Charlotte Booth is the daughter of a very good friend of Martins. She was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 17. Charlotte has completed all available treatment in the UK, but unfortunately this treatment hasn’t worked. Her only hope is pioneering treatment only available in the USA. For more information go to www.charlotteboothappeal.co.uk The fund raising is beingorganised via Kids ‘n’ Cancer UK charity (Registration No. 1138702)
Martin rode 10 laps of a 10.9 mile circuit through Edale, Hope, Castleton, Mam Nick and Barbour Booth on Sunday 6th November. Each lap included one of England’s steepest climbs, Winnats Pass. A single ascent of this climb on a bicycle is a grand enough achievement to warrant a video posting on YouTube, so hopefully you can appreciate Martin’s level of madness he displayed by completing 10 climbs. Certainly worthy of sponsorship.
Martin was supported by a number of Calder Clarionistas who encouraged him around the circuit and also rode part of the route to keep him company. The support team included Tom Butler, Matt Churm, Jonny Croston and Matt Dodsworth and Michael Vennard; a splendid effort by all.
Martin’s personal account of the day:
Tom Butler supporting the ride (photo Matt Chum)
Matt Dodsworth leading a group of Calder Clarion’s Support Team (photo Matt Chum)
Jonny Croston supporting the ride (photo Matt Chum)
On the early part of the climb
With a 5:00 am wake-up and a breakfast of bagels with honey on, I set-off with the bike in the car to collect my work colleague, good friend and fellow participant in all my daft schemes for his support. Peter and I arrived in Hope at about 7:20 with the car thermometer showing 2-3 deg C. After the obligatory photos and selecting of appropriate clothing I set off at 7:45. The plan was to save energy whenever possible so it was gentle until the far side of Castleton. As I crossed the bottom cattle grid at the foot of Winnats Pass for the 1st time I began to contemplate the magnitude of the task in front of me. This contemplation was soon interrupted when the back wheel span on some sheep shit (mental note “avoid the green patches on the next lap”). The 1st climb was tough, but Peter was there to cheer me on. The small rise up to the top of Mam Tor was done and the careful, chilly descent to Edale began. Laps 2, 3 & 4 went without hitch with Peter supplying a full water bottle and food on every lap. Lap 4 felt the best of the day and by this time the far side of Mam Tor was beginning to warm up and I was getting familiar with the decent enabling a maximum lap speed of 40+ mph on every subsequent lap. As I finished lap 4 I was greeted with the expected arrival of the Calder Clarion A group that had come out to offer moral support and do a lap with me. So lap 5 was done with the Calder boys and finished with lunch in the Woodbine cafe in Hope. At this point I was joined by another work mate who came to do a couple of laps with me and then take some photos. I did 2 laps with Phil for company, but ascent No.7 was the first that felt tough. Lap 8 was done on my own again. I was beginning to fade, I knew that I had to minimise expended effort whenever possible. On the flat section back in to Hope to finish lap 8 I kept things to a minimum making ascent number 9 tough, but I was left with the feeling that ten was do-able if I kept things easy on the run back to Hope. I was also conscious of the fading light, so I asked Peter to get the lights ready. The final ascent was as expected, tough but I did it. I had made it to the top of Winnats for the last time but both the sun and the temperature had dropped. So with lights installed and my rain jacket on, I set off with just the relatively easy last climb to the top of Mam Tor and then it was all downhill. The fast part of the this drop was done with more brakes on due to the fading light, but the flatter portion was the fastest of the day because I didn’t have to save anything since Winnats was done. Martin Price
‘Ride Support’ Peter Gillot‘s account of Martin’s Ride:
A cold autumn Sunday morning in the beautiful Peak District with frost sitting on the cars at the side of the road. Hardly anyone about. Those that you meet generally exude the air of someone on a mission. This strange breed populate the car parks of Derbyshire any Sunday morning you care to choose come rain or shine; be it walking, running, climbing or some two wheel caper. There is always some challenge or other to be met. For MP, today’s challenge is ten laps of the Hope – Winnats – Edale circuit. Over 12,000ft of ascent and 110 miles to cover. All in a good cause. It’s still early and we’ve pulled up in our chosen cold damp cap park in Hope just as the sun climbs into view. With very little ceremony the bike is taken from the rack, bottles mixed, GPS set, gloves on, a quick video and off. This is no time to be standing round. It’s freezing.
Top of Winnats. First climb completed.
Sky is clear and the sun is just starting to come over the lip of the pass. MP chugs into sight. That’s climb number one under his belt. Note – sheep poo is slippery. Not what you want with a skimpy 700c x 23 with 100PSI in it and a 34×27 tooth first gear.
Second climb done. MP arrives at high point, Rushup Edge. That’s two accents under his belt. Quick bottle change and half an energy bar. Lap time 45 min. Still looks fresh. Cold not a problem.
I’ve dropped back down the road to Windy Koll because I’ve have just realised there is no signal at back of Mam Tor. Good job MPs not had any problems. He rolls into sight still looking fine. Another 45 min lap. Three climbs done. Swap bottle and new gel bar. Calorie intake could be an issue. Doris (Garmin 705) says he’s on 1000 cal per circuit. He’s only replacing between three or four hundred of them.
Four climbs done – Arrives bang on time. Tweak gears. Refill. Reports that the last climb was probably easiest yet.
The Hope Winnats Edale circuit is just over 10 miles with about 1,200ft of accent. Setting off from Hope it’s a gentle start for a mile or so into Castleton with views of PeverilCastle as you approach and the huge block of Mam Tor at the head of the valley. It’s this block, this obstacle, just short of 1700ft high (hope is about 570ft) that you have to get round. Once through Castleton at about the two mile marker the climbing begins. Now when I do this run, there are no heroics. The moment you leave the main road it’s first gear. The long approach ramps up slowly to a cattle grid where you enter the pass proper. The cliffs rise up high on either side. Limestone crags perched above the steep grassy slopes. In the shadows of the limestone jointing lie fissures and old mining tunnels that date back to Roman times. Somehow the sheep find their way up and down the crags nonchalantly munching grass in impossible situations. Just as often though, they’ll wander aimlessly about on the road, depositing mounds of slippery wet muck everywhere. All of this is academic to the humble cyclist, as they grapple with the sustained gradient of around 1:4. The wonders of the Carboniferous geology that formed this pass are lost on them. For most mortals the only time we look up is to find out where on earth the top is. As you round the final bend all you see is the road arching upwards towards a notch in the skyline high above. It is hard to imagine any stretch of tarmac that could be steeper. This blend of Winnat’s unique atmosphere and the degree of difficulty is what makes this climb such a rewarding challenge.
11:30. Five climbs done. MP arrives with Calder Clarion riders. Some company on the road is a good moral booster and helps break up a long day in the saddle. They will stop at café in Hope on next lap to refuel. Still chugging away. No signs of fatigue.
Six climbs done. MP still fresh as a daisy. Phil Reed has joined for a lap and will be back to take some shots in Winnats. It all helps break up the day and makes the task in hand more manageable. More drink and a gel and off once more towards lap 7.
After the Winnats climb it’s a short reprieve as the road drops down around Windy Knoll then the final climb up to Rushup edge behind Mam Tor. Anywhere else this section would be a climb in it’s self but after Winnats, it’s a pussycat. From the top it’s a mad twisty drop to Barber Booth and Edale. In about a mile, all the height gained is scrubbed off. This is an eye watering, break block destroying decent which unlike dropping down Winnats can be taken at nearly full tilt. Getting it wrong here is not an option. A series of bends and dips with just enough visibility ahead encourage you to cut straight across the corners. These are a wheeze but watch as you enter the trees lower down the valley. The last couple of bends are quite vicious.
Phil R has put in a second lap. Welcome encouragement much appreciated. MPs tally now stands at seven. Still going strong but says the last one was starting to tell. This is pretty good even by MP standards. I’ve been sat in the car reading most of the day and I’m tired just thinking about what is going on. Looking over to Mam Tor, I spot MP and PR cresting the top at Rushup Edge once more. I’ve got 45 mins or there about before they get back. While they put in another ten mile I think I’ll have a cup of tea and read my new book about long distance walking. Apparently after a day and a half of non-stop walking, people start to hallucinate in full HD. I can’t help wondering if MP will be entirely with it when he’s finished this epic.
Eight down. Two to go. Just about bang on again with the 45 minutes per circuit but the climbing is starting to tell on MP now. Swap bottles, another gel and he’s off again. Phil has stopped off in Winnats on the last lap so he can get some pictures this time around. The weather is still perfect but the sun is well on its way to setting. I get the feeling that this lap is really going to tell. Next time round it’ll be the last lap. We should just about be ok for daylight though it was always going to be close. Brian Hale drops by for a chat. He has with him a big box of toffee and some coffee. Top man. He walks up to Rushup Edge to take some pictures and have a quick chat with MP as he passes.
After the wild drop off from Rushup Edge, the road from Edale meanders along the valley bottom back to Hope. A pleasant country lane. On your left, the end of Kinder & Grindslow Knoll rise up high matched on the right by the ridge from Hollins Cross to Back Tor and Loose Hill. This is usually a pretty quite road mainly on account of the fact that apart from Edale it doesn’t go anywhere. All in all, it’s a nice little loop that, along with a visit to the café in Hope, would do most people for the day. To repeat the loop ten times though, now that’s really going some.
Nine down. MP actually looks to have bucked up a bit. More gels and a cup of coffee and he’s off for the last lap. It’s getting cold again and by the time he gets back here again he’ll need the lights for the last leg.
16:35 Top of Winnats. Little slower but not far off schedule. Last bit of climbing and then its plain sailing from here. It’s getting really cold again and dark. Fit lights, don over jacket and set off to finish back in Hope.
Finish back at Hope car park – Time not recorded but think about 17:00. MP’s done it but he looks worn out. Hardly surprising really. Job well done. Cup of tea, pack up and home.
There’s a point on the Winnats climb where all the background noise that you don’t usually notice falls away. Just as the road bends to the right about 200m beyond the first cattle grid, on the lucky occasions when you find yourself alone, a stillness descends that is, to use a phrase, deafeningly silent. The only sounds come from the bike, the rear tyre tearing at the tarmac and your lungs shifting air as fast as they can.
It’s easy to understand how in times gone by people would have been tempted to invent stories of fairies or ghosts to account for the uncanny effect. In these more enlightened times we would invoke such magic as damping factors, sound baffles or maybe standing waves somehow created by the rock faces all around. Whatever the explanation, you could almost imagine that time had come to a stand still. And in that finite instant of time, there will be nothing else but you, the bike and the climb.
Reality check – Of course, those last few lines (at the very least) are complete rubbish. It ignores completely the fact that this whole challenge was conceived for a very important reason. In completing this challenge, Martin has managed to raise a substantial contribution towards helping a close friend’s daughter get the help she needs. Let’s hope that Martin’s efforts, the efforts of the others who also turned out and the generous donations from the sponsors will bear some fruit.