Mallorca, Tenerife, Calpe, Girona or the Peak District. There are many potential cycling destinations, but the
sunshine and beautiful roads of the Peak District was an obvious choice. Below is an account of some of the fun we got up to:
A ride report (Saturday)
Stephen Nutters account;
As alba assembled on the bleakest of Saturday mornings in Edale, pondering routes and groups for the day, a brief glimmer of sunshine broke through the turbulent storm clouds tinging the air with hope. Looks like its clearing up, pretty warm actually, don’t know what all the fuss is about… And off we set on the A ride.
Rolling down from the hostel we broke from the tree cover and the rain and winds hit. Hard. Undeterred we stood boldly embracing the rain and gales as the first mechanicals of the day were sorted before pushing on west into the headwind for the first climb up Mam Tor. Slowly sliding out of the back of the group as they scampered up the climb set the general pattern for the day as we regrouped and pushed on towards Macclesfield and the Top100 climb of the Cat & Fiddle.
3 climbs, 2 mechanicals and a brief stop in a laundrette later we finally hit the romantic lanes of Macclesfield to swing finally east and with the wind to our backs it was up up up into the clouds towards the Cat & Fiddle. 10km of ascent later saw us huddled for shelter in the pub doorway discussing what the view might look like and on agreeing that it was probably quite nice, it was time to descend. Cross winds wreaked havoc with any thought of a racing line as uncompliant handlebars were wrestled into corners as the battle to stay on the road was slowly won.
Relieved that the café was ‘only 3 or 4 miles away’ we regrouped and pushed on with thoughts of hot soup and steaming radiators filling our tiny bicycle obsessed minds. 20 miles later we nonchalantly shuffled into the sanctuary of Hassop Station café to drip dry and refuel before the final push for home.
The one. The only. Duncan Thorpe. Caption competition?
A final grind out of Eyam saw us on a glorious high road battling once more into the headwind and pondering what the view may be beneath the clouds. Be great to come back on summer bikes, in summer, when its sunny was the consensus.
I wouldn’t change a thing. Bad weather but a great route and even better company, it was alba on form. Chapeau.
B ride reports
A glowing account about the joys of riding in the peaks by Katie Parry
With the route set by our leader Matt Grimshaw, we headed towards Winnats for a smooth climb to warm us up. I can only imagine it to be something similar to the surface of Mars! A head wind so loud that nobody could hear you scream. Crags so tall that they touched the sky. A strange creature resembling James Bullivant with mutant lobster claws scuttling by with a chuckle……
Sitting at the front of the pack I was the first victim of the wind. I hold no shame in saying that I was the first off my bike; I couldn’t be saved! Only three made it to the top on two wheels. No cyclist wants to admit that they were defeated by a hill, but on this day I would personally think that we were defeated by the elements rather than the hill itself.
Lesson learnt?- In windy conditions sit in the pack! Sacrifice others!!
After a safety briefing at the top, a few windy miles, and a left turn we were enjoying a well deserved tail wind. The group took a natural split some enjoying the social aspect, others enjoying the challenge of the new roads.
After a quick stop for the traditional scone or in other cases; warm pecan pie and ice cream, there was only a few miles left. I got my climbing confidence back on the climb up Sir William Hill, reaching the top with James and carrying on to catch up the boys off the front. Nothing to report from the next 20 minutes; it was all pretty boring according to Ben Leaver. Remember to bring your conversation A game next time you cycle with him.
Only a short decent into the village and then we’re nearly home. And then the process starts; the red triangle with a % sign, the fear and then the unclip.
As Alba cycling weekends go, it was not what I had planned. There was a bit too much walking. But life is for learning, I’m more aware of myself as person and myself as a cyclist. I also learnt a lot about the characters who make up Alba. On both days I can not thank everyone enough; James and Neil especially, for their patience. I had a cracking weekend both on and off the bike (!!) and will definitely be signing up for the next one!
*This report comes across as a bit self-centred, but I was literally the only drama…there wasn’t even a puncture to write about!!