Where do the years go?

Every year I get to mid-August and realise, yet again, I’ve not made the most of the long nights.

As I sit here, it is raining and starting to get dark and I can feel the Autumn peeking at me from around the corner like an unwelcome neighbour.

This year, with the advent of good old COVID-19, I’ve managed to get quite a bit of riding done. This is mainly because I didn’t have as much travelling to do as normal as well as trying to maintain some sort of sanity!

But I felt I couldn’t let the sweetest day of the year go without some sort of recognition for it’s majesty. So I messaged my 2 besties.

Pick your spot

The obvious thing to do was create a big loop not too far from home that took in some of the best riding in the UK. The answer to my prayers was the Peak District; The Dark Peak to be more specific. I often dream of living there, so it very much feels like home.

I enlisted the support of my 2 best mates and set about creating a route that would make us both whoop with delight and at the same time deliver some pain to ensure the memory of the day remained for some time.

We started out in Hope. This was the first time I’d ridden with mates since lockdown. Immediately, we were laughing. Dave, right on queue, announced his pack had been leaking. Somehow, he had 3-4 holes in his bag and it was pissing water everywhere.

So despite a long tough 40+mile mountain bike route ahead of us, Dave would now be carrying 2 small water bottles. I suggested he drank the entire camelbak bladder before we set off 🤷‍♂️.

Conditions

The Peak can be a bike killer. I have eaten through a set of brake pads numerous times in a matter of miles when it is wet.

But luck was on our side. There had been some rain a day or 2 before, but just enough to dampen the dust a little. The grip was perfect for riding fast. These were dream mountain biking conditions.

Big Day

The video will do more justice than any sort of description I can give in a blog post. However, it is probably worth listing out some learnings from riding a big loop in the Peak District:

Top 5 things to remember when planning a big mountain bike ride:

  • Ensure your Camelbak isn’t leaking
  • Don’t ride UP Jacobs ladder (Unless you are a trials rider)
  • Make sure the route is just a bit further than you think you can ride. This will give an element of adventure
  • Don’t take salad for fuel, it is not enough
  • If you are going to warn your mates about a cliff edge, don’t fall off it yourself