Peak Performance
27/28 September 2006

Team Leader 

Frank

Lightweight Team 

Frank, JR, Rob

Not-so-lightweight Team

K1, K2, Dave, Mike, Glen

Long Awaited 

A trip to the Peak District was first suggested circa 1989 so it was about time we went, especially as a proposed 2005 event was a last-minute cancellation.  In the same spirit this report is long-awaited and hence less is remembered than normal (and that’s not much).

Things that Happened that we Thought Might Happen

The terrain was hilly and tough.

The accommodation was ‘basic’ in a town where the locals would be out in force on the Saturday night; to be fair Ashbourne only scored 6 on the 10-point Coleford scale used for rating the ‘Colefordness’ of Saturday nights.

The journey down the M1 on Sunday evening would be long and tedious and would involve at least one set of serious roadworks.

Things that Didn’t Happen that we Thought Might Happen

Northern rain and wind were anticipated while the South basked in sun and warmth; the opposite happened.

The Journey Up

No excitement really except a strange phenomenon witnessed in Rob’s car; after a monster breakfast we appeared to arrive in virtually no time.  Glen decided that this resulted from an in-car conversation that was so dull that it distorted the space-time continuum – well that seems possible, anyway.

(Neither JR or Rob had the new A46 on their maps which meant everyone arrived 15 minutes after K2 & I who had Sat Nav! - Dave)

Padding – A Short Note on the Mystery of Memory

Note to readers – this section, commonly known as padding may be avoided as it is completely unrelated to the rest of the story.  I can actually remember more of a trip to the Peak District in June 1973 than the one a few weeks ago – please explain!

The elite Oxbridge undergraduates demonstrate their intelligence and celebrate the end of finals by jumping off 15 foot high bridges into 6 inches of water under the sad impression that said water will ‘break the fall’.  Maybe they’re attempting joint honours – that’s a degree certificate and a disabled badge.  Less bright students from provincial Nottingham arrange post-exam scree-running trips.  We actually hired a coach that took us on a tour of the best scree slopes in the Peaks.  Some characters, in a feeble attempt to obtain a minor criminal record (joint honours again), had liberated some crates of light ale, some crates of brown ale and quite ludicrously a few crates of Babycham; these were dutifully loaded on the coach for lubrication.  Normal scree-running is like skiing without the skis and snow comprising slaloming down the slopes trying to avoid serious injury.  However, I’m sure Glen would have enjoyed the suicidal scree-running which involved running flat out down these steep slopes, relying entirely on a crowd of extras, in bar-diving style, arresting the runner at the bottom of the slope.  An addendum to this story is that at Nottingham Races the following day our coach driver recognised me and gave me a genuine racing tip; Little Manny romped home at 13/1 and kept me in beer for a week – not difficult as the Commercial Inn in Nottingham sold Home Ales Mild at 9p per pint – now that’s inflation!

I warned you it was padding.

Day One Tour

Well, we went up and down quite a bit and in spite of some dodgy navigation arrived at the lunchtime pub; this welcoming hostelry allowed us on the premises as long as we hid the bikes under a tarpaulin around the back of the pub where they wouldn’t upset the motorists.  With a grimace they then served us three-quarter pints in pint glasses.  No matter, move on to the cyclist friendly pub with 20 real ales and free food – unfortunately it had called last orders about 6 months ago.  Eventually the decent pub was located.  After lunch we went up and down (mainly up) some more and arrived at Axe Edge, I believe, where a group photo was taken.  The highlight on the way back was the cycle track on a disused railway, which was naturally flat-ish.  Frank’s attempt to divert us from the track to tackle some late hills led to a mutiny.  A late shower dampened spirits but these were soon restored when we emerged from the final tunnel and had to brake suddenly to avoid our parked cars.

 

 

 

 

 

Evening Entertainment

Not much walking as our ‘hotel’ is in the town centre; in complete contrast to mid-Wales there are about 20 pubs to choose from including one where you are invited to ‘produce your own pub environment’.  Music too loud? – no problem, the fleece attenuator will see to that.  Pool light irritating? – pull the plug out.  Lacking air?  - crowbar the door open or break the window.  After all that, you would expect the darts to be excellent; just the opposite, they were poor beyond belief!  No matter, Ashbourne’s Coleford-rating was reasonable – drunks but no trouble.  Unfortunately, Frank had anticipated plans to room him with Mike to produce a snore-induced sleepless night.  Some single rooms were on offer but your reporter is not in the least bitter about a night on the floor.  The English Tourist Board was running a trial ‘Welcome to Ashbourne’ for motorists.  As the hotel has no dedicated parking, you may park in the town square; it costs 5p per hour but you can only pay for one hour at a time and the scheme runs through the night.  Failure to pay will lead to the destruction of your motor and a six-month prison sentence.  Welcome to England!

Day Two Tour

Breakfast was rather bizarre, as the hostelry had no milk as the supermarket didn’t open until 10 am.  I guess the gallons of milk in the newsagent 20 yards away was laced with Polonium-210.  Blimey!  I remember some seriously steep hills, an excellent lunchtime pub and another stretch on a disused railway cycle path.  Oh yes, and an excellent coffee stop at Carsington Reservoir where somebody (Glen?) failed to notice that they’d just cycled over a very large dam.  K2 managed the sole puncture.  I guess a load of other incidents occurred?!

(Keith sleeping at the back of the pack obviously failed to participate or spot the winner of the sprit finish. I made my move with a classic break a mile from home at the brow of a small hill, Mike crossed the gap and pulled me along for a few hundred yards until I burst past him to take revenge for his win in Albertville - Dave)  

The Journey Down

Tedious as forecast.  Rob enlivened the journey by failing to purchase petrol, necessitating a route change and a visit to London Gateway Services with zero miles of petrol remaining.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summary

Well worth the wait especially as the weather was better than ‘Down South’ – steep hills and excellent scenery.  Is it my imagination or did Glen really recommend a weekend trip to the Lake District?  That’s 14 hours in the car and a few hours on the bike in the rain!

 

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