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.
Cruising the moors is great, the terrain is gentle and the views are big! This is where you make up the time lost on all of those difficult climbs. The old bike is running well and I am feeling good. I love it when even on a tough ride you can finish strong. It shows that your preparation and planning has paid off and that the old motor still has some miles left in it!
I had heard that there was a big hill before the next stop at Chatsworth House so I assumed the worst, that it would be a difficult climb. But, we were on top of the moors and I didn’t see how much more climbing was possible. I would soon find out that my assumption was mistaken.
The hill I had heard about turned out to be a descent, a screaming 4 mile descent in fact! This one was paved and the brakes did the screaming while I inflicted the pain and hung on tight. Even though the traffic was light, the narrow roads provided a little drama when opposing traffic came by. When I say narrow I mean that two small cars could pass, but just! For a bike and a car there was more room but not a lot. The many blind corners added some suddenness to the unfolding drama. Soon after the bottom of the descent our route entered the grounds of Chatsworth House. It is the sprawling estate of the Duke of Devonshire which was begun in 1552 and completed many years later. Chatsworth House generously opened its grounds as the final stop on the L’Eroica Britannia route. Even though it came very close to the end of the event it was a popular stop.
Almost everybody stopped at Chatsworth House, which was in part because of the beautiful location but also because of the honor granted to the event to use the location. I believe that it is unprecedented!
Even after the great run over the moors and down to Chatsworth House I had a feeling that the climbing was still not yet over. I was sorry to find that my premonition would be correct. The final 5 miles featured some pretty stiff climbs and some hair raising descents before the final run into Bakewell and the finish. Once those were done however this thing was in the bag! All that was left to be done was bask in the glory of the accomplishment! Well, there was one more thing, to find the beer tent!