Bank holiday Monday.
It was all supposed to be over by now and today was the day for kicking back and relaxing with my wife.
However, I had unfinished business to attend to.
After a hot meal, a warm bath and a good nights sleep, I woke refreshed. Although my ankle was playing up after all the pedalling and pushing, I was determined to get to Hope and finish my challenge.
I left home at around 10am to cycle the 6 miles back to where I had left the route the night before.
It was during these 6 miles that I seriously thought of quitting. My ankle was agony, my Achilles' tendon had really tightened up and I was in pain. All sorts of thoughts were running through my head. the most disturbing one being “what if it snaps as I'm approaching the top of Cutgate?”.
Thankfully, I finally found a pedalling position that eased the pain by lowering my saddle by half an inch.
Arriving at Langsett, I started to meet other bikers out riding the trails, chatting and telling them about my ride. Walkers were also taking advantage of the better weather, they were also greeted with a smile and a cheery hello.
I was soon on my own again as I started the long technical climb along Mickleden Edge and then onward to the summit. After the long, hot summer, the bogs that this whole quest is about were practically none existent - but the erosion caused by those avoiding them at their worst was still evident to see.
Up at the cairn I stopped and chatted to more bikers before the long descent to Cranberry Clough.
With no bike packing kit on my bike, I could enjoy this descent to the full and soon enough I was pedalling along the shores of a very empty Derwent reservoir.
My route then took me on some of the classic trails of the Peak District, including the fantastic Hagg Farm Zig Zags. Thanks to the gentleman from Hull, out on his Santa Cruz, for getting the gates on this great descent.
Along the edge of Ladybower, I came to the final climb of the day and the whole challenge - aptly named locally as ‘Shit Bastard’. By the time I reached the top, I was on the ridge below Win Hill and could almost see the finish line.
I had one last blast downhill on the Roman Road towards Hope. Upon arriving at the gate marking the end of the off road section, I was greeted by Jacquie who had been following my progress all day on Strava Beacon.
There were smiles all around and we shared the final road section to Cafe Adventure where my sister and brother-in-law were there with my nieces to welcome me home across the finish line.
So that was it, I'd done it.
It was not quite in the style I would have liked, but I had laid down a route to follow.
Overall it was a excellent challenge in the fact that it really pushed me, and not just because of Sunday's weather. Some sections were an absolute joy to ride, while others gave me that real "what the hell am I doing here" feeling.
The weather on Sunday certainly was a test of character, but once you're out in it, it's not that bad really. I was lucky in that I had the right clothing for the job and had spent the day feeling relatively comfortable.
I also find it quite easy to lose myself in my own thoughts and so the hours out on my own, just turning the pedals, we're almost meditative.
Can't Quit was my mantra.....
Would I do things differently next time?
To be honest, there was little that I would have changed.
I’d take some lights to allow me to carry on into the night, but I reckon that 10-12hrs of riding is enough for anyone. However, if I'd had lights, I could have taken more breaks instead of just ploughing on.
Other than adding in a lighter for the stove, I think I got things pretty spot on.
So there you have it ..........
The Advocacy Way
153 miles. 246 km.
16,300 ft of ascent. 4,970 m of ascent.
If you fancy taking on the challenge and would like the Gpx file of the route, get in touch and for a small donation to Mend Our Mountains I will send you the file.
Any questions just ask... 👍