Ever since David, a friend from Lincoln, came out with me in the hills of Derbyshire a few weeks ago, we’ve been wanting to do it again.
This time David wanted to pass through Dronfield (where the club I belong to, Fusion CC, are based) to take a look at the house he grew up in – a trip down memory lane, so to speak.
Well, for those of you in the Peak District you’ll know what the weather was like yesterday, and it wasn’t good! But undeterred David arrived at my place about 12 noon and we put his bike in the kitchen – one has to get one’s priorities right.
And as it was errr, a little damp we drove down the hill to J E James Cycles in Chesterfield so David could look at waterproof gilets and I could do likewise for rear panniers.
He managed to find a funKier transparent gilet for just over £30 and I bought a pair of Ortileb Back-Roller Classic waterproof panniers reduced from £110 to £92.99 – more about the panniers in another post. We returned back to my place very pleased with our purchases.
Eventually, the rain stopped and we left Brimington at 3.30pm, headed over towards Curbar via Barlow and Commonside Road, a cat 4 climb – had a bit of trouble with the cleat pulling out of the pedal. Before reaching Curbar we turned left onto the A621 and headed down into Baslow, now following the Tuesday night Fusion CC Chain Gang route that takes in the hill out of Grindleford.
I could tell David was finding it easier than the first ride we did – I’m guessing from his Strava activity that all those miles he’d been putting in lately were paying dividends.
We pushed on through Baslow to Calver, cut through some narrow lanes, over a narrow little bridge, with picturesque views of the river Derwent and on up the hill to the junction with the road into Grindleford. I passed on my advice to David about climbing Grindleford – don’t go all out at the beginning of the climb as this is the steepest part and to do so would only leave him with depleted energy for the rest of the climb. It does have its easier sections where time can be made up, if too much energy hasn’t been expended earlier on.
We agreed that we’d both go at our own pace and whoever got to the top first would wait at the Fox House pub. Incidently, this is the only time Fusion CC riders wait for each other, at the top of Grindleford, on Tuesday Chain gangs anyway.
I did a personal best (PB) time of 11:56, 38 seconds quicker than my previous; this is both good and bad news. I was riding my winter bike, complete with mudguards and a newly fitted back rack, so it’s great that I put in a PB. But bad that this has happened before on the Millthorpe climb. This is beginning to bother me as I should be putting in PBs on my summer bike, a carbon road bike weighing 1Kg lighter, with a stiffer frame, which in theory should transfer more power through to the pedals. I’m beginning to wonder if the riding position on the winter bike is better – something I’m going to have to look into.
Grindleford Leaderboard for my age group showing my PB
Once at the top of the climb, I stuffed a banana in my face and put my jacket on as it had started to rain quite persistently coming up Grindleford. David did it in 14.44, a very creditable effort for a first attempt – and he looked no where near as shattered as I did for my first effort.
As we headed for Owler Bar, Holmesfield and Dronfield the weather started to brighten up and so did the pace. David was pushing on and I found myself needing to work the pedals harder to keep up.
As we came into Dronfield Woodhouse, turned right into Carr Lane, David pulled over and pointed back to the Primary school he attended in his childhood. From there he took me to the family house and from the grin on his face it was obvious he was enjoying re-living his memories.
The icing on the cake was a gentleman who came out while I was taking a photo of David in front of the house. David explained that the photo was to remind him of where he lived in Dronfield. To which the man replied, “Then you’re a Marriott.” Considering they only met briefly when the gentleman had viewed the house in 1982 I’d call that a bloody good memory! They chatted for a while (turns out the gentleman’s son is a keen cyclist, too). We didn’t get invited in for a cup of tea, and I think David would quite like to have looked round the place, but he was happy enough just to have seen it again.
David with the “new” owner in front of his old family home
Having stopped for a while we were getting chilly so we moved off again. David was now the navigator and got us onto Cowley Lane, down into Barlow and back home – Click here to see the route we took.
We got an Indian takeaway before David headed back to Lincoln and after posting in David’s local Cycle Group on Facebook it looks like we may have other takers for a mini Peak District ride, which would be cool.
Looking forward to the next one David.