This post is for Trevor Brown in Austrailia. Rooting for you, buddy.
Over recent years, my long distance cycling habit has been a little bit curtailed. I’ve been working many Saturdays, when I generally went on long dayrides, or had other commitments. This year, I intend to rectify that, and yesterday started as I mean to contiunue – with a 122 mile rile up into the Peak District.
My journey took me up the A515 from Lichfield to Boylestone, Brailsford, Hulland Ward and Cromford, up the High Peak Trail, back to Ashbourne on the Tissington Trail, down into Ilam via Mappleton and Blore and back via Throwley, the Weaver Hills, Ellastone, Sudbury, Tutbury andLichfield.
I set out at 5:30am, to a frosty but clear day, and in order to stoke the miles in, didn’t stop for anything other than breakfast until Cromford. I got back about 9pm. I stopped to look at a lot of stuff, and really took the air. I averaged about 13mph moving speed, which isn’t too shabby for an old bloke, but the last 15 miles were hell – I was suffering stomach cramps. There was about 1500m vertical climb in all.
I’ve been feeling old and unfit a lot lately. Achieving this made me feel better – but this is no country for old men. Those hills still grind.
The drop from Blore to Ilam remains remarkable, and I captured it on video. Top speed about 38mph. The music is Calexico’s brilliant instrumental ‘Close Behind’ (in the Western film I’ll never, ever direct, the hero rides into the sunset to this track).
If you’re wondering what the exchange is between me and the couple cycling, I’m warning them about the steep downhill – it’s quite a challenge and takes many rookie Peak District cyclists by surprise.
I also bagged the long, joyous downhill from The Walk, at the top of the Weaver Hills, down to Ellastone via Wooton. Top speed here, 42mph. If only going up the hill was so easy…
The music is the gorgeous ‘Mind How You Go’ by The Advisory Circle.
The wildflowers and spring lambs are wonderful this year, and the countryside really showed itself beautifully. I note the red cowslips are still up on the Weaver Hills (I noted them in my second ever post here). Minninglow, Ilam and the dales are as gorgeous as ever. I’ve missed having them in my life.
Totally unexpected were the four wind turbines at Longcliffe – beautiful, elegant. That’s my England, right there. I could look at them all day. It’s a sign of the current political myopia that we’re allowing the nutcases of UKIP to dictate policy on such a limitless, clean source of electricity. And yes, you can build one in my gaden. I’d love it. I could be Windy Bob Miller…
For more of this sort of thing, please check out my 365daysofbiking journal…