We ride with Buxton CC
With the Peaks at their disposal, we meet a club who love to climb
"This is one of my most favourite roads in the world,” Buxton Cycling Club member Rhys Roberts tells me as we wind our way up out of the Goyt Valley towards the top of the famous Cat and Fiddle pub in the Peak District National Park, Derbyshire.
“In fact, I love it so much,” Roberts continues, “I moved to the area because of it!”
It’s a grand claim, but entirely feasible, as even on a drizzly day it’s breathtakingly beautiful here, with waterfalls in full flow and a spectacular display of forests and moorland sporting full autumnal fatigues. In fact, the only downside is the rather brutal climb straight out of Buxton that we’ve had to conquer in order to takein the visual feast. “Living in Buxton has certainly made me fit!” says Roberts. “This is my first season racing, I’m even giving hill-climbs a go.” He certainly seems at home in these hills, positively dancing on his pedals and continually chatting despite the steep upward trajectories.
To be fair, everyone at Buxton Cycling Club is making these Peak District hills look easy. “A few of the club spent time in the Alps this summer, and I’m just back from riding the Pyrenees coast to coast, so we’ve all got mountain legs right now,” laughs club member Julie Parker. “Although, my brand new bike is also helping — I only picked it up yesterday. I was sharing a bike with my daughter until now.” Parker then tells me that she and her daughter found cycling via the unusual route of the Girl Guides and now the entire family race regularly.
“I promise, after this climb, it’s all downhill,” Friday night run leader Dominic Smith tells me after today’s cafe stop. Today’s tour of the finest Peak District National Park climbs are beginning to show, and my legs are protesting. “Unfortunately it’s a 25-minute climb into a headwind,” he grins. I get the impression he’s rather enjoying the conditions.
“It’s just typical of the riding up here, you have to be mentally strong,” says today’s run leader, Steph Hanshaw. “I think that’s why we’re good at racing and undertaking charity events.”
Hanshaw started her cycling career by riding to Snowdon, running up and down the mountain before riding back home to raise money for Ronald Mcdonald House in Manchester.
“The trip we took to the Alps was also for charity,” Chris Hallam chips in. “There were nine of us in total and our initial aim was just to ride up Alpe d’huez, so we did that, but by the end of the week we’d also ridden up the Col du Galibier, which is even higher! We raised an impressive £1,700 for the Cure Leukaemia charity; it was an awesome achievement on all fronts.”