Sunday, 19 June 2011

Peake District 100 Miles 19/06/11

'You suffer, so they don't have too" 

Says it all really doesn't it? 104 miles, nearly 3000m of climbing (equivalent to three times up Mount Snowdon). This was always going to be our biggest challenge yet and would serve as a real test of our current fitness! 

After an early start (6am!) we arrived at the car park at 7am, ready for our 7:30am mass start. Turning out onto the main road we immediately had a 25 minute, 200 meter ascent to warm up with, lovely! After the first big ascent the course continued to peak and trough until the first food station at 25 miles. A well stocked table of flap jacks, cakes and ZipVit nibbles set us back on our way.

We knew the next 30 miles until lunch would be the hardest we'd have to face. A massive confidence boost came when ascending the biggest and steepest hill either of us have ever seen. We were the only ones who made it to the top without having to get off and push!! Really happy with our effort we set about trying to catch up the next group of riders (now referred to as taking names). The miles, then the hours ticked by without either of us really realising. The course took us through the many peaks and troughs of the peak district, taking in the picturesque Errwood Reservoir amongst the many quiet back roads.

Shortly after this we were presented with quite a big ascent, after changing down to a more suitable gear we put our heads down and started climbing. After around 5 minutes, roughly covering about a mile, we reached the top. We were then faced with cross roads and no sign to tell us where to go! Many checks of the map later we concluded that we had only gone and missed a right turn right at the bottom of the hill! Absolute nightmare! 

We had a good laugh at lunch with some guys that, because of our detour, we had managed to over take twice so far. The lunch buffet was a massive feast of pasta, pate, noodles, breads, crisps and lots of cake! After eating so much that we were forced to crawl along for the next 5 or 6 miles out of fear of seeing it all again, we continued on our way. However the rumors at lunch were that the hardest part was out of the way.

Immediately after lunch we mistakenly added another 2 miles onto the route and over took the same group of cyclists for the fourth time that day, despite them not passing us once! Aside from the really big ascents, nothing prepares you for the constant onslaught of peaks and troughs, sometimes climbing 100-200m only to fly back down the other side.

A quick descent into Hartington provided another flapjack/banana/malt loaf boost and we were back to attacking the final 25 miles. Anyone who cycles in the Peaks knows what is coming next, probably the most painful way to return to Sheffield after 90+ miles of cycling, Froggat Edge. A tormentingly long 2.5 miles of gradual ascent and fake apexes that trick you into believing you've reached the top at every corner. To our surprise we weren't as 'zombie like' as we expected to be during this big final ascent, before we knew it we were cresting Froggat and taking in another amazing view across the Peaks.

During the final freewheel over the last mile we had an exhilarating sense of achievement. We thoroughly expected to have to drag ourselves across the line, however we didn't have to! Thanks to all the training miles put in so far, and the extremely well stocked food stations we both crossed the line feeling brilliant! A free massage corrected any little knots or strains, after all we had been cycling for a little over 9 hours in total!

To end the day we sat outside the finish line, watching other riders finish with an ice cold pint. We're both really happy with how today turned out and really can't wait for the end to end now!

Total: 108 miles
Total Ascent: 3127 meters

Nathan + James

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