It was the first Sunday in quite a while to have the opportunity to meet up with a few of the lads for a social ride. We met up on the edge of Sheffield at 9am at what was the Riverlin Post Office.
Weather, grey and damp though relatively mild. Road up Manchester Road A57 to Ladybower, down to Yorkshire Bridge through the back lanes to rejoin the main Hope Valley road to Hope village. Turned right in the village to Edale and over Mam Nick (one in six as featured in Killer Climbs).
Along Rushup Edge to cut through to Peak Forest and head towards Wormhill before turning left along the lanes to Wheston and in to the back of Tideswell. Roads absolutely filthy with mud and other farmyard material. Still on my ‘summer bike’ Pinarello, so you can imagine the state I was in. Dropped down to Litton and then down to Cressbrook to join the bottom of the Monsal Climb.
We arrived just in time to see the 11am start. I think I’m right in saying it was the 77th edition of this event and local man, Malcolm Elliott still holds the hill record.
I was the first of our little outing up the climb to join the enthusiastic crowd at the top, a mix of club riders, wives and girlfriends with their families. It makes for a good atmosphere. I even had a few photos taken of myself as I neared the summit which made me smile.
I now know what it feels like to be on the other side of things. We parked the bikes up and joined friends we had arranged to meet. It was good to have a chat and catch up on news and views as we watched the ‘anti-gravity’ specialists do battle on the 15 per cent gradient.
The numerous cafes at the top were doing a roaring trade in tea and cakes which I got to sample. Highly recommended. Grabbed a couple of video clips so you too can sample the atmosphere. Have to say it got a bit chilly standing about, so it was straight off after last man, Russ Downing crossed the line in a 1:22.
We then took the road back via Great Longstone (home to Roy Hattersley), Baslow, Calver and Froggatt to drop down in to Sheffield. The Froggatt climb is a favourite of mine as it is with many other riders from around this area. Some may disagree, mind.
A most enjoyable morning and got back just in time as the weather closed in for the afternoon. A good 53 mile run.
Andy Jones is Cycling Weekly’s resident photographer, and has covered pretty much every major cycle race there is, from downhill mountain biking to the Tour de France. You can see many of Andy’s photos in our online Gallery section.