Really, I should have been doing paperwork this morning. I’d planned a day off but as often happens work has overrun this week, and I should have gone into the office for a serious Excel session or two. Unfortunately for my spreadsheets the sun was out for the first time in ages, a good frost had hardened things up, and there was no way that I was about to let such glorious conditions go to waste after that many weeks of muddy, wet, windy unpleasantness. To add to all this I couldn’t let my riding buddy down, could I? So I set off for Hope with vague route plans and a faint suspicion that I was getting away with something.
The ride was slightly thwarted initially by Rik having shock-deflation problems, so after a couple of false starts I set off alone whilst he fettled things to try and get it working. I did a fun little loop up the Roman Road, down The Beast, then up and over Hope Brink again. When I got back into the valley the problem was fixed, and we honked our way up above the always-picturesque cement works to take a run at Cavedale, which, amazingly, I had never done before. There was ice all over the rocks and I had a bit of a sideways detour at one point as a result, but otherwise thoroughly enjoyed the whole descent; I shall have to come back when it’s a bit warmer and have another go.
Rik’s bike developed a loose spoke at some point down Cavedale but after checking things over and determining that nothing was about to collapse we carried on up the Broken Road for one last descent from Hollins Cross into Castleton before heading off for a fry up at the Woodbine. Mechanicals aside, I got in three-and-a-bit solid hours of textbook winter Peak District riding: much better than fighting spreadsheets at the office.