The clue is in the name. Peak District. The road is either up or down, rarely flat. Hard up, terrifying down. Short yet sharp climbs to test the legs followed by twisting, snaking descents to test your grip on the brake levers.
Yet the ever changing landscape is magnificent, one minute rolling moorland, the next craggy cliff faces, a twist and turn here, there, a glorious ravine, a wooded valley, a bustling twee village blurring on by.
A warm up ride through the Brecon Beacons seemed like a good ideawhen sat at my laptop, not so much when sat in the saddle. It’s been a while since I last cycled in Wales, how quickly I’d forgotten the only flat roads in this land are supermarket car parks. Continue reading →
Hailing outside, I decided to go for a spin grind up the new Zwift Watopia mountain routes. First impressions? The graphics are stunning. From the mountain vistas and single track winding roads, to the snow and the mist, and the small details such as the cracks in the road.
Riding in the mountains is addictive. The drug comes with its own highs and lows, pleasures and pains. Thankfully the former are great enough to help you forget the latter. Half way through my cycling holiday in the French Alps (part one here) and I was compelled not only to climb but to ride into oblivion.
The French Alps. A cyclist’s nirvana but with the addition of suffering, a strong sense of self and an even stronger desire to cycle forever. So nothing like nirvana then. Too much torture to be heaven too. A rapture then, for here you are transported from earth to heaven or your sins are punished accordingly. Will you be left behind?
Famous mountains open to all. Rider’s heads go down as the roads head up. A struggle ensues, the victor never certain until, yes, almost there, boom, the summit. As many emotions as heart beats.
Hills. I love and hate hills in equal measure. Love rolling down ’em, hate riding up ’em, some might say. Not me. There’s a distinct pleasure in the pain of heading to the heavens. Not that many cyclists share my passion for hills.
Beginner cyclists in particular tend to hate hills, as I once did. A love affair with hills takes time to mature. Like kids enjoying the taste of cabbage or adults the taste of olives. Hills, you might say, are like a certain branded yeast paste. You either love them or hate them.