Fat Lad’s Tweet Rides – January: @richpips Hayfield Hoot

In my last post I said something like this:

Little bit kookier this one. I want to ride with one or more of my Twitter followers each month of the year. I know you’re all spread across the UK (and much further afield) and it will be cool to spread my MTB wings as it were and ride somewhere new. Or, as always, there’s a comfy bed and a warm bacon butty for any rider who fancies the MTB Mecca of Morley.

I kept tweeting for a volunteer to *enjoy* my company but was getting nowhere and quickly. Almost at the last minute the original Pootle Crew Crash Test Dummy posted up his availability then had to back out just as short notice too. I was resigned to losing out on a goal before the first month was up when RichPips shouted up he was free for a ride. With the details organised IanM, the part time working scrapyard owner and full time vagrant, was invited along too. For a change, he was late picking me up to venture out.

Despite Ian’s legendary lack of time keeping we made good time heading south to the Peak and even with the really bloody frightening foggy driving conditions over Woodhead pass we were scheduled for an almost unheard of on time arrival. Then the road to Glossop was shut. The subsequent detour took us from “Sorry, we’re running a bit behind” to “If we ever see our friends and family again, will they recognise us now we’ve aged so?” In the Bermuda Triangle of Phone Signal I couldn’t even contact out host to grovel in earnest.

Arriving in Hayfield village I was sure I recognised the beautiful surroundings and picturesque location but wasn’t sure from where. Rolling up at Rich’s home we really were cutting it short for time. With children to collect in less than two hours we were already pushed for time. Somehow we still managed to get a cuppa in 🙂

Tannin fuelled, suited up we headed out on the trail mercifully close to the door. Not long after the twisted bleak black ruins the climbing began. Not having gained much height when the drive over’s mist started to gather at first ahead and then eerily around us. We turned the cranks unceasingly getting further and further up the bigger sprockets of the cassette.  Off the tarmac the smooth gave way to the rough classic Peak terrain. Bumping and wheel stumbling over the rocks and the water running stream like below stuttering wheels I had to stop and remove my Joe 90 riding glasses:

Nice gigs

I took this opportunity to take a shot of my host and fellow Tweeter to prove my day out. I joked about it always being a little awkward taking pictures of those who steal souls for a living and then I remounted and we set off again.

At first I was managing well with the middle ring but before too long it became the ’emergency’ ring (funny how many emergencies I have…) and then became every big blokes uphill riding favorite of shank’s pony. Rich and Ian pulled away from me and as I kept pushing towards the sky Ian called back “Smile Al! A proper photographer’s taking yer picture now.” Thankfully Rich had the common decency to wait until I was back on the steed before he got my best side:


The trail became muddier and we were all now in the same pushing situation. As we got higher the previous weeks snow dumping showed it’s tenacity in it’s desire to remain. As we topped out the drifts were dry stone wall high. The white stuff is packed hard and we set off on foot using our bikes as balancing aids to keep us upright in the blistering wind.  Not far in front of me IanMs leg dropped through the top immersing him in cold powder to his thighs. With his balance and himself composed he shouted back “Good job you didn’t go through Al that’d have been up to your chest. We’d would have to dig all 4 foot 2 of you out…” We mounted and pedalled where we could but sadly there was as much pushing as pedalling even on the flat. I put the my Joe 90s back on in the hope of keeping icy wind out of my eyes. Again I think it’s a Peaks local thing as we’d been told we’d got to the top and yet more climbing was to be done. At the end of the last little climb I could barely see so Rich and Ian helpfully took photographs:

Safely placed in the camelbak I made a mental note that if I bailed, I needed to land on my head or face rather than my bloody expensive glasses.  We started down a bouldery rocky drop picking up speed where possible but still having to dismount for snow here and there. At the bottom of the run we followed a suggestion from the nicest sign ever. I can’t remember it word for word but the jist went along the lines of “Can cyclists please walk through our driveway. Many thanks” So we did.

All the height earned was now to be our reward. First the trail was slightly off camber and with little rock lips here and there. Next it turned a littler wider and a little rougher but still we picked up pace. Finally we entered a wide super fast section with kickers launching me across the ground skimming inches off the surface making me feel ten times the rider I actually am. Nearing the end a sharp left hander with football sized boulders pull me up on the anchors and I hung onto the bars with kung fu death grip to stay upright.

Back on the black top Rich led us to a navigable point to get us to the van whilst he rocketed away to collect his children. We had been led round by a thoroughly nice chap and a gentleman and we departed with promises to do something again soon. Changed in the back of Ian’s van and we headed to the nearest cafe for hot liquid and cake.  We headed home getting very lost and arriving home late, tired but with the post ride buzz still running through my legs.

Fat Lad

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  1. Posted February 6, 2010 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

    An excellent adventure!

  2. Posted February 6, 2010 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

    nice idea. i’d be up for a ride sometime

  3. Posted February 8, 2010 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    I’m going to spend all day at work today looking out of the window at the hills on the horizon, wishing, longing, to be out riding.

2 Trackbacks

  1. By Fat Lad’s January - Fat Lad Rides Again on February 12, 2010 at 3:07 pm

    […] Again so far so ace, nice little adventure over with Rich. Clicky for details. […]

  2. […] Hayfield where Outdoors Photographer and all round nice chap Richpips had guided us on one of the snowiest rides I’ve ever done and the man was there to join us […]

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