White Peaks, Cheshire and Stoke (Audax, DIY, 200km, 3AAA)

Inspired by my 200km (3.5AAA) Mountain Passes of Snowdonia I created a 200km (3AAA) from home. In effect, I merged several rides into one and in hindsight, I should have given this more thought! The wind and rain were kind to me as I bypassing Elkstone! The leg to Ashbourne was lovely, as the sun had risen to warm me.  I arrived too early at Ashbourne and all the shops were still closed, so I pushed on to Longnor and the Cobbles Cafe on the high street for beans on toast. On the way I saw a cow giving birth has I was climbing a hill, by the time I was close enough to take a picture the calf had been born and the farmer was on his way (only on an Audax).

I took the first turning on leaving Longnor to avoid the 20% tarmac wall at Hollinsclough but the views were not as spectacular. However, the climb was much more manageable. I Stopped at the cafe when I reached the Leek to Buxton road (A53) as I fancied a can of fizzy pop.

The leg up the A53 and over the top to the Cat and Fiddle Inn also offered fine vistas and you can see the BT tower over in the distance which is your next target!

I had forgotten why I normally turn off the A54 at Allgreave onto Rabbit Bank but was soon reminded. The roads are pothole-ridden, narrow with blind corners; several cars came a little close, even for me! I will remove this section next time. The views from Mow Cop were as spectacular as always and on a clear day, you have 365-degree vista: worth a detour if you are ever this way.

The last section to home was mostly flat but there were very few places to grab any water or food so I would divert this route into Haslington next time. I was surprised to achieve a Strava PR on Keele bank (@115miles) by knocking off nearly 3minutes. However, my wife had just messaged me telling me that she had a bag of cheesy puffs (my favourite snack) waiting for me!

I am loving cycling from home, DIY’s are great.

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