30 August 2009

bank holiday bivvy

as with all, rides i met simon at the city hospital. snaking through our well worn singletrack, ticking off local ride landmarks. on our way to trails new, the promise of chips and beer and sharing a bivvy spot with nine ladies and jon.

past newstead village and over the m1 and we were finally out of our 'night ride' territory. our pace was leisurely due to packs and slightly fuzzy heads but we were making good time and the sun was still shinning. so far the bridleways were good, everything was being ridden and the linking roads a chance for easy spinning. we'd completed the easy half.

into derbyshire and the hills began and our first push up of the day, amusingly at a wooded section named 'cocking tor'. some more road climbs, the sort that has you peering round the thick hedged corners in hope of a summit, only to be greeted by another bend and false summit. but the decent into darley dale more than made up for these tarmac tortures, not least because there were chips at the bottom.

full of starch and fizzy pop we had one more climb over to birchover to meet jon. this up would be tomorrow's down, which made the grinding away almost pleasurable. unfortunately we were 3 minutes late but luckily for us jon was 4 hours early-don't ask-despite having taken the long route to meet us.

more beer than necessary was consumed, due to a minimum service charge and as dusk set in we wobbled our way up to stanton moor. simon had a good idea of which particular rocky outcrop would make a good spot and after a bit of fern bashing we made our beds. hobnobs and whiskey sent us all off to sleep, despite the excitement of nine ladies the following morning.

occasionally i'd feel a blustery wind against my face and wake to find a starry sky and the lights of darley dale shining bright. it seemed odd to feel so wild and exposed yet so close to civilisation.

my favourite part to any wild camp is the sign of first light and this mornings sunrise didn't disappoint. warming our faces as well as our souls. breakfast was over quickly. we were eager to get riding and wanting to get off the moor before the first walkers. after some singletrack portage we had a lovely freewheel down to the nine ladies.

it really was quiet beautiful. the colours of purple heather and silver birch being illuminated by the early morning sun. a time for quiet contemplation and the realisation of lucky we are...and then time for silly poses and on with the descent!

yesterdays up made for an excellent down and before we knew it we were in matlock in time for a cuppa. from here we all headed up to the high peak trail before jon pealed off and headed home or maybe to grab a few more extra secret miles.

our way home was rewarded with 2 brand new downs that will certainly be revisited and a nettlely chute of doom that i'll happily never ride again. as with all rides like this there's always a section of cycle track purgatory. the tarmaced, traffic free miles fly by but you battle boredom all the way.

fittingly we finished our ride with a final local landmark, the trig point, the last of the hobnobs and end of the whiskey. from here we were on the home straight. we were out for just over 24 hours, had pedaled 80ish miles and had probably consumed far more calories than we had burnt. an excellent mini adventure.

edit** i came home expecting a hero's welcome only to find jane still in bed from the night before, a little worse for wear. so of course, i've cooked dinner, fetched drinks and done the looking after-well kind of...


ultra collie said...

im loving your free-wheeling life !
just loving it :)

Ian Charters said...

That is the way to do a Bank Holiday weekend!

Simon said...

...and I packed everything away, washed, went to Tesco, bought and roasted a chicken for my visiting mother and step-dad. But crashed out into a proper bed at 9:15 :-)

starfish264 said...

Sounds absolutely fantastic - sooooo good to get away from it all on the weekend.

Red Bike said...

Thank you ever so much for organising this.

My route home was as direct as possible and all road. My legs were very tired. The ride home seemed to take forever and I was deeply missing my gears.

kate said...

uc- everything is slowly falling into place :)

ian- you're about that-and what hills have been visiting? :)

simon- everything packed away, then clean pants and a mountain of food...and i'm saying how early i actually went to bed!! ps-thanks so much for the navigating :)

starfish-not quite as far as you though ;)

red- it was a great night/early morning. glad you went straight home!!

Red Bike said...

Kate: lets hope the weather holds long enough to get in one more bivvy this year. Somewhere at low altitude please!

I was REALLY glad of that packet of Haribo Starmix. I sat on this bench just outside Ilam eating them and drinking chocolate before attempting a rather nasty road climb.
(Trio, this is the bench I stop at on the leg breaker!)

Simon: Thanks for navigating me back to Cromford / The high peak trail. I think you picked the right moment to peal off. The bank up to Middleton Top went on forever!

jumbly said...

Sounds like a good time had by all. Some nice photos too.

bettymountaingirl said...

lovely photos! I agree that light is amazing.

trio said...

Red was only 4 hours early, not too bad for him! Shame I missed the adventure!

kate said...

jumbly- we need to bivvy!!

betty- it's my favourite part of the day

trio- you were missed :)

Runningbear said...

hobnobs and whiskey, sounds like a Ben & Jerrys combo.. good to hear you're getting a bit of nursie practice sort of in early. Rb.

kate said...

rb- i don't know what you mean ;)