Part Two: Risk Assessment
The theme of Peak District climbing continued up Dirtlow Rake past more huge quarry workings with a few regroups and head counts along the way. The rolling track then took us along to the car park at Mam Nick.
At this point to ensure an enjoyable ride for everyone and to minimise the impact of over fifty mountain bikers on a popular section of bridleway, a plan was put into action.
A crack team of gate openers and direction pointers was dispatched along the route from Mam Tor to Hollin's Cross and then the great descent into Edale. With Mr K and Sinnett releasing small groups of riders at timed intervals the plan was to spread everyone along the route.
The plan worked and some spectacular views and a brilliant downhill was enjoyed by everyone.
The view down into Edale
HarryCrumb - he opens the gates so you don't have to.
Any123 - you just can't stop a hungry man.
The annual lunch stop at the cafe in Edale was perfectly timed and was a welcome break for all. Plenty of bacon, sausage, cake and coffee was consumed while all manner of conversations occured.
EdEdwards succinctly described the indescribable and the unrepeatable causing plenty of laughter and near choking on food. Edwards has his own section on the risk assessment by the way and should really be avoided at all costs. And by all accounts never let him into your house.
With the polite maritime afternoon chat finished and all the food in the cafe cleared out by the ravenous hordes, we set off again to pillage the neighbouring barbeque and ride the final seven miles back to Hope.
A roll along the tarmac was swapped for a nice climb up past Clough Farm, and then the drop to Jagger's Clough. We paused halfway down to let a large group of pony trekkers through.
Looking at all the smiling faces of some very pretty young ladies made me wonder why I'd chosen to spend the day with a big bunch of smelly blokes.
I rode the loose climb all the way up from the ford to the top of the track passing several tiring bike pushers on the way and then waited by Hope Cross to count everyone through.
With 5pm getting close the late afternoon light was showing Edale at it's finest and I was able to have a quiet moment alone in the hills while I waited for the responsible tail ender Mr K.
Passing riders claimed that they'd seen Neil and Ed climbing out of the undergrowth adjusting lycra. (Each others)
The ride along the old Roman road towards Win Hill has always been a favourite of mine and I loved the pedal up to join the rest of the group waiting at the top of the last climb.
It was still warm and breezy up on the exposed moorland and I don't think anyone could complain about sitting around waiting for stragglers with views like these. Of course being at the top of a big hill means you are also at the start of the final great descent.
The drop down Hope Brink is a great finale to a great ride with it's fast singletrack and gravity assisted swoopiness. Everyone arrived back in Hope with big smiles, dirty bikes and a few weary limbs.
The weather which had been so kind all day, reminded us why we'd all packed our waterproof jackets, as a light shower began about five minutes after the ride had been completed.
Sheltering under the trees by the car park, parts and stories were exchanged over some great beer. (Thanks again Spencer)
A few deals were done and a few scrapes and scratches compared before it was time to announce the award winners for the day.
In honour of Mr Kawapolestroker, all the prizes had a K Pride bike polo theme. Everyone could tell how proud Neil was from the look on his face...
'Crash of the Ride' was a closely contested affair. But due to quantity and quality, plus the copious amounts of blood letting it had to go to CaptainCosmic. I think he won the grip protectors/docking sleeves. Either way they were guaranteed to keep the moisturiser of your grips.
'Bike of the Ride' was also a very tough choice due to the exceptional quality of machinery in attendance. We asked Edwards for his opinion but he just gave us abuse so ultimately it was Mr K who strolled around, sucking his teeth for a bit until he came back with his favourite.
Chrisv40 took a well deserved accolade for a lovely green fade Rockhopper. He won an awesome set of cut down polo handlebars.
Two riders shared the 'Spirit of the Ride' award for exemplifying the retro spirit. Danson67 thrashed his early Overbury's Pioneer and it's roller cams all day long, while Heathy hurled abuse at everyone and his once NOS pink Saracen Kili-Flyer.
Both won a left handed leather 'Mercury' glove for firmly grasping the mallet or generally Queening it up. They came fresh out of a mildewy plastic bag.
Then it was the big one. The promised prize of some NOS thumbshifters had kept everyone on the edge of their saddles all day.
The 'Retrobike K-Pride Award' combined all the other categories plus several other criteria that we didn't have time to make up.
With his Etto helmet and integrated visor and the fact he'd caused Neil to break the door to escape his own cellar, pointed to a clear winner.
The Wizard of Oz aka Keane stepped up to claim the honours.
It was difficult to let go of those cherished Shimano SIS 6 speed shifters but knew they were going to a good home.
I was consoled later when I hit he jackpot with a 100GS front and rear mech though, so it's not all bad.
K Pride all the way!
Part 3 - Pub Quiz - The final insult coming soon. (probably)