Rod & Gerry joined Dave for a gravel adventure around Winnats Pass and Ladybower Reservoir ahead of their epic gravel ride across Wales.
Parking at Bamford just outside Hope in the Peak District they rode down the road into Hope before heading up a gravel trail that got steeper and rougher the further they went. All riders were forced to walk with their bikes on this first climb……. was this a sign of how the ride would be?
Cresting the top of the climb the riders were rewarded with stunning views and some tarmac, however this quickly gave way to gravel as they approached the top of Winnats Pass. All riders were amazed as the rode down the pass at how steep it felt, how on earth the 5 riders who only 2 weeks before had ridden up the same pass with ease…..Well they all made it to the top without getting off.
Once at the bottom of the Pass the riders turned left towards the broken road (Old Man Torr Road) that snakes it’s way back up to the top of Winnats Pass. and stopped for their first coffee. Following the road to the right they rode up to the saddle that passes just below Man Torr before heading off road once more for a gravel climb to the ridge of Man Torr. The views that opened up were stunning even with the cloud cover.
It wasn’t long before the riders were treated to their first technical descent all the way from the ridge back down to the road far below.
From this photo the riders descended into the valley on the left before climbing back up the other side and heading towards Ladybower Reservoir.
After a long and steady climb another descent to a river crossing and a very steep climb back up which was the 2nd time all the riders had to get off the bikes and push. The terrain was progressively becoming rocky and the riding pace seemed to be getting slower.
Now they faced one of the longest and most technical descents on the ride. By the time they reached the bottom their arms and legs were aching from the consistent pounding of the terrain, however they all had massive smiles and were really enjoying the challenge of the ride.
I have got to say that both Gerry & Rod did really well. But a special mention to Gerry who before this ride would walk the descents, but now as you can see in this photo she is riding down them and negotiating the terrain really well. Believe me when I say that the rocks at the bottom of the hill are the same size as the ones at the top which were mixed in with solid rock sections off camber bits and it was steeper. Gerry if we were in the Scouts you would have earned your rock descent badge.
After this descent we crossed the main road and climbed again before dropping down to Ladybower reservoir and a well earned lunch stop.
After lunch there was one last climb and it went on for ever, maybe because we had done so much climbing but we all got the the top and now had to get down Hagg Side which is a famous mountain bike descent. It twists and turns, with some natural Berms. It was hard on gravel bikes but we were here to improve our riding skills and I can honestly say that all the riders got a lot from the day.
Now it was back over the main road and a nice easy ride alongside the reservoir and a gentle drop back down to Bamford which was where we started from.