Another ride planned by some CycleChat boys was kicking off at 8.30am from Roe Cross pub carpark and into Sheffield. The early start time meant I had to get up earlier than I would have liked but tend to only go on group rides if they start like that. So I rose at 7am with not much time to get stuff ready and breakfast duly went out of the window, just time for some super strength coffee. A nicely paced long ride should help with my recovery after a crap week.
Took Jamis as was unsure how the weather would turn out, Scottie hasn't had a ride out for ages and is currently being used to hang up helmets, shoes, gloves and jerseys. I didn't realise how far away the meeting place was so I took a long way round and suddenly it was 8.25am and I wasn't at the meeting point. I followed a cyclist up Mottram rd and soon caught up but he turned off and I still followed. Turned out he was lost, wasn't from the area and wasn't going to Sheffield :( I turned back and followed signs for A57.
It had only just turned 8.30am and Glossop was upon me. Nearly stopped and waited but I carried on and just as the Snake Pass started to climb I caught sight of a small group and at the rear a familiar style of riding...it was Dan_Bo! They set off quite early as I hadn't said I was turning up as I was unsure myself. Foz and Longers started to up the pace on the climb as I tried to keep up using a high a cadence as possible. Can you believe it, the sun must have been shining on us all day and I just took in the atmosphere along with the scenery... I was enjoying myself! There's a big reservoir near/at Derwent and Foz told me about some plug holes. I thought some tiny little things like I have in my bath but felt stupid when he pointed them out as being bigger than my house. About 45-47 miles theres a nice 2 mile gentle ish climb that I just had to stand up and attack. I can only do this in perfect conditions ie gradient not too steep, tail wind, good road. In the big ring I started to move up the gears as I got faster and faster until a steep bit so dropped back a little. I've done it on Cragg Vale to Halifax rd Junction only a couple of times for the last 2-3+ miles where I can average close to 20mph. Recently though the wind has been a head/cross from Cragg.
The cafe was soon upon us hidden in a lovely kinda park. I think I have the right place on the map, useless with directions. Longers and I had baked beans and toasts, Dan, some gorgeous looking cake and flapjack and Foz egg on toast x2. That was all I had to eat all day apart from 2 cereal bars on the way. Lots of climbing to prepare for on the way back. I could have eaten the same again and stayed there all day watching the cyclists, runners, doggies whilst sipping coffee, reading a paper, relaxing, ahhhh. Like being in NewYork again.
Travelled at a more sedate pace on the way back, suited me fine as the energy levels were dwindling fast. Managed to stretch the legs on the last part of the Snake's ascent which would be my final attack of the day. Waited for Dan at the top whilst I froze in the very strong breeze. Needed to stretch alot too as muscles very tight. Have to say Dan had done remarkably well considering the climbing we had done. The last 20miles was just an energy conservation exercise as I was failing fast but tried not to show it. The short, sharp climb of Mottram Moor nearly had me but I knew it was an easy downhill ride from there onwards. Left Foz, then Longers and finally escorted Dan through the climb of Daisy Nook and Failsworth. The sun still out and I was left alone, finding the last few miles, chuckling to myself. That's what cycling is about, having fun whilst getting fit. Can't remember the last time I enjoyed such a long ride. The weather certainly helped but Ive done an Audax in the pouring rain averaging 13mph and loved it.
Ascent 7500ft +