2 Go Mad on 'Phil and Friends'

Thursday 2 September 2010, Filed in: General

This is one of the CTC challenge rides and took place on 13th August. Basically it’s a very hard sportif with a 105km and 150km option starting and finishing at Stannington near Sheffield.

We are both Phil Liggett fans and have tandemmed the event before and I solo’d the 150km option several years ago. This year with our new Santana ‘Beyond’ and corresponding improved performance believed we had a chance of completing the 150km version.

Living in South Warwickshire we lodged at the nearby Foxhouse Inn so we could be close for the 8am start and have somewhere to collapse afterwards without a long drive home. However in true Phil and Helen tradition we were still late for the start and had to park some way from the start line but were set up to go just as Phil Liggett gave his opening speech to the nearly 500 – 1000 assembled cyclists. The weather was awful but to be fair just like it always is when we venture up north and no different to when we collected our ‘Beyond’ four months ago!

The first part of the ride to Holmfirth must involve at least four or five seriously steep climbs and this is where we realised that having a super lightweight tandem helps you as much a you climb them at 5mph instead of 4mph, so over 150km it isn’t going to make that much difference!

We also planned to go steadily at the start to get warmed up…but completely ignored that once we got started trying to keep up. We were the only tandem and got passed en-masse on the up hills only to get our own back as we crested each summit and went into a flying decent, what great fun!

I paid for the fast start as when I got off at Holmfirth for the breakfast stop I could hardly move!! Not to worry, the climb over Holme Moss (in improving weather) loosened things up again and then we were flying down to Glossop, where some over excited gear changing through the chain off. Climbing yet again out of Glossop and before yet another a fast drop to Hayfield and actually some decent honking on the uphill bit for a change before we calmed down for a 5mph plod!

Another excited gear change and I through the chain down again this time onto the bottom bracket, 5 minutes later and I had retrieved it, thankfully I always carry latex gloves for that kind of surgery!

Unfortunately this obviously took us out of our stride and we limped up Rushup edge, which always seems to go on forever (actually we think it does). We swore more on the even steeper climb into Barber Booth before the drop into Edale, which is an awful bumpy decent and not the best for tandems.

Lunch was taken in Edale where we decided not to do the 150km option which leaves at Hope to to do a tour via Winnats Pass, Millersdale, Hathersage and back up Ladybower to the finish. We couldn’t possibly climb any more hills although we still thought about it at Hope but stayed sensible (we drove round the extra bit the next day and concluded it would have been impossible, Winnats being just one of hundreds of climbs!).

We completed the 68miles at 3.30pm and felt disappointed at the low mileage, it just doesn’t do the number of climbs any justice!

The ride is recommended particularly if you live nearby, its very hard but an opportunity to ride with so many others. We got a lot of respect for being on a tandem and even more interest for the ‘Beyond’. However we’ll give it a miss for a year or two!

Thanks to Phil Muir for the article.

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