I’d been thinking of a ‘big one’ over the weekend… a 60-mile plusser over the hills to Buxton and back. The weather was going to be fine and I needed to get some major miles in the legs ahead of my tour next month.
One thing the Peak District is has is hills, be they short, sharp knee-grinders or long, lung-busters.
I took the Club Tour and loaded a couple of small panniers and a bar bag with bits and bobs so there’d be no excuses to wimp out and limp home.
Things started well. The long pull out from home was pleasantly taxing and I was soon lost (literally) amid the steep lanes constituting NCN Route 68 in these parts.
I hadn’t accounted for the weather, though. The ambient temperature was nearly 20 deg C and so in the sun, things were considerably hotter. After about 20miles, and a very pleasant stretch along the towpath from New Mills to Whaley Bridge, the NCN 68 took a turn for the worst and degenerated into a mountain bike track. Muttering, I had to push my ungainly mount.
I dropped into Buxton and had an ice cream. Only then did I realise how tired I was. I’d been grinding the granny gear on some of those hills and my quads were feeling it.
After a short rest, I filled the bidons from St Anne’s Well and hits the main roads and traffic roughly heading to Manchester. Although I did consider hitting the towpath again for an easy route home, I stuck to my guns and ground out more steep gradients.
A club rider overtook me on the A624 to Glossop. He’d probably heard me egging myself on with some colourful language… oh well.
Once back to Glossop, the remainder of the ride came into focus and I was psychologically prepared. Another 15 miles and I was home, if rather dishevelled.
58 miles so just shy of my mark. Some days, you just have to tough it out.