Peak District Pioneer – Adventure Cross

With the recent bike upgrade we had been looking for a biking adventure to christen the new rides, when a few of the guys from Cycle Birmingham suggested a camping trip to the Peak District we couldn’t resist. The camping trip was luckily on the same weekend as the Peak District Pioneer Adventure Cross, combining a social activity with this biking adventure was the perfect opportunity to get the most out of the new bikes and really see what they were capable of. The Peak Pioneer is cycle cross event run by UK Cycling, we decided to go for the shorter route but at 50miles this would be the longest ride for us to date. Recommended as a fun and relaxed ride, promising picturesque postcard views of the Derbyshire countryside, fun trails, combined with some road and off road sections we were really keen to give it all that we’d got.

For the trip we hired a van, Saturday morning we got all packed up and headed out nice and early. Excited about the trip we had done the beer shop and were looking forward to joining the gang at the campsite for some beer infused cyclist fun, chat and banter. We got our tent up in good time which we were very proud of and of course had to celebrate by cracking open the first beer. This being Vital IPA from Victory Brewing Company, a perfectly hoppy beer with a nice pine/citrus character and fruity finish to get the night startedWe were staying at Beech Croft Farm, a lovely little campsite in the perfect location with stunning views, great facilities and all within walking distance of the pub!

We were lucky enough to have amazing blue skies with white fluffy rolling clouds. We then set for the evening, reserving our energy for the ride on Sunday, the plan for the evening was a relaxed one, before a light walk down to the local pub for dinner. Following the Pennine Bridle way, we had a lovely evening walk enjoying the countryside views leading us straight to The Church Inn where we had great company, some good local beer and real pub grub to take us through the night. Our favourite beer from the evening was the Heathen, from Abbeydale Brewery. A refreshing, tropical beer straight from the keg which went down very nicely.

After a great night we wobbled back to the campsite, the night sky was gorgeous and definitely a huge difference from the city lights we are used to. In high spirits after an amazing night we headed straight for the tent to get our beauty sleep as it was an early start for a hearty breakfast before the ride.

We were tired after the night before but as we lined up at Bakewell Showground start-line with the other riders the excitement kicked in. We had a beautiful day for a days riding, with a great mix of riders on both mountain bikes and cycle cross, the atmosphere was buzzing with everyone raring to go.

As the whistle blew we started the ride at a consistent speed on some country lanes then as we turned the first corner we hit the first climb of the day, my legs were feeling it already but I pushed through to a lovely view at the top.

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The route for this event was great, with a mixture of gradual and short pushy climbs to test our stamina but we were rewarded with some great off road sections and stunning views of the rolling countryside. The route then left Bakewell on the Monsal Trail and looped around High Rake and Longstone Moor which made for an enjoyable ride. We then rejoined the Monsal Trail through the famous old railway tunnels which were amazing lit and helped with the dramatic effect for the mandortory photo.

The bridleways were muddy from the rain earlier in the week but also great fun to ride. We went through some of the most idilic countryside you could just lose yourself and enjoy ride with my usual stops for photos of the scenery and chat with the local animals 😀

When we finished the adrenaline was running high as we were so proud of ourselves for completing the 50miles and buzzing from what was a great ride. The route was so well marked out, as we started to flag the marshals were there to uplifting our spirits, gearing us on at various stages with very good feed stations to keep us fuelled for the ride.

We were lucky to have great weather to kick the summer off with an epic day in the saddle!

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