This week I managed to get out and have a ride in the Peak District. This was partly in preparation for the British Heart Foundation Peak District MTB Challenge. I wanted to have a bit of a practise on the terrain as it’s far more technical than anything I can ride locally. I also wanted to test my ability to climb the hills with my new single chainring setup (more on that another day).

So I parked my car in one of the car parks alongside Ladybower Reservoir. Then once I’d switched my chainring from my 38T to my 34T and the rain had calmed down a little, I headed off up into the hills towards Hagg Farm.

I think I have determined that there will be times that I will be pushing on the rocky climbs. I could certainly improve matters by reducing my rear tyre pressure a little from what it is currently (a much higher than usual 40 psi – forgot to drop it back down) but I will still expect a few spin outs that will leave me stationary on the steepest bits. Add to this the fierce terrain on the descents and there will be the odd ‘foot down’ moments too. Generally though I have now reassured myself that I’m up for the challenge and am now much more fluent in riding in ‘The Peaks’.

...and it gets much rockier than this!
…and it gets much rockier than this!

This photo above is taken at the bottom of the Hagg Farm descent. By this point the rocks are significantly smaller, the gradient shallower and the trail easier to ride. Hence it doesn’t look too technical! From where I parked this became my first descent and not having built up the confidence yet, I did have to get off and push down a couple of bits. By the time I finished the ride however I was flying and the descent down from Lockerbrook to Gores became one continuous, fluent, pumping, suitability sketchy, rock fest. Over the course of my peaks ride I went from hoping it wouldn’t be too techie for the challenge next month, to being really glad it is!

MuddyGoose resting on the bridge
MuddyGoose resting on the bridge

Of course riding in the peaks isn’t all about the rocky descents, there’s the small matter of some outstanding scenery too. For me it was mostly unsettled weather with a mixture of drizzle and light rain, but I still managed to get a few photos.

Winnat's Pass
Winnat’s Pass

My route took me past Winnat’s Pass and up the old broken road to Mam Tor instead but this is a hill climb that has to be visited at some point in the future. OK, it’s more of a roadie climb and if I had a road bike I’d take that option but even with MuddyGoose it still deserves a good proper conquering!

There's a reservoir down there somewhere!
There’s a reservoir down there somewhere!

Needless to say, I will be back and not just for the BHF challenge ride. More on the challenge in another post!