16/06/2021 - Big Ride = Big Smiles

Peak District Challenge

100 miles, big smiles

Emma Morris Adventures

Keen cyclist, member of the local uni mountain bike club, founder of Women In Cycling Festival and all-round lovely person Emma Morris set herself a challenge of riding 100 miles of mountain bike trails, she faced more obstacles than you can imagine - but overcame it all to complete the challenge, and she came away smiling.

Emma writes... Last year whilst undertaking the obligatory COVID zoom quizzes, my friends and I decided we wanted to ride 100 miles whilst conquering all the great Peak district descents. Our first attempt was on Summer Solstice 2020, but some bad route planning and poor time management meant we only managed 81miles.

Convinced we had it in us, we planned for another attempt in late 2020 but a few mishaps got in the way. First, I broke nine bones by face-planting a car, and then my friend Diesel - jealous of my broken bones - decided to shatter his leg in a motocross accident. But, after all that we remained keen. All year we were chatting about the ride, refining the route and getting hyped! In another obstacle, our bikes took a bit of a beating during some seriously intense winter riding. My new Cotic Jeht not yet ready, Cotic were generous enough to lend me a Flaremax for the big day. We just had to hope Diesel's bike would survive the ride.

Setting off at 2.40am - with our bikes and bags fully loaded - it felt like we were going on a proper adventure and we were stoked! We reached 50k by 7am and we were feeling great. The furthest point was Glossop so we were never that far away from home. It was both awesome and depressing looking around the hills and seeing exactly where we had been and where we had got to go. We'd done Stanage, Bamford, Hathersage, Froggatt, Curbar, Baslow, Hassop, Longstone, Eyam, Shatton Moor, Bradwell before 10.30am.

Emma Morris Adventures

As we were riding up Pindale, we decided to save energy and cut out Cavedale and Winnats Pass. BEST DECISION EVER! Instead we headed up Rushups Edge to Jacob's Ladder - boy was that painful when you're tired and carrying 21 hours worth of food and water...

About 100km in (around Potato Alley) I hit the wall- it was the biggest test of mental strength I've had. We were pushing as fast as we could but still going slowly. Tiredness and hunger hit me hard and I had a silly crash. All was fine though and we kept saying 'just keep pedalling and just keep smiling'.

Emma Morris Adventures

As soon as Glossop was in sight it was like a second burst of energy. The hype was high and so was the energy. We were pedalling some comparatively easy miles and at this point we knew we were going to make it to 100 miles. This felt incredible!

However, half way down Cutgate, Diesel's free hub started seizing - oh no, here we go! Luckily, we bumped into some unprepared riders with a flat tire and whilst we provided them with the tools to fix it, they helped us to get Diesel's cassette spinning again. This was our longest rest point and the first proper conversation we'd had with anyone but each other.

Emma Morris Adventures

We hit 100 miles around Ladybower after coming back over Cutgate and now the final part: getting home.

We were determined to finish on our local routes, so we headed back up via Bamford Edge, past Stanage and along Burbage. By this point, our bums hurt, our feet hurt and we'd been pedalling for 15 hours (20 hours elapsed). We were very tired so we decided to avoid a nasty crash on the tracks and head home on the road.

21 hours after setting off we had done it. Although our bodies were in pain, we felt incredible! We'd ridden 114.5miles (184km) and it felt great to know that we had really pushed ourselves mentally and physically - sooo cool!"

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