I decided to arrange a trip to the Peak District last week. I’ve only ridden there a couple of times in the past, so deciding it’s an area overdue for a visit, I cleared two days in my diary and made arrangements.
A couple of email exchanges later and I had arranged guides, accommodation and friends for the two days I would be there. Arranging any mountain bike trip at this time of year is always tricky on the weather front, sometimes you get lucky, sometimes you don’t. So its case of chucking all the likely clothing and kit into the back of the car that you might need, and hoping for the best.
We got lucky. For the Monday and Tuesday the weather was kind to us. Dry, a brilliant blue sky with barely any cloud of note, and a cold chill in the air. The temperature readout in the car, before we set off, was just 1 degree, so three layers of clothing went on. But I’ll take cold and clear weather over the wet and grey any day.
So we made the most of the fine weather. We had to. Both days saw us rolling out onto the trails at about mid-morning and riding all day, pushing onto into the sunset, getting back just in the nick of time before the dark caved in around us. Day two saw us descending the final fireroad track in the dark, just the moonlight to guide us. It was a brilliant end to two fantastic days of riding the trails, a chance to catch up with friends, to share stories and jokes and feel fortunate to be out in this brief window of inspiring weather.
It’s on days like this that, although you’re cold to the core and completely covered in mud, you finish with a huge smile. Even the chore of dismantling muddy bikes and loading them into the car, peeling off muddy socks and shorts and getting changed in the pitch black car park afterwards, refuse to diminish the elation from bagging such a good ride.
The riding was just brilliant. Although wet under tyre from heavy rain over the previous weekend, the rocky nature of the Peak District trails meant most of the trails were riding well. And fast. And another thing that made the ride all that much more enjoyable was the emptiness of the trails. The walkers and other riders we spotted could be counted on the fingers of one hand. We more or less had the entire Peak District to ourselves. What better way to spend a couple of days.
Here’s some photos of our trip…