BLOG: ANDY JONES
After getting back from the National Hill Climb Championships last weekend I'd already told the office that I'd planned to take a couple of weeks holiday and have a break away from things.
So this week I've caught up on a few jobs that needed attending to and made the most of the favourable weather we've had this week by putting in a few miles on the bike and catching up with friends and family.
Monday I was up early to get my car down to my local Toyota dealership to have new tyres put on the front wheels. Remarkably, the tyres I've had on from having the car new two years ago had done just over 38,000 miles.
Tuesday I took advantage of the beautiful mild autumn weather and had a brisk pedal out on what I call my Matlock run. It's just over 53 miles and takes me around three hours. Averaged 18 mph today, so just got under the three hour mark. I go out over Owler Bar, to Baslow. Through Chatsworth Park to Rowsley. Along to Matlock, Matlock Bath and Cromford.
Up Via Gellia. Right at Grangemill over Winster Bank to Alport. Head towards Bakewell and take the road to Ashford-in-the-Water. Across the Hassop road roundabout to the top of Thirteen Bends. Down to Baslow and along to Calver. Up Froggatt and down Ecclesall Road and home.
Wednesday morning I decided to have a wander around Chatsworth Park and get some autumnal pictures. I'd noticed how vibrant the colours were in the trees around the park as I'd passed through on the bike the previous day, so I thought I must get some pictures done before the best of the colours fade and the leaves drop.
The light on the Wednesday morning was ideal. Had an enjoyable couple of hours walking around the parkland getting pictures. Wednesday afternoon I just went up the local lanes in the Mayfield valley on the bike. Just wanted an hour to spin the legs.
Thursday I'd arranged to meet up with Steve Gibson and Chris Myhill for a pedal and a cafe stop on the way back.
Went up to Steve's for eleven o'clock and we rode out towards Foxhouse and the 'flying mile' to met Chris who had ridden out from Wingerworth near Chesterfield. It was Chris's first ride out since his overall 12th spot in the National Hill Climb Champs and a ride that was good enough for the Vets title.
We put in a leisurely thirty miles or so around the Peak before stopping at Grindleford cafe on the way back. There was a brief competitive edge in the tempo on the climb up to the cafe. Chris got the prime, smoothly riding away with his hill climb form. Pint mugs of tea all round with egg and sausage sandwiches followed by slices of fruit cake to finish was the order of the day.
An enjoyable morning out. 45 miles on the clock.
Friday morning I sorted a few pictures before taking the afternoon out for another ride of around 43 miles. Did my Miller's Dale run I mentioned the other week. Beautiful afternoon, with some fantastic light across the Peak landscape. Saw the Dipper in the river at Calver as I rode past. It's fascinating how they bob and disappear under the surface in the fast current ain their search for food. Saw a Merlin, our smallest falcon, flash low across the moorland along the stretch I call the 'flying mile'. A bit of a rarity really.
Saturday morning I went out on my Monsal/Cressbrook run which is about 41 miles. I was out just after nine o'clock. It was misty over the tops towards Bakewell but as I headed towards Monsal and Cressbrook things became a lot brighter and so the run back over from Bradwell to Ladybower and down Manchester Rd (A57) I was in sunshine all the way.
Saturday afternoon drove over to see my sister and brother-in-law in Sale, Manchester. It's been a while since I've seen them both, so it was good to catch up on news and all the stories from their recent travels. Good food too.
Sunday - Been out on the bike with Steve Gibson and Simon Owens. Met at nine up at the Round House in Ringinglow village just up the road from me. Set off from there and rode over to Hartington. Absolutely fantastic morning, so calm. Bright but cool, first time I've had to wear gloves this week.
The views across the Hope Valley coming down the road towards Hathersage were superb. One of my favourite views in the Peak District. I stop with Steve while he grab's a pic on his mobile phone camera of the mist blanketing the valley below us(see Steve's attached pics of the morning's ride). We took the Abney road to Great Hucklow, Tideswell, Miller's Dale, Taddington, Monyash, Parsley Hay and then dropped in to the back of Hartington.
A welcome break at Bank Top Farm
We decided on Bank Top Farm for our cafe stop. It's located about a half mile up the lane that passes the duck pond out of Hartington village. It's a real experience of an old traditional farm. After a several cups of tea and two large buttered teacakes each we set off back. Dropped in to the excellent new Parsley Hay visitor and information centre on the Tissington Trail to get some info on the bike hire available there. Steve's got some friends that are going to be visiting the area soon and wanted to know about what bike hire was available.
Carried on along Long Rake towards Youlgreave before dropping down to Conksbury and over the River Lathkill and up the step climb towards Over Haddon. We just pass below Over Haddon village and take the lanes above Bakewell to cut through to Ashford-in-the-Water and up to Great Longstone. Cut across to Baslow and I persuade Steve and Simon to take the lane out of the back of Baslow. It's a road I've always wondered where it went. Steve knows it well.
It follows the River Derwent before cutting up across country and up Bramley Dale, a narrow killer climb. It comes out just above Calver on the Hassop, Bakewell road. So now I know. We drop down to Calver crossroads and continue across and turn right up Froggatt. We climb at a nice even tempo. Get home with spot on 60 miles. A very enjoyable ride.
Well, that's all for last week. I've been planning a few days away for this week, so hopefully catch up with you all when I get back.
Andy Jones is Cycling Weekly's resident photographer, and has covered pretty much every major cycle race there is, from downhill mountain biking to the Tour de France. You can see many of Andy's photos in our online Gallery section.