Friday, June 30, 2017

More big, bigger

On Friday, TSK had the day off to go to Shennington.  I, on the other hand, worked and then loaded the car.  In this mismatch, my sleeping bag and cycling shoes stayed in Sheffield whilst I packed a bike, helmet and Garmin route that took me 4 hours to plot into our car.  I needed to wind down and eat after all that and then ETA'd at Shennington at 23:30.

Fortunately, my ride was saved by a shoe loan from a mate but cleats will be cleats and by 12 miles I needed to pop into a bike shop for a fresh pair.  My own shoes are on their last legs so no biggie... in fact, they were a little bit small so more grinning and bearing it.

This ride didn't feel to be going well.  I had a heavy bag on, a lock, oh, and my mate's shoes hanging off the back of my saddle.  Every time I reached a junction I felt like turning back.  100 miles with a lot of climbing and a fair ammount of discomfort was not appealing.  My heart wasn't in it but every time I wavered, something said, "no, I want to keep going".  So I kept going.  I ate an energy bar as I started to get a bit bonky and then, with an absence of cafés, finally flopped into the first pub I found serving food.

I upgraded the only salad on the menu from starter to main course.  Was asked if I wanted twice as much.  Since I didn't know how much was much and couldn't be arsed explaining / debating, I just responded yes and hoped they wouldn't now charge me £15 for a salad.  He muttered something about only charging me £12... thank god.

Doubling the size of one leaf of iceberg lettuce didn't seem possible but at least they gave me one massive whole piece of smoked salmon - which I assume would otherwise have been artistically shredded into my iceberg leaf.  At least the apple juice was nice.

I set off again, toes becoming more crushed.  After a few more steeply rolling hills, and one more attempt to persuade myself to keep going, I realised I didn't want to keep going so I turned back and started to roll back to base.  45 miles had passed and my plotted route still seemed to require an extra 30 miles or more.  I started to doubt the validity of my route marking.

After 50 miles I gave up on my left new shoe and instead opted for riding in odd shoes to give the toes on my right foot a break.

I still managed a substantial loop to join my in-bound route and avoid several main roads.  I topped it up with a climb up Tysoe Road's 16% climb.  Just enough time for a wash before dinner with Dan and Bex.

70 miles 1000m climbing.

Despite being up at 4am to serve pancakes to starving drivers, we packed up, got home and went to bed to refresh ourselves for Monday morning.  I had done not much with Sunday so felt fully rested for my "recovery" day off work.  So I went out for a ride (naturally).

Once the laundry was on, I had so much time on my hands!  I had to wait until traffic died down.

I set off up the hill for a change and to get warm because it was a little overcast.  Suddenly I was taking different routes out of town because I no longer minded the hills.  I rode fluently over to the Norfolk Arms then turned right for once and dropped down under Stanage.  Stopped for a quick wee in the public toilets (luxury) then continued down to Bamford, crossed the main road and took the back lanes to Hope and the Adventure café for lunch.  What luxury!  Hardly anyone on the roads.

Along the Edale valley and up Mam Nick - all to myself then along Rushup Edge past the NoCar Café and through the lanes to Peak Dale, Dove Holes and Chapen en le Frith via a tiny road where I had to wait whilst a policeman guided a land rover + trailer past a coach that had somehow got himself stuck up there.  The other side of the hill led me down a 1:3 descent with hairpins which I didn't know existed, never mind imagined a coach would ever get down.  Cue Garmin - not sure where I was or the best way to get home.

I was on the edge of Chapel so I rode through Chinley on back-lanes with the intention of joining the A614 to Glossop for a nice ride home over the Snake Pass.  Instead I found myself riding 80 ft underneath the A614 so threw my bike down some even narrower lanes and along a short bridleway (this is why I only ride 'cross bikes) before joining another lane that spat me out on the village roads the other side of the A614 before eventually rejoining it.

I rode all of 4 miles on it before finding another lane which dropped sharply into Hayfield - would be an excellent climb going the other way!

Finally I arrived in Glossop and went to Neros for a second lunch sandwich and smoothie... still resisting the coffee.  The great thing about Glossop Nero is you pay less for a take-out then sit on the bench outside where your bike is locked and watch the kids playing in the flowers in the park.  I talked to an old lady sat next to me whose daughter, it turns out, lives on the street next to mine.

To avoid rushour traffic, I stopped trying to give myself brain freeze with the smoothie and instead poured the leftovers into my bottle and set off over the hill.  The traffic was light and my only disruptions were saying hello to a couple of ignorant whippets on bikes riding with headphones in so loud I could hear the music.  Sorry your pro training is so boring guys but manners costs nothing.  Back to my own world.

Not sure why I put my coat on coming down the other side because the breeze wasn't that bad.  Still, I enjoyed stopping at the Ladybower car park to remove it, catch my breath and head off again up that one last climb...  or so I thought.

When I got to the top of Rodside, I couldn't resist but turn on to the steep summit switchbacks to lift myself up above the traffic and roll back along the spine road that avoids the busy A57.  So glad I did.  I felt like I owned the road.

After dropping back into my own valley I soon felt the need to leave the traffic behind me again and challenged myself to one last climb - the 1:3 Hagg Hill.  I had to dig deep near the top and when beeped at by an approaching car, treated him to a mouthful of "Idon'tgiveashit" which was spat incredibly loudly and coherently given my situation.

73 miles 2100m climbing.  Fun factor:15!

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