Where & when: Macclesfield, Cheshire, 10 April 2011
Distance: 105km (65 miles)
The sun shines on the righteous, or so the saying goes. The saying could be apt for the Peak 100 Spring Classic.
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Organisers – the KidsCan charity and Peak Cycle Sport – also organised the Macc Monster ride in October and got lovely sunny conditions. However, with the Peak 100 Spring Classic, they raised the bar higher and picked a near-perfect day.
Leaving the ride headquarters behind, there was a neutralised first few kilometres to see the riders safely through the outskirts of Macclesfield. Once through Langley and being nicely warmed up, the wide range of abilities became apparent as the bunch began to split and those riding with urgency forced the pace.
The flat stretch of road next to the Ridgegate Reservoir in Macclesfield Forest would be one of the few flat stretches of road on the ride; the roads were almost constantly up and down, the 105-kilometre route having over 2,000 metres of climbing.
After an almost chilly start, the blue sky promised a cracking day out, so much so that not long into the ride there was a distinct summery feel as riders stopped and arm-warmers got rolled up and tucked away into rear pockets.
After the pretty but challenging and narrow climb of Hanging Gate Ridge, riders had a magnificent view across the Cheshire Plains and the serious hills of the Peak District. The not-too-busy A54 took riders down the twisty descent shrouded with trees and past Bosley Reservoir. Riders crossed the A523 and turned left up Sprink Lane where the next hills to challenge the riders were along the tree-lined slopes of Timbersbrook.
After passing Newtown, riders crossed the A527 and began the climb up Mow Cop. Organisers bypassed the steeper slopes past the Cheshire View pub, in favour of a gentler route to the Mow Cop summit, which nevertheless still resulted in the great Cheshire-wide views from the top which were superbly clear in the fabulous weather.
From Mow Cop riders headed east back across the A527 and climbed on more quiet roads to the summit of Lask Edge, providing yet another fantastic panoramic view over the three counties of Cheshire, Derbyshire and Staffordshire.
The very pretty reservoir and village of Rudyard, after which poet and writer Rudyard Kipling was named, led riders to their first feed. Once refuelled, the tree-lined hills once again beckoned.
Riders climbed through the dense trees up Bosley Minn and were soon back on the A54 for a short stretch before turning right near Allgreave and back onto the quiet, relaxed Peak District back roads. After climbing up through the tiny village of Flash, riders crossed the A53 and took in a loop to the south of Buxton.
The sharp end
Riders headed up through Earl Sterndale, a pretty village surrounded by limestone and hills which was unluckily on the receiving end of a stray German bomb in World War Two, which destroyed its church.
The last serious hill for the riders to ascend was the sharp climb of Axe Edge; not too tough on its own, but after 50 constantly hilly miles, the slopes did catch a few by surprise. With Axe Edge behind them, riders crossed the A53 and headed over the moor top into a rising headwind. They continued to head for home on the A537, passing the Cat and Fiddle pub, which was very busy in the spring, afternoon sunshine.
Riders enjoyed the last descent along Buxton Old Road and a steady ride back the Macclesfield headquarters. Many riders returned to the event headquarters complete with the start of early-season tan lines – not usually expected up north in April!
Once off the bike, riders were each given a voucher for food from the well-stocked hot food stand and the relaxed feel after the ride had tired bodies sitting out in the warm sunshine discussing the beautiful route and the amazing weather.
Event website: www.peak100.co.uk
What’s so special? Kidscan
Once again the organising team from the KidsCan cancer charity and Peak Cycle Sport delivered a fabulous event. The quality of the ride experience and the fact that all the revenue from the event goes towards such a worthwhile cause, helped provide a really positive ride experience.