June 2014


Continued from T-minus 0.3

Climbing out of Cromford took us up a little tree lined valley which was very enjoyable. The grade wasn’t as bad as I had expected and soon we were back up onto the moors and cruising between the stone walled fields. This section was perhaps the easiest of the whole route and I made good time over the moors.

This is my climb but it is not my photo

This is my climb but it is not my photo

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High tea at Ilam Hall

High tea at Ilam Hall

Our next rest stop at Ilam Hall featured a unique variety of refreshment, high tea, which included scones with butter and jam and a cup of tea. The village of Ilam sits in a lush valley, which should have been my first clue that there was probably going to be a big climb coming soon. This one, like many of the others was steep in places but not steady. You could power through the short steeper sections and then back off a little on the rest of the climb. The grade probably exceeded 20% in some places but was mostly only about 10% for a mile or so. It would not be the hardest climb of the day; still, it was a climb that got my attention!

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Rest #2 at Derbyshire Bridge

At the head of the valley we started climbing up into the higher moors. It was a gentle climb but steady and at the top was our next control point, Derbyshire Bridge. After all the climbing we had done in the first 37 miles I was quite hungry. I probably ate more than my share here but I needed it. A coffee would have been good too but the line was a little too long. I settled for some water before moving on.

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Well, the day is here! I ride from my hotel to the starting line in time for a 6:oo am start. The start is on a narrow alley in the old part of town. I get my card stamped by the officials and get in line. There seem to be about as many photographers and local dignitaries at the start as riders. I am among the first dozen riders or so and when we set off I am in the first wave.

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Today my plan is to take a short morning ride and get back to my hotel early to get things organized. I started with the good intention of stretching my legs and honing my navigation skills on the local roads. I have to use the excuse of being distracted by the wonderful views of the Derbyshire (read that as Darbi-sheer) countryside so if I may have missed a turn or two it should be totally understandable. Oddly, I ended up on some of the same roads I was on yesterday only going in the opposite direction. So, I wasn’t really lost if I knew where I was, even if I didn’t know how I got there, right?

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Today, Friday is my main preparation day for the event. The goals for today were first to get the put the bike together and checked out. Then get checked in for the event and go for a ride. Here is how the day went.

My hotel courtyard, bike ready to go.

My hotel courtyard, bike ready to go.

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Here is a quick recap of my day, driving up to the event venue at Bakewell, U.K. the start venue for L’Eroica Britannia. A 2 1/2 hour drive to turned into a 6 hour ordeal when the M1 motorway was closed due to an accident. No marked detour, gridlocked traffic, local road construction, all on the wrong side of the road! A little good luck and GPS navigation saw me through and somehow I arrived in Bakewell about 4pm local time. When I arrived I took care of the following priorities, park the car, check in to the hotel, relieve thirst!

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