winnats pass cycle

Cycling Winnats Pass

Only for the brave and strong-legged among us.

George and I planned a weekend in the Peak District for the end of July. We’d previously visited the Lake District and now wanted to experience the green rolling hills of the Peak District.

Since George got himself a road bike a couple of months before, we thought it would be nice to take our bikes with us and go for a couple of cycles while there. Our main worry had been if we’d be ok cycling on our road bikes, however, we needn’t even think about that since as we got nearer to our hotel we started seeing more and more cyclists out and about.

This is where the fun ended. So I’m here to teach you from our mistakes:

  • Rookie mistake 1: We didn’t plan any route in advance;
  • Rookie mistake 2: We didn’t really look at the incline on google maps;
  • Rookie mistake 3: We ate lunch then got on our bikes within an hour;
  • Rookie mistake 4: The “random” cycle we chose turned out to be Winnats Pass;

How badly could it go, you ask? Well…

We were being overtaken by the locals wearing flip flops on bikes that looked 50 years old.

We were both knackered before the proper climb had even started – it averages 10% incline but has a few sections at 20%.

Our stomachs were still full.

I have never felt so ill.

Peak distric village

Once we got past that, it got better – we realised we were near the Mam Tor summit, but cycled the other way, which was a bit faster and more fun. Great green views – made up for the torture of the previous 30 minutes!

On the way back, we went down Winnats Pass which made it very clear just how big of a climb it was – had to press pretty hard on the brakes most of the way down otherwise we’d go absolutely flying!

The worst thing? It was the weekend the Garmin servers were down so my cycle was never even synced to Strava – if you didn’t track it did it even count?! (if you’re not aware of what happened in July, have a read here).

WINNATS PASS FULL CLIMB STATS

Distance 2.3km

Avg Grade 9.4%

Max Gradient: 20%

Elev Gain 214m

Strava segment – full climb

100 climbs #33

We went back the same way later in the day to climb Mam Tor, and going up the road in a car put it into perspective just how steep it was as even the car needed a lot of juice to get up.

We went on to do another cycle the day after where we did pay attention to the climbs and it was more enjoyable – the views once you do get a bit higher are definitely worth a bit of short-lived pain.

All in all, depending on your fitness levels, by all means head out without a plan and just enjoy the rolling hills! If you’re not very experienced with climbs on a bike, then maybe stick to the hikes.

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