Winnat or Lose

30th June 2021

Our 2nd Monument Ride of 2021 to Winnats Pass – 110 miles & 9500 feet

The ride through the limestone gorge of Winnats Pass has always been a target for many cyclists.
At 2.3 kilometres in length and an average gradient of 10%, this iconic climb has been used no
less than ten times for the National Hillclimb Championships. At it’s steepest part the climb ramps
up to 20%.

In May, five of our Club riders set of from Rugeley on this Classic route, taking in the breathtaking
scenery of the Peak District. Riding through to Ashbourne they headed north using the quieter
back roads and gated tracks. It would be a gruelling but rewarding 65 miles before they hit the
climb at Winnats Pass, so a hearty breakfast at Tideswell washed down with Coffee at the 50 mile
mark would mean that our cafe legs would be flushed away before the days big challenge.

May 2021 was one of the wettest on record, so the riders were surprised to make it to the bottom
of the climb without getting a good soaking from the heavens. In fact, the weather was so kind, all
five riders stopped to strip down to just one layer before tackling the climb of the day. The
conditions were perfect, warm, dry, no wind and very little traffic to hinder us.

The secret to getting to the top of this amazing climb is not to rush the start of the climb. I am
pleased to say that all five riders managed to get to the top of this amazing climb without
stopping. Only another 55 miles to go.

The route back to Rugeley took us south through to Islam, where riders were greeted by the last
big climb of the day. A short sharp twisting climb that, again all riders managed without dabbing.
From here, through to Uttoxeter and across the reservoir at Blithfield it all felt downhill compared
to the ups and downs of the Peak District.

Another fantastic Monument ride with special thanks to Dave Pemberton Smith for the support,
hot drinks and jelly babies supplied on route and to Denise at H&D Exotic Teas of Tideswell for the
amazing breakfasts. Also, a special mention to our club rider Alan. As if the challenge of this ride
was not enough, Alan completed this incredible ride on a mountain bike…… Legend.