Rapha CC – The Pennine Night Ride

Marking the end of a reasonably hard ‘overload’ week of long rides, I joined in the fun with the guys from the Rapha Cycle Club (with their impressively large truck and coffee machine) and a few other intrepid cyclists for the Pennine Night Ride. After Dave and Phil arrived at my house we set off into the night towards the Velodrome…

I’m no stranger to riding in the dark and riding through the night and into the daylight of the following day, but still the sight of a group of road cyclists zipping through the urban sprawl from Manchester Velodrome towards the Peak District was a very impressive sight. The thousands of drunken women that had spilled out onto the Manchester streets from the Take That gig at the stadium across the road also seemed impressed. The ones that weren’t sprawled out on the pavement after a few too many Bacardi Breezers anyway….

As we followed the route towards the ‘proper’ hills we were told that the Mottram Moor climb at Stalybridge was the one and only prime of the ride – basically the first one to the top gets a prize….Dave, John and me needed no more encouragement to race to the summit, which was exciting. Somewhat inevitably, Dave took a narrow lead and kept it until the top, winning some kind of ‘Rapha essentials kit’ which we assume includes some gear that the gentleman cyclist should never be without….dunno. He’s not got it yet 😉

The route then included a lot of familiar roads in the Peaks – some brilliant climbs and exhilarating descents, a slightly surreal climb and subsequent re-grouping outside the Cat And Fiddle Pub at 3am, a close call in the form of a sheep in the road that caused a locked-up rear wheel on the descent of the Cat and Fiddle, another Rapha coffee machine coffee stop near Buxton (the strongest coffee ever), one of the finest sunrises I’ve ever seen and a return to the Velodrome though the near-deserted streets of Levenshulme…only the early-morning zombies were up and about, keeping us entertained as they staggered around, doing weird stuff like shouting at carrier bags…..