Friday, 16 August 2013

Mam tor - pt. Deux

In my previous post, I mentioned that I was planning on conquering Mam tor from the Castleton (eastern) side, in the peak district. A friend at work had told me that it was more difficult to approach the climb from the Western side, which I achieved the previous month. Anyway, I may have mis-heard my colleague, but I can definitely say that the Eastern approach is much harder. So much so, that I had to bail when I was approximately 2/3 up the climb.

Perhaps it was the lack of mental preparation leading up to the ride, the scale of the climb, the wind that was being funneled down the valley into my face; or the demons inside my head, saying 'you gunna bail'; or allt he above, but I did not succeed. BUT, I will return!!

To be honest with myself, I was already struggling to turn the crank in second gear just as the climb was getting interesting at a cattle grid at the foot of the main climb, I really needed to be in third or fourth with the remaining gears in reserve at this stage. A guy just passed me after the cattle grid, which was some motivation to carry on as long as I did, but he carried on climbing after I bailed and disappeared around a corner promptly after.

The guy who passed me, got me thinking about the geometry on my bike. His was a proper roadie with 26" wheels, where as mine is a cross with slightly larger 700cc wheels. I'm not sure how much bigger mine are compared to his, but I would imagine that having a smaller wheel on climbs would be an advantage..., but how much? I'm going to Google it and find out.

To climb the rest of the hill, I had to take my shoes off and climb the remainder of the hill in my socks whilst pushing the bike. I was too slow, uncomfortable and slippery in my cleats. Once at the top the rest of the climb to the top of Mam tor was straight forward. It really was a pleasure to see the whole Edale valley open up in front of me as I came through the pass and started my descent into Edale. I stopped for coffee at the bottom and continued the rest of the journey home through Haversage, Sheffield and my usually cycle commute route home. I got a flat just before I reached the top of a hill outside Greasborough, a guy passed me on his mountain bike, who I had just overtaken, which was slightly embarrassing, but the change was quick with the CO2 canister and I was on my way within ten minutes.

On the final hill, before I get home (about 3 miles after the flat) I spotted the guy who passed me in the distance and decided to go all out to overtake him. I felt good, despite having nearly 100k in my legs (and arse). I didn't quite reach him on the hill, but I accelerated over the crest and shot by him about 200 yards after the summit, I really did pass him at a pace, which made it all worth it for me. I felt good, and the recovery has felt better when compared with the beginning of the week.

Catch you all soon. Sam is working the next 2 days, so I will not have any opportunity for any further rides this weekend.

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