|2003-06-05, 02:28 PM||#1|
Ride report: Tissington Trail, Derbyshire, UK
This last weekend, my family and I headed off for a camping trip in the
Peak District. On Saturday it was hot. Very hot. Not Florida hot but
probably the hottest day we've had so far this year. So, what to do?
Laze around in the heat or go for ride? Go for a ride. OK, a nice gentle
muni ride in the shady trees or a Coker ride in the sun? A Coker ride in
the sun. A short ride or the length of the Tissington Trail and back?
Er, OK, enough of the rhetorical questions, you get the idea.
There is a saying "Mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun".
Hmm, well it was 10:45am when I set off but I had an idea it wasn't
going to get cooler any time soon. Heading off from base camp across
country to the trail, I joined it at Biggin about 10 miles north of
Ashbourne (its southern-most point). Riding south is easiest, the trail
is a dismantled railway and has a pretty constant 1% grade (down to the
south, up to the north) and at each of the "stations" there are car
parks and picnic tables. The surface of the trail is nicely maintained,
gritted path. Perfect Coker territory - but hardly any shade.
Anyways, I headed off south and soon reached Alsop, no stopping at this
station for me, oh no. Express train for Tissington. Arrive Tissington
11:22am. Just over 7 miles in 37 mins - a ride that had taken an hour
the day before on a bike. Average speed 11.7mph. Not record breaking
but, hey, I'm on holiday. :-)
At this time of year Tissington is about as busy as Tissington gets.
There are 7 coaches in the car park. It's the time of the Well Dressings
where locals create mosaics from plants and flowers to decorate the 6
wells in the village. Very nice but we'd already checked them out so,
after the brief pause to check timings, it was back on the trail.
Next station was Thorpe (pretty close to Dovedale) but, again, I rode
straight through and down to Ashbourne. There's a tunnel just at the
end. Only 100m or so but the sneaky whatsits have set up a sound system
in there. As you ride through the dark you get to hear a steam train
approaching from behind. Spooky. :-}
Stopped at the cycle hire place in Ashbourne and had an ice cream while
chatting to the locals then headed back north. Met a few people that I'd
passed on the way down. Managed to UPD on the smoothest, flattest part
of the trail. How did that happen? Ah, closer inspection revealed the
smallest pot hole you've ever seen. Ho hum. Gives me a chance to
demonstrate my freemount to passersby - they love that bit. Each time I
stopped at a station, there were murmurings running through the
picnickers "quick, look, he's getting on".
Rode through Thorpe Station, stopped again at Tissington. Just a few
seconds "seat adjustment" and then carried on. By Alsop I was getting a
bit hot and tired - remember it's constant uphill from Ashbourne. That
1% doesn't seem like much on the way down but it adds up on the way
back. A few minutes sat in the shade taking on chocolate and water then
headed back up to Biggin. Not a station at Biggin, just an access point.
22 miles done and it was quite tempting to head back to camp. Pah. Man
or mouse? A longing glance towards the main road and carried on to
Hartington. Another pause here - took a photo of the old signal box that
still stands in the remains of the station. I was asked to ride "for the
kids". Jeez, I'd done 25miles and I'd be riding off in a couple of
minutes anyway. Ho hum. Smile sweetly, be entertaining. Ahem.
Back on the trail, next stop Parsley Hay. Getting well tired now so
another stop. This is where three bits of information would have been
very useful. 1. This is the end of the Tissington Trail. You'd've
thought I'd've noticed that but it just kind of merged with the High
Peak Trail. 2. The trail deteriorates noticeably after this point - more
of a rugged dirt track. 3. This is the last stop to buy refreshments
until you've completed the 3.5 miles to the end of the High Peak Trail
and another 3.5 miles back again.
Heading along the High Peak Trail really impresses the passersby. They
don't expect to see a dying man riding a Coker over the bumpy, rocky
track that passes for a trail. Come to think of it, most of the people
around here were walking. Only a couple of bikes ventured up that far.
Hmm. Anyways, about a mile past Parsley Hay, I detected a bit of
resistance from my CamelBak mouthpiece. A quick check confirmed my
fears, the 3 litre bladder was as dry as a very dry thing. Ho hum, not
far to the next stop. But the observant amongst you will have noticed
that the next stop had no refreshments. Ooops. It was a bit warm. I was
a bit peckish. The food I had was chocolate and cereal bars. The kind of
stuff that goes well with water but not so well without. Ho hum, next
stop is the end of the line. Headed off for the last leg and, as luck
would have it, came across a sign for a pub. Splendid. Headed off the
trail for 100yds or so and got the nice lady to top up the CamelBak. No
excuse to not complete the ride now - back to the trail just about a
mile to the end. Collapse in a heap, drink lots, eat lots. Water never
tasted so good. Chocolate *always* tastes good.
That was 17.5 miles of uphill from Ashbourne. I'm probably exaggerating
a little. There was a bit of flat stuff, maybe even some down, but it
certainly felt like 17.5 miles of uphill. But south is down and that's
where I'm headed. It's still bumpy though. Managed some excellent, if
unplanned, one-footed Coker riding at a couple of places. Did I mention
it was bumpy? Made it back to Parsley Hay without any UPDs. I was
impressed. People I passed were impressed.
Time for a rest. The downhill is slightly easier on the legs but the
bumpiness prevents me getting too much benefit. The fresh cold water in
my CamelBak is helping with the heat and, strangely, the bumpiness is
helping ease seat discomfort - the effect of moving around being more
beneficial that the negative effect of the bouncing.
On to Hartington, the last stop before I get off at Biggin. Not much of
a rest because I know I'm nearly there. Only a mile or so on the trail
and just over a mile from the trail back to base. I can do this. I've
ridden 50 miles in a day before and this'll be less than 40. Off we go,
looking for the turnoff. It must be along here somewhere. Ah, there's
the road. A nice single track trail down from the main trail to a gate.
A few walkers just about to come up on the trail hold the gate for me.
They're not quite sure what to make of me but there you go.
The route back to base is partly on road and partly footpath. This bit's
really steep. OK, not *really* steep, but steep when you've reached that
stage that 1% is serious uphill. Anyways, I quite like uphills in the
right circumstances. I enjoy the challenge and hate losing. Full power
up the hill, nice and steady, left, right, left, right. The walkers are
still watching. Hmm. Definitely can't get off and walk, then. :-)
Made it back to camp at 3:45pm. 5 hours to the minute of leaving.
Computer shows 37.3 miles, average riding speed 10.1mph. CamelBak shows
about 5 litres of water consumed on the ride. Now, I've always
considered that I drink less water than I should on a ride. Things
improved a bit when I got the CamelBak but I usually still need to force
myself to drink. Not today. There've been discussion about whether a
CamelBak is worth it. I wouldn't be without mine.
Oh yeah, during the ride I overtook loads of bikes and was overtaken by
just one. Of course, it helps that most of the riders were family groups
with young kids in tow (as we had been the day before) but, hey, you
have to claim these little victories.
|2003-06-05, 02:48 PM||#2|
Waffle-Tosser, Time-bider and JCTK
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: the bustling metropolis of Nelspruitia, south africa
Re: Ride report: Tissington Trail, Derbyshire, UK
|2003-06-05, 04:34 PM||#3|
Roland Hope School of Unicycling
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Long Bennington, Lincolnshire, England.
I was with you all the way on that one. Glad to see I'm not the only one daft enough. :0)
Last summer, I rode from Middleton Top (High Peak Trail) to the Tissington Trail, then DOWN into Ashbourne, then back UP from Ashbourne and across to Middleton Top. I too ran out of water on a stinking hot day. I also ran out of food supplies.
I also famously lost my temper with two lads who asked where my other wheel was, challenged them to sort it out man to man, and suddenly noticed that there were grannies and small children hiding beneath all the picnic tables. Ooops! Dehydration and fatigue can make a man stir crazy in the high peaks.
That climb up from Ashbourne is a killer, because it's relentless for about 18 miles. The descent isn't much easier because of the constant back pressure needed onthe pedals.
Good to see you're training hard for the Blue Nun.
My unicycle doesn't make me a clown or you a comedian.
|2003-06-06, 12:23 PM||#4|
Re: Ride report: Tissington Trail, Derbyshire, UK
> go fo a ride and take all of rec.sport.unicycling with u
Hey, we'll have no freeloading here. You've now got to go on a 37 mile
ride to pay for it. :-)
> Glad to see I'm not the only one daft enough. :0)
> Last summer, I rode from Middleton Top (High Peak Trail) to the
> Tissington Trail, then DOWN into Ashbourne, then back UP from Ashbourne
> and across to Middleton Top. I too ran out of water on a stinking hot
> day. I also ran out of food supplies.
> I also famously lost my temper with two lads who asked where my other
> wheel was, challenged them to sort it out man to man, and suddenly
> noticed that there were grannies and small children hiding beneath all
> the picnic tables. Ooops! Dehydration and fatigue can make a man stir
> crazy in the high peaks.
I only got one "you've lost a wheel" and that was towards the end of the
ride. A few comments were along the lines of "there's always one
showoff". Considering I was just riding a trail minding my own business
I thought that was a bit off - but they said it in a pleasant way so I
figured it was the only thing they could think of and let them off.
> That climb up from Ashbourne is a killer, because it's relentless for
> about 18 miles. The descent isn't much easier because of the constant
> back pressure needed onthe pedals.
> Good to see you're training hard for the Blue Nun.
Something like that. I was out training last night. Did a whole mile -
and that was without a unicycle. :-)
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