It was a long time in the making, and a whole 4 months on from mountain Mayhem that we finally had our Autumn RetroBike meet. The summer months had seen a few mini meets around the country which had introduced many to the delights of RetroBiking with the masses, so it was now time to head to the Peaks..
This was to be a true test of Retro Steeds, none of this soft southern singletrack with swooping turns and the occasional gnarly root, oh no, this was in your face â€˜northern rockâ€™ time, and Iâ€™m not talking about everyone queuing up to get their savings out! Neil and Max had put in many hours to check out the route and arrange suitable accommodation for the gathering hoards, and so it was on the morning of October 14th the â€˜Nuisanceâ€™ of Retrobikers descended upon the sleepy village of Hayfield.
They had come from all corners of the British Isles, Gus had come by Horse Drawn Cart, (the only way to explain the fact that he left in 2006), others had picked up other RetroBikers en route and now found their cars looking like a dodgy car boot sale (you know who you areâ€¦.) But all had made it, the number of RetroBike shirts in attendance was a credit to all those supporting the cause (get yours by visiting the site shop), Kevâ€™s Yeti ensemble went down a storm (he looked like an enormous highlighter pen) and after a quick role call we were ready for the off.
Trimble, Salsa, AMP, Goat, Kona, Spesh, proflex, Fat Chance, Yetiâ€¦. It read like a whoâ€™s who of the biking world and as they rumbled up the first climb it promised to be an interesting day out. We headed up, up and further up into the hills, the mist descended, the faces got redder than a pair of Z-Maxs, the gears crunched and we were accompanied by our own â€˜swearâ€™ box as more and more people came a cropper on slippery rocks and huge boulders. At the top of the first climb we hoped for a view that would make the 5 hours spent in the car worth it, unfortunately the weather had other ideas but hey, atleast it wasnâ€™t raining and what do you expect for the North in Octoberâ€¦
We continued on our way, there were long swooping rocky descents where the sound of squeeling Cantiâ€™s could be heard in Dover, and ridiculously steep climbs where all those who had access to a Granny ring made full use of it. So far the retrobikes and riders had fared pretty well, I was pretty much singlespeeding due to horrendous chainsuck issues, and Jango (Kev) had managed to smoke an entire pack of Gitanes on the first climb, but all in all life was goodâ€¦â€¦. We then hit the downhill to Edale !!!!
As regulars of the site will know there are a few of us who take great pride in exactly how close we like to get to nature when out on a ride, personally I had kissed the grass twice already and to say that the descent looked a little hairy in places would be an understatementâ€¦ Anyway off we all charged and it wasnâ€™t long before a particularly nasty patch of grass had me over the bars and lying on the ground checking nothing was brokenâ€¦. I was slightly upset to hear a voice behind me laughing (thanks Keith) but this was soon forgotten as the culprit decided to disembark in equally stylish fashion, face first into a ditchâ€¦ We dusted ourselves off and headed down the slope, it was here we encountered the â€˜Flouro Doormatâ€™ formerly known as MadCowKev, and Gus who was so busy laughing at Kevâ€™s misfortunes he was not able to ride.. The band of stragglers eventually made it to the bottom about 5 mins after everyone else.
And so to lunchâ€¦. Chips, bacon, sausages, beans â€¦all the foods that made Britain great and just what a hungry biker needs.. We all gorged ourselves and looked forward to the gentle ride back we had been promised..
We began a climb that looked hard at first, impossible at the end, all of us resorted to walking, blaming our full stomachs and the fear of a stitch for not really attacking the hill. It was at the top that I heard the familiar sounds of â€˜Jumpâ€™ by Van Halen and realised the mobile was ringingâ€¦
â€˜where are youâ€™
â€˜up a hill, where are you?â€™
â€˜outside a pubâ€™
Yup, old â€˜Sat Navâ€™ as he shall now be called had managed to lose the other 15 riders and take Kev and Ed off on a merry road ride. After some time spent looking for the path the boys decided to give up and head back on the road..
The rest of us had been entertained for this time by a particularly friendly sheep..I wonâ€™t go into details now but safe to say that it had quite an effect on heathy and if you want to know more check out the â€˜aftermathâ€™ thread and jezâ€™s new avatar.. Anyone who wishes to know more about the entertainment to be found in Prague should PM Heathy privatelyâ€¦
So we headed back, it was all going well until someone pointed out that I appeared to no longer have a rear derailleur..oh dear, jockey wheel had given up the ghost and all attempts to fudge it were soon given up..I took to walking the flats and hills, freewheeling the descentsâ€¦I felt like downhiller !!! It was also on this return journey that the Guvnor JV was shot by a sniperâ€¦actually he had yet another blow out when nowhere near the bike but if youâ€™d seen us all jump you would have thought Tom Berenger was in the next fieldâ€¦3 punctures in one ride and the only person to be afflicted, whereâ€™s the justice !!
The final descent back to the village was quick and smooth, we all felt suitably beaten up by a long day in and out of the saddle. Speaking as someone who has never ventured North of the Watford gap with a bike before it was quite and eye opener.
Showers and food were the order of the day, pies, pints, casseroles, puddings..all good.. and then off to the Sportmans Inn for Neils â€˜RetroBike Quizâ€™.. It was awesome, all the elements were there and everyone loved itâ€¦ it may have been because of the constant stream of beer but our corner was very loud !! We also had the official unveiling of the RetroBike calendar for 2008 which is now available, a great accessory to any office/home/car.. available from the site NOW. And so to bed, but not before Jango had deposited himself on a car bonnet in much the same fashion as many of us had done on the ride but with a softer landing thankfully..
As someone mentioned to me on the day, itâ€™s a testament to the friendship and camaraderie on the site that these meets take place and are always well attended, but they also require a lot of time and effort usually by one co-ordinator to ensure their success. I would like therefore to say a big thanks to Neil (and Jo) for all their hard work in making this event happen. The smiling faces were in a large part down to you and your efforts, the peaks played their part but if it wasnâ€™t for you guys weâ€™d still be up a hill watching Heathy molest a sheep so thanksâ€¦
And on to 2008â€¦. I believe the mighty Gumpmeister is planning a Winter Wonderland meet in January sometime so watch the Forum for the next announcement and get ready to join the funâ€¦.
Hasta la vista Hayfield
MTB - 1989 Ritchey Ultra , 1990 Explosif, 2001 Santa Cruz Superlight
Road - 1984 Koga Miyata Gents Racer, 2009 Pegoretti Duende
Wanted - 1" black quill stem with cable stop.
'It doesn't get easier, it just gets faster' - G Lemond " Everything in life's a race mate" - G Farmer