I've been riding with B&DCC for a few years, one of the regular weekly rides is the Sparrowfart, an early ride on a Saturday so people have the weekend free for family.
Generally, Sparrow rides are tough hilly ones. But quite short, designed to start at 07:30 and be back a couple of hours later so most of the day is free.
There's a good selection of routes in regular rotation and a strong group of regular riders. It's a really good way of getting out. I should have been out on Saturday, but for one reason or another (hang over and family time...) I didn't make it last week.
Which was when #3 had come up again in the rotation. I've never done it before and it has a bit of a reputation for being tough. It's unpopular. A bit.
So having a chance to get out today and being up early, it seemed a good way of getting some hill riding in for the climbing challenge on Strava this month.
I rode to the Sparrow meeting point, Newbold in Chesterfield, from there it's a good long drag up the Holymoorside Climb to the top of Beeley. After Beeley a run through Chatsworth and Bakewell with a few little climbs in the mix before hitting the nice steep one at Stanton. After Stanton comes the main climb on this ride, Rowsley Bank, one of the 100.
It's often a nasty ride with traffic, but today was pretty good. Just the head wind to deal with on the top section, and I'm not in very good form at the moment. But it's a good climb for me, I like it. Mix of really tough stuff with the long finish to keep you pushing.
Still felt ok when I'd finished the main route, so did the slightly longer return home with a bonus climb up Apperknowle. But Instead of sticking on New Road, I detoured off to try an alternative finish to the steep section. Which was pretty much just as steep... But nice to try something different.
Cracking route, just the kind of thing I like to ride, not sure what all the fuss is about...