Saturday, June 09, 2007

Hope Loop

Posted on behalf of Dozer...Early start for the Westoning posse, on the M1 for 6:30 (it were empty), arrived Hope station around 8:30, Chris and pals arrived shortly afterwards. Short spell reassembling bikes and working out how to switch on Farqui's GPS to record the route (Ta) and off by 9.00am.

The ladies were our rescue team if things went really, really bad and doing a short route around Hope but joined us on the first climb. Steady climb up to Hope Brink on the Bridleway, I was annoyed when I hit a rock and had to dab a foot down, if only I knew what was to come :D We then followed the roman road along the ridge and said goodbye to the ladies who headed off to the SW on their route. We got to our first decent which according to Farqui's Tracklog looked like a nice flowing decent, and turned out to be a 1 mile long ‘rock garden’ with jumps of the left side. With thoughts of Afan in my head and another 40 miles to go I went very slowly as the other 3 disappeared into the distance with whoops of joy. I walked several stretches, just getting back on the bike to see Chris round the corner with his camcorder (not looking forward to seeing that footage!).

The next section was a bit of a slog on the road up SnakePass to Doctors Gate culvert, but not too bad. We then headed off road again :D along a sort of bumpy ‘cobbled’ (not really) Roman road, quite hard to balance and steer so I made a few hasty adjustments to my rebound settings.

Chris then warned us the decent down into Glossop was a bit tricky at the top and he had been over the bars 3 times the last time he did the track (we had reports later on in the day of a few bad accidents on this section). So again the other 3 shot off as I walked sections. I got back on the bike a few times but with bogs (why did I laugh at Darren for wearing his ‘Seal Skins’) and some sections being un-rideable? lots of walking. The last stretch down into Glossop was easy and relaxing, where we stopped at a pub for a few pints, of orange squash :(

Now I had looked at the elevation of the route for the next section and knew we were in for a long steady climb (1,000 ft over about 10 miles). We followed the contour of the valley (south side) up out of Glossop on a mixture of small roads and the ‘Trans Pennine’ trail. We crossed on to the North side between Torside and Woodhead (Res) to allow us to do some gentle Bridleway sections.


We continued along the Longendale trail, which was more like what I had been expecting and assume this is what the Pennine Way Bridleway will be like, if not good look on the 100 mile ride :) We passed a few other mountain bikers scooting down on the opposite direction smiling. The track through Woodland Clough was boggy (see photo of Chris’ bike later) and much of the track was not rideable (happy to miss this section next time, what do I mean next time !). The decent along the ‘Snow Road’ looked good on paper but was actually 4 narrow ruts to choose from for 1 mile, Darren and Chris flew along, Dom and myself took it slower with lots of concentration.

Pub Stop – Pints of coke (caffeine) and bladder refills.

Getting warmer!

Chris had been warning us about the climb out of Cut Gate. The first section was a sort of man made rocky steps affair, which Darren did his best to clear but caught his front wheel on a rock and went flying over the bars (up-hill). This is where he managed to break his bar ends using his ribs, ouch! I was expecting a steep climb not loooooong and gentle, but the tricky technical climb was made hard/impossible by tired legs, with Darren and myself suffering now. Chris had an ugly looking spill (fortunatley he was OK) at about 2 mph, tumble to the side and didn’t manage to unclip in time trapping his leg under the frame (I almost had lots of very similar moments it has to be said, but just managing to unclip at the last millisecond). I found it very hard to even pick a line through the mixture of rocks and bog, never mind ride it! The track was being rebuilt in places, but it was hard to tell some times what was track and what was a lump of rocks dumped there ready to build track.

The decent to Howden Res was more fun, a few sections I walked because I was getting really tired and my judgment had gone. There was an almost paved section that was quick, but not sure the purists like Chris though it was the correct thing to have on the trail.

So something like 8 hours to do 32 miles! The last 12 miles round the edge of the reservoirs was a gentle ‘family’ track and mainly slightly downhill. It might have been boring but the scenery was good (hadn’t registered that much before) and it was a welcome relief and pushed our average speed up!

Chris had told us we had a small hill to climb on one of the back roads, so we could chill out. Now let this be a lesson on concentration, Chris managed to somehow go flying over the bars while trying to get out of the saddle, nasty looking crash with bad crazes and a bit of swelling, Dom just managed to avoid running over him by valiantly heading into the nettles :)

The ladies were waiting for us in the car park, with the deck chairs out and G&Ts (maybe not but they looked relaxed, good job the weather was nice).

9.5 hours start to finish. MBR and the rest of you, now that’s what I call a ‘Killer Loop’ (and we missed out a small section at the end).

Thoughts, regrets and thanks:

Thanks to the other 3 chaps for waiting for me at the bottom of the downhill sections.

Thanks to Chris for planning the route (I have now made a voodoo doll of him :)) and the excellent navigation through out the day.

Thanks to the ladies for being on rescue standby.

Regrets, I wish I had done more of the first downhill, looked the most enjoyable

Thoughts, I would miss out the Woodland Clough section if I was mad enough to do it again. Cut Gate would be worth having another go at by itself with a fresh pair of legs!

I got through 7 litres of fluid!

Mentally very tiring!

Cheers, Dozer

Route; 44.6miles, 6hr 45mins, 6.6mph average
Pic's; - to follow from Darren and Chris
Posse; Chekov (On-One h/tail), Darren (Canondale), Dom (Canondale h/tail lefty), Dozer (Endozer), Jenni (Cotic h/tail), Zena (Trek FuelEX)
Mechanicals; Darren bust a bar end
Weather; warm & dry, overcast with sunny spells, windless and humid


dozer said...

Couple of useful links I found, showing pics and other info of the tracks we did.

Farqui said...

It sounds like I missed a treat, with plenty of everything thrown at ya's. Bravo for soldering on and now that you've captured the loop, we'll know where not to go ! ;)

Here's Dozers links doing the clicky thang, pics of Cut Gate and Doctors Gate.

uphilla said...

Well done Dozer - to think I was envious of your day out in the Peak District, was committed to a tough walk in Snowdonia which was also very testing on the legs. Think I might have had an easier day by the sound of things....

dozer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.

dozer said...

More pics on here. The ruts on the snow road were deeper when we did them though.

Snow Road