This was pitched in as an alternative to our normal Sunday club ride that we could reach drive wise without doing an over nighter. It’s not a trail center per-say but does feature in lots of magazines and ride books, plus its Peaty’s back yard and of late has held Steel City’s mini downhill event and boasts an urban trail right in the city’s back garden. A healthy crew alas only me representing the chicks and a collection of the Goats; Mr Spesh, Matrix, Whistler, Goat n Spliff.
We set off early one Sunday and headed north up the M1 armed only with footprint directions. Alas all the sat navs, phones, Google maps couldn’t help so a local garage came to the rescue and 5 minutes later we were in the car park on another chilly February morning. As chance would have it the mountain bikers un-written rule book helped us out as a local guy gave up his shred to show us what all the noise was about. We rode Greno side first, a few short climbs followed by a nice descent flowing in the trees before spitting us out at a big bomb hole and Peaty’s drop; you-tube it and you’ll see how mad this is?
The Wharncliffe side was supposed to hold some hidden gems and a red grade trail. A sweet drop into the course was soon dampened by the mud and gloop fest that ensued for the majority of the ride. The goats were on a mission to find the technical gems we’d heard of but my legs were shot, so I decided to pedal back to the van and warm up. The guys did a hike a bike to run a trail or two but was it worth the drive and vague exploration? Guess you never know until you try it and I’m sure if we venture back and hook up with the Sheffield posse in the dry we’d have more of a hoot.
As a part of the ladies mountain biking club we, like our male counterparts, like to push our limits and try something new. Ladybower as ride location concept was thrown in as an alternative to our normal Sunday club ride. We as a collective looked at what trails we could reach drive wise without doing an overnighter!
We wanted a challenge; something natural and un-manicured like trail centres and Ladybower looked like it could tick all the boxes a great place, just an hour drive away with some real testing features.
The loop didn’t disappoint, gently rising upwards from the lakeside starting point through narrow country lanes before a rest bite outside a cottage, just before the off road section started. A technical climb in mud, strewn with various size boulders took us high into the fields to mate with a known walker’s path. The effort was rewarded with some stunning views, a break before the hill sides plateaued out as far as the eye could see, lines, ruts and grass to take your pick, leading into two meter wide rock garden of a bridle way leading to our highest point. A pause for thought as the “Beast” was next. An infamous rock garden descent that seemed to go on forever testing every bit of our skill set.
We broke for lunch at Derwent water famous for its exploits in WW2, and the testing of the dam buster bouncing bomb, as well as its natural beauty. The climb out was just as testing as we hit the rock steps before a long haul cross country to the summit again ready for the last but one hurrah down. The next section was fun, random rocks peat bogs and lines a plenty ‘pick one at your peril!’ spitting us out into another rocky descent. A traverse across the middle of the hillside before another rock fest of a descent down to the pub for well-earned drinks and hot food, before a road spin back to the cars. A must for those who want to hone their skills riding rocks and natural trails, made all the better having the chicks on board.