Bank holiday Monday, it was all supposed to be over by now and today was the day for kicking back and relaxing with my wife. But I had unfinished business to attend to.
A hot meal, warm bath and a good nights sleep I woke refreshed, although my ankle was playing up after all the pedalling and pushing but I was determined to get to Hope.
I left home around 10am to cycle the 6 miles back to where I left the route.
It was during these six miles I seriously thought of quitting. My ankle was agony, my Achilles’ tendon had really tightened up. I was in pain. All sorts of thoughts were running through my head. The most disturbing one being what if it snaps as I’m approaching the top of Cutgate.
I finally found a pedalling position that eased the pain by lowering my saddle by half an inch. It was game on.
Arriving at Langsett I started to meet other bikers out riding the trails, chatting and telling them about my ride. Walkers were also taking advantage of the better weather, they were also greeted with a smile and a cheery hi.
I was soon on my own again as I started the long technical climb along Mickleden Edge and the onward to the summit. The bogs that this whole quest is about were practically none existent but the erosion caused by those avoiding them at their worst was evident to see.
Up at the cairn I stopped and chatted to more bikers before the long descent to Cranberry Clough.
With no bikepacking kit on I could enjoy this descent to the full and soon enough I was pedalling along the shore of a very empty Derwent reservoir.
My route then took me on some of the classic trails including the fantastic Hagg Farm Zig Zags. Thanks to the gentleman from Hull out on his Santa Cruz for getting the gates on this great descent.
Along the edge of Ladybower to the final climb of the day aptly named locally as Shit Bastard. On the ridge below Win Hill I could almost see the finish line.
One last blast along the roman road and down to the gate at the end of the off road section only to be greeted by Jacquie who had been following my progress all day on Strava Beacon. Smiles all around we shared the final road section to Cafe Adventure where my Sister and Brother in law were there with my nieces to welcome me across the finish line.
So that was it I’d done it. Not quite in the style I would have liked, but I had laid down a route to follow.
Overall it was a excellent challenge in the fact that it really pushed me, and not just because of Sunday’s weather. Some sections were an absolute joy to ride, while others gave me that real “what the hell am I doing here” feeling.
The weather on Sunday certainly was a test of character, but once you’re out in it, it’s not that bad really. I was lucky in that I had the right clothing for the job and spent the day relatively comfortable.
I also find it quite easy to lose myself in my own thoughts and so the hours out on my own just turning the pedals we’re almost meditative.
Can’t Quit being my mantra…..
Would I do things differently next time?
I would take some lights to allow me to carry on into the night, but I reckon 10-12hrs of riding is enough for anyone. If I’d had lights, it would have meant that I could have taken more breaks instead of just ploughing on. Other than that, oh and a lighter for the stove, I think I got things pretty spot on.
So there you have it ……….
The Advocacy Way
153 miles. 246 km.
16,300 ft of ascent. 4,970 m of ascent.
If you fancy taking on the challenge and would like the Gpx file of the route, get in touch and for a small donation to Mend Our Mountains I will send you the file.
Any questions just ask… 👍