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Survival Skills on Tour – Peak District

I’ve been a bit busy for the last 10 days or so with training in Oxford and then three days up in the Peak District of Derbyshire for the “northern leg” of the annual Survival Skills on Tour trips, hence the lack of updates on here.

I have to say I can’t remember a “Tour” week with so much weather.

Thursday before last I was fitting new brake pads in warm sunshine, Friday I rode up to Oxford on a mild evening and the training kicked off last Saturday with a two day “Double Bends” course in Oxford. Day one with Carlo went according to plan even though it turned bitterly cold whilst we were out training, but the whiteout at 6am on the Sunday led to a predictable cancellation of day two.

I was back out training on Tuesday, the snow had long gone, and the weather was reasonably mild and quite sunny, and it was a pleasant day.

On Wednesday morning, I was on the bike about 8:30 to ride up to the Peaks and it was very cold – I had to wipe ice off the bike – but very sunny. Up in the Peaks it wasn’t much warmer, but at least it was dry up to the last hour of the course with Simon, when the heavens opened and it tipped down as we splashed over the tricky Strines road.

On Thursday I had Dae and Dave out on day one of a Survival Skills advanced course, and although the forecast was for showers, it was virtually all dry and reasonably warm too.

Just as I was thinking the weather genie had worked its magic again, the “Tour” had to cope with a cold day which was initially wet with heavy persistant rain. We managed to get everything done, even though the scope of the riding was a bit limited by the puddles and mud being washed into the road in places.

Even the ride back to Oxford that evening provided contrasts – by 3pm, it was definitely warmer, but along came more blustery showers, then as I rode out from under the clouds, it turned much colder and very windy.

I had Saturday off, so took a ride over to On Yer Bike to look for gloves with Keith, and we had a pleasant 60 mile jaunt back over the hills between Brill and Long Crendon, and dodged a couple of showers. I found some gloves at Hughenden M40, but discovered yesterday that they aren’t a pair! Nearly, but slightly different models by the look of them! Very odd. I also bought a chain oiler, which we fitted that evening (report as soon as I have used the bike a bit more)

I then rounded the week off yesterday (Sunday) with day 2 of the training cancelled from the previous Sunday. We dodged a couple of heavy showers and skirted the edges of a couple more (with hail!) and were just about to call it a halt when the last couple of miles saw us caught in a thunderstorm so we dived into a garage and finished up on the Oxford ring road.

As I’m writing this before heading back home, it’s hailing again!

Anyway, back to the Peaks. The training went well with some good feedback and as it’s a while since I’ve been up there, it was good to refresh my knowledge of some of the roads. There are some excellent roads in the south of the area and up towards Tideswell, that cut gorges through the limestone, but aside from the almost blanket 50mph speed limits, the lowpoint of the 3 days up there was the state of that Strines road.

I was planning to take Dae and Dave over that road on Day 2, but the appalling state of the surface, plus the heavy rain made it a no-go. Still, there are plenty more decent roads to ride – just made a bit of a mess of my carefully planned route on the GPS!!

I’m looking forward to the second installment of training up there in a couple of weeks.

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