Having to defrost the car this morning before heading North for the first round of Dark & White’s 2010/11 winter MBO series made me dive back inside and grab a pair of bib tights.
The journey north was gorgeous, with ribbons of mist in each successive valley as I headed out through Ashbourne and up onto the White Peak.
Arriving at Chapel in plenty of time, it was good to see lots of faces I’ve not seen for a while (I missed most of the summer league for various reasons) but it was obvious wandering around that the turn out was huge (over 150) and that all the big guns were out, all keen to get a good result for round one of the league.
After a good phaff ending in very high tyre pressures and a less wobbly map board plus bib tights and a thermal, I started strongly putting in a loop South before getting all the climb out of the way early to the east. The ascent up to Sparrowpit also gave lots of time for route planning and by the top I knew where I was going for the next 11 controls or so, and had also decided I should not have worn the bib tights, the sweat pouring off me in the sunshine.
The ride from number 8 to 10 was quite challenging with a nightmare climb out of ‘The Roych’, but I sneaked a smile as I pounded past some full sus, full face-helmeted, knee-padded locals on the way down into it (on my hard tail Bow with 50psi in the tyres!).
Looking at the time, I grabbed number 2 near Chinley before heading up to the ‘Peep o Day’ pass. There was another fierce climb up to number 16, and oddly the bridleway went straight through someone’s garden which caused me to pause for a few seconds. As it flattened out it got very rutted and I had my only off of the day, spectacularly somersaulting into a peat bog for the benefit of some ramblers.
The views up until now had been breathtaking, clear blue skies above fantastic Peaks hillsides, stretching away in all directions, but I soon lost them in the crazy descent for some controls around Whaley Bridge. As I slithered down some rocks on my cleats to number 21 by a ford I had a giggle at Dark & Whites use of the three letter backup code ‘WET’ written on the SI timing box, completely deliberate I’m sure.
I then had a conundrum: grab one more control or head for home and be early. I decided to risk it, but the climb up to number 9 was vicious on my tired legs and took far longer than I thought, leaving me blasting for home on the B6470 flat out and 7 minutes late.
I was happy with my ride and felt my route was pretty optimal, but was even happier at download to find I was 2nd in class and equal 2nd overall.
Stats – 55km, 1400m climb.
Results available at http://www.darkandwhite.co.uk/results/2010DWWinterLeagueRnd1shortv2.html
Just as I was leaving, a girl gave me a flier for a new local café, and needing some nosh I stopped off there as there were a few riders sitting outside. I can definately recommend their coffee and walnut cake, although I can’t now remember the name of the place (I’ve even looked on street view, but its too new. It’s something like ‘Cup Cakes Café’)
http://peakoutdoor.co.uk/?p=1267 for a newbies view on the event.