The Grindleford Goat sportive offers two routes: The Nanny (the shorter route which I rode last year) and The Billy. The Billy is designed for the fittest and most experienced cyclists, and it covers approximately 69 miles with 1577 metres of high gain/loss. The climbs include the epic Mam Nick, Millers Dale, and Beeley Hill. As an untreatable anaemic (on a bike), I knew that this would be my toughest challenge to date given the hilly terrain and, my goodness me, it sure was!
On The Billy I found my peak, and my limit. I rode it all, and made all of the climbs without breaks, but it was a gruelling endurance feat. Early the following day I woke with vertigo and heart palpitations, and had to rest up in bed. I guess that was my body’s way of telling me that for once, my mind had dragged it a little too far. Until The Billy, I had never rode ‘a sportive’, and it is something else as far as a bike event is concerned. There is very little time for breaks – one does have to continuously ‘get a move on’. So whilst the scenery of Derbyshire and the Peak District is beautiful on The Billy, there isn’t much by way of moments to pause to take it all in.
Fortunately for me, the Grindleford Goat sportive is a very friendly event organised by super friendly people. Indeed, the organisers were so accommodating of me that they let me start early as I was anxious to complete the route before sunset! The riders on The Billy were in general extremely fit, as revealed to me by just how many whizzed past on the beast of Mam Nick!
My unknown heroes of the day were the young lad who rode it in 3:45 and the older chap who rode it on a Brompton, yes, a Brompton! Now, for Anaemic On A Bike, that’s the spirit of cycling she truly admires! I would love for one of these MAMILs on a carbon bike to trade that in one year and ride The Billy on a six-gear bike: go on, really push yourselves, the bar’s been set! 🙂 I have since found out that the older chap is a keen Nordic skier, which tells me something of his fitness levels.
I ought to add to the heroes list, myself and Cate “Amazon Woman” Hammond, because we did it: our hardest ride to date, in which I discovered my peaks and limits. I guess that’s what cycling is all about.