After the vast array of running and cycling, the weather inevitably changed. As such my opportunity to get out for a few days was somewhat limited.
Tuesday was a frustrated day; anxiety was back with a vengeance and although sorting things out at the doctors was as straightforward as it could have been (walk in, get paperwork, leave) I was totally jiggered.
Wednesday I had the opportunity of a day out with friends which I took. Very pleasant it was too, and a great distraction from the goings on around me in my own life. The weather had been surprisingly good, but by the time I got home it was deteriorating and as such I didn’t get out. Anxiety returned, just to make its presence felt.
By Thursday with rubbish weather, I was crawling the walls. Literally at one point as I went up to the local bell chamber (which I look after) to check on some work that had been done by outside contractors. I took the GoPro with me and if I can work out how to edit the footage together into something watchable, I’ll post the link (don’t hold your breath, it’s 23 years since I last edited a video and the tech has moved on…!)
Thursday evening and after our practice night at the tower, I sat down with the weather forecast and some maps. Friday was looking OK. The Peak District was also looking pretty fine as well. A plan came together.
The route turned into a 55 mile epic involving some amazing scenery in the High Peak. The views from the Snake Pass back towards Glossop were stunning, and in stark contrast to the barren hillside as the approach to the summit itself wound around the edges of the peaks.
The Snake Pas then continues Eastwards and down into the Valley at the bottom of which Ladybower reservoir sits. On getting down here I remembered cycling around the reservoir with a couple of work colleagues who enticed me out in the months immediately after Mark’s passing.
The return journey took me through Hope and Hope Valley before reaching my lunchtime destination of Castleton.
My last visit here was a couple of months prior to losing Mark, after I’d taken a couple of days off work to clear my head and in the latter throes of the marathon training and I walked up a couple of the peaks nearby. In fact I stopped off at the same pub for lunch and, on checking my phone, was reminded that 3 mobile don’t reach Castleton!
Fully fed the next challenge was Winnatt’s Pass. Actually I got the falling-off bike thing done before I got onto the pass, whilst I was fiddling with my GPS watch which I’d forgotten to restart following lunch…….
Winnatts Pass is spectacular. And steep!
Getting the photos from the internet reminded me how I really should have taken my camera with me. Beautiful views throughout.
I chose to walk up the steep Pass mostly for safety reasons. I’ve already demonstrated a keen ability to fall off whilst fighting with the cleat pedals on steep inclines (and most other terrain to be fair) and with the Pass itself being quite busy with traffic, I really didn’t want to wobble and fall in front of a car imagining it was a TT motorbike (yes, they travel way too fast on there). Either way, it was still hard work even walking the bike up the hill – calves were working overtime.
On reaching the cattlegrid at the top, it was a remount and pedal off over the hills which subsequently dropped into Chapel-en-le-Frith. From here I chickened out and joined the A6 main road to return me to Stockport, even if I took a detour through High Lane to avoid some of the worst of the traffic. I toyed with extending the route to exceed 100km, but knowing I had a phone call to make, and the fact that my legs were telling me how much they’d like to be re-introduced to the sofa at an early opportunity, I went back home!
A great day out – 4 hours cycling (plus pub lunch) in some of the finest scenery and with bright, albeit cool weather.
A good way to shift anxiety, but I don’t think I could do it every day…….!