planned.
“stupid?” you ask? Well, what happened was, I moved house earlier in the year. Since then I’ve spent significant amounts of time scouting out my local and localish trails. My house is in a valley, and there are trails on either side of the valley all the way up the valley, for at least 15 miles or so. Also in the valley, is a train line, which goes from right near my house, to Matlock, 10 miles away.
So, my plan was, to get the train to Matlock, and link up all the trails that I knew on the way back. I plotted up this route, and it turned out to be about 60km, and there would be a lot of climbing, as each side of the valley is up to 300m of ascent. Ouch.
It turns out that a lot of people, even unicyclists, think that riding 60km on a 26" muni is a stupid idea. One unicyclist even threw himself off a bike and damaged his collarbone purely to avoid having to come on this ride. That is how un-keen people are to go on a 60km muni ride.
So I set out on my own. I had a bit of a disturbed nights sleep, and happened to wake up at 6.30am. Grabbed some breakfast, and onto the 7am train.
Everything outside seemed to whoosh past, although I could see the height of the hills, many of which I intended to ride up. This was a bit intimidating.
So I got to Matlock, and picked up some highly nutritious provisions, making the most of twofer offers in the supermarket - under 4 quid for approximately 2000 calories - bargain!
Then I headed up the hill to Hackney. For those who know the one in London, it is kind of like that, except without the crime, the houses / flats, the large quantities of art students, drug dealers etc. Oh and with nice views. Actually thinking about it, it has very little in common except the name.
So, I cranked away up the road, 150m of ascent, and already this was feeling like quite a hard ride. I could see down to the valley, but I knew that before I got there, I had to climb and descend to the moor (100m above this) twice.
Into the woods, on a nice bit of singletrack, getting rockier, with little stream crossings, until finally I come out at a clearing, with a pretty waterfall:
I then scramble up a bank, and through a path that goes straight across a farmers field. This bit is too steep to ride up anyway, so it doesn’t matter that you’re not allowed to ride it.
Then it’s onto one of my personal Everests- Back Lane, above Darley Dale. This used to be a road once, but now it has become a wide, rocky, steep climb, with few enough rocks to make you think you might have a chance at ascending it, but just enough to chuck you on your face when you do. I make it up with only 3 falls, which I think is a record. One day I will beat this bugger. I completely fail to take any pictures of this. At the top, there is a wide, flat track, and I get a bit of easy spinning in.
Now, I’m about one hour in, and at the first summit, which is the high point of the whole ride. I’m on top of the moor, it looks a bit like a blasted heathland - I’m sure if Mike Fule was on this ride, he’d mention Macbeth or something. The sun is a lot higher in the sky, and I’m starting to feel a bit warm.
A brief bit of road riding is followed by a little descent-lite, nice tight singletrack, with drops over roots, and a smattering of rocks. Quite a bit of mud, as it rained a bit last week. Towards the end, it gets very narrow, and surrounded by nettles and brambles. It is hard to see the ground you’re riding on. I manage to take three head over heels tumbles into nettles, brambles, and a big muddy puddle, in that order. When will I learn? Anyway a picture of the start of the singletrack.
…I’ll continue this in a new post…