Buxton Spa Report
Sunday July 27th
The inaugural Buxton Spa sportive took place in absolutely perfect riding conditions: dry roads, minimal wind, sunshine and blue skies. With three route options to choose from: 136km (3006m of ascent), 88km (2064m) and 55km (1009m) 150+ riders rolled out from the iconic Pavilion Gardens & Opera House in the centre of Buxton. The routes set off in an anti-clockwise circuit initially tackling Long Hill out of Buxton and then into the Goyt Valley before heading south through Cheshire; the long and medium routes then went further south into Staffordshire whilst the short route looped back to Buxton via Longnor and Axe Edge. Whilst the short route riders were enjoying their post ride tea and cake, the medium route riders were tackling the roads just to the north of Leek via Tittesworth Reservoir before climbing from Thorncliffe up onto the stunning Morridge Hill (great views over The Roaches) and joining the short route back to Buxton.
The long route however headed further south towards the urban sprawl of Stoke via some beautiful cycling lanes around Longsdon, Cellarhead, Dilhorne and Freehay before finally descending into Oakamoor and tackling the epic Star Bank climb (used a number of times on the Tour of Britain). A descent to the cobbles in the lovely village of Butterton soon after Winkhill made for some interesting riding technique followed by the wonderful 6km climb of Elkstone. A steadier ride then followed via Longnor and Earl Sterndale with just the final ascent up to the top of Axe Edge left before the long descent back to the finish.
The Pavilion Gardens were very lively with visitors and tourists in the afternoon sunshine plus a brass band was playing therefore creating a very relaxed holiday atmosphere for all concerned – tea, cake, ice creams and a horizontal position were the order of the day.
The final round of this years Dark & White series is The 3rd Tommo Sportive starting and finishing from Carsington Water nr Ashbourne on Sunday 14th September – three routes are again on offer – for more details and entries see here https://darkwhitecycling.co.uk/tommo/
For an easier ride try this one on 27th September from Bakewell https://darkwhitecycling.co.uk/try-a-sportive-thornbridge/
For something tougher with climbs in excess of 20% check out the Matlock Top Ten (25th October) https://darkwhitecycling.co.uk/matlock-top-ten/