11 May 2009

5/12 century a month challenge (metric)

...the bivvy one.

Normally working weekends turns me into an unbearable nightmare to live with but despite working Sunday, today and even popping back this evening for a few hours of over-time the smile has not left my face. The reason for for my unusually good mood is pure and simple bike induced euphoria. Two whole doorstep slices of riding with a juice bivvy filling. A homemade adventure.

We (Chris and Simon) left my house late Friday morning with heavy bags and a lot of miles ahead. The plotted routed was to follow little snippets of local singletrack combined with Sustrans Route 6 to Sheffield. From here we'd take the Ringinglow road out of town and onto the moors. A freewheel down to Ladybower and we'd be in the pub to meet Amy for 6. A quick drink then up to Derwent Edge to find a suitable spot to bed down for the night. Sounds easy put like that.

A few heavy showers, some 'extreme downhill', a puncture, coffee stop, some route finding, too many chips and a hill of a thousand false summits meant we were a little behind schedule. But it didn't matter we had everything we needed and for once there would be no rushing back from a ride.

On arrival at the pub we found a very full and a slightly merry Amy. She too had had her share of weather and trails to get there. It was dark by the time we started the climb up to Whinstone Lee Tor. With over 100km in our legs the going was tough but as if by magic the serotonin switch was flicked and I haven't stopped smiling since.

Slowly picking our way up the hillside, unable to tell if a line was good or bad until too late. That's the joy of night riding in unknown terrain. We finally reached the crossroads of bridleway and footpath. The shimmering reservoir below, a sign of how high we'd climbed. It was now time to dabble into the murky world of cheeky trails. A bit more up and we'd soon be able to check into the best room in the house, a room with a view and on-suit facilities. The Wheel Stones on Derwent Edge.

Then the fun really began. With it still being dry it was easy enough to unpack, layer up and cook-well add water to dehydrated food stuffs. The moon hung bright and low and we had plenty of rock to shelter from the breeze. As we got out the compulsory hip flasks to toast our success Trio produced her tipple of choice, a (GLASS) bottle of bubble! This was to be added to the list of reasons why her bag was twice as heavy as mine. Pillow, giant mattress, 1pt of milk and spare pants. It all adds up.

Hyper sensitive to the elements, I lay in my bivvy waiting for sleep to come. Hoping it wouldn't get any colder as I was wearing everything. I had no need to worry though, the warm, fuzzy smug feeling was enough to keep hypothermia at bay. That and the whiskey.

We were woken by warming sun and despite only being a 30 min ride from civilization there was a real sense of feral wilderness in our camp. Simon's breakfast of hobnobs and whiskey only added to the effect. A supper grippy gritstone descent led us straight back to the pub, which happened to re-open at 7.30am. 481ft and not a pedal revolution needed, every morning should begin this way!

Too soon it was time to head home. Amy back across the Peak and us back to Nottingham. Unfortunately Simon had to cut the ride short due to a knee injury-when will he learn! I was half tempted to get the train back with him, until I saw our path down Burbage.

The rest of the journey seemed timeless as we pedaled almost Zen like. Quiet lanes and bridleways interspersed with wine gum and chip stops. Sun dappled woods and carpets of bluebells. Chris and I took turns to battle the wind and for a long time progress seemed slow, just circling around Chesterfield. Then all of a sudden we were back on familiar Nottinghamshire trails and the miles just disappeared. Home in time for tea and a real appreciation of clean pants!

So that's my story of Mays bona fide (metric) century. Can't wait for the next one.

Day 1: 117km, 1882m ascent
Day 2: 85km, 1013m ascent


trio said...

Thanks for a great adventure!

Red Bike said...

Great write up, worth waiting for!

sarah said...

That may be the best century adventure I've read about so far this year! You live in such an amazing place, the pics are brilliant as usual and I especially like that inky/violety sky in the night one. Well done!

jumbly said...

Great write up!

kate said...

trio-no, thank you ;)
jumbly and redbike-thanks, you're both invited on the next one!
sarah-it's easy to take things for granted. i'm always longing to move to bigger hills!!

ultra collie said...

what a belting adventure. sounds so cool!

Red Bike said...

"jumbly and redbike-thanks, you're both invited on the next one!"

I'm already following your example. A back packing tent (not a bivvy bag) was ordered last week and a pile of maps were ordered at lunch today.

Going shopping for a spork on sat!

kate said...

uc-i recon your bike would be up to it ;)

Martin Rye said...

Very good trip there. Like the bivvy spot :)