Most sportives are an all-day commitment but the Rat Race BaseCamp Sportive, part of the Cliffhanger Adventure Festival in Sheffield this weekend, is a short, sharp hit of the best of Peak District cycling.
At 50km, your friends and family can make the most of the Festival while you enjoy the ride. Although relatively short on distance, with 630m of climbing packed in, you’ll certainly feel you’ve cycled further and earned a refreshing pint or ice cream.
Peak District local Nik Cook and Team GB duathlete has ridden the route for Road.cc, and has the following top tips:
Get in a group: Leaving Graves Park in Sheffield, the opening 12 km is an undulating gradual climb. You escape Sheffield after just a couple of kilometers and really feel in the Peak proper. It was a real battle riding it on my own. The final couple of kilometers in particular, after Owler Bar, are on an open moorland road and will probably be into a headwind. Find a decent sized group, work together and share the load until you reach the Froggatt descent.
Gearing: There are a few steep pitches and, with wet roads likely, you’ll need to be able to stay in your saddle. A compact chainset with 25t or even 28t out back wouldn’t be excessive.
Grindleford surprise: The vicious ramp of Sir William Hill out of Grindleford is the first real test of the ride. It really steepens at the start and there’s a Strava segment to be had to Bank Top Lane. Dig in as it does relent and you’re rewarded with a cracking descent through Sheriff Wood.
Cautious descending: You’ll be descending on some narrow and slippery roads so ride well within yourself. Take special care after Sheriff Wood as there are some steep hairpins. Also watch out on the tight lanes on the short detour off the Ringinglow Road.
Food and drink: There’s an aid station at Hathersage so you should be fine with just one bottle and a few snacks.
Save some strength: At just over halfway, the two stage climb out of Hathersage to Ringinglow Top is the crux of the ride and, apart from a brief descent, you’re climbing for 8 km. The bottom section is the steepest but then it opens out onto more gradual moorland roads where you can settle into a good rhythm. Don’t forget to look up from your bars as the scenery is stunning. Even on wet days in the mist, there’s always a special atmosphere riding along the foot of Stanage Edage.
High moors: You’ll be riding across high and exposed moors so make sure you pack a decent waterproof.
Tyre choice: Some of the lanes are rough and in patches gravelly. This is no ride for super skinny lightweight tyres. I rode Vittoria Open Pave and they were perfect.
Time taken: Riding solo, in pretty foul conditions and not killing myself, the ride took 1:55. Find a descent group, save your efforts for the climbs and a strong rider should be able to dip under the ninety minutes mark.
The event starts in Graves Park, Sheffield with riders being set off between 0900-1000. For information on how to sign up go to www.ratracebasecamp.com/bike.html
For information on the rest of the festival go to www.cliff-hanger.co.uk
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.