You can be sure of two things when taking part in the Wiggle Peaks Punisher sportive — making the most of the Peak District on two wheels, and the punishing physical pain of doing so. With over 9,000ft elevation gain on this ride, it’s no Peaks pushover.
From the start you’ll head out in an anti-clockwise direction around the National Park. It doesn’t take long before the first serious climb of the day presents itself, as you’ll haul up the hills to get through the historic village of Eyam via Grindleford and Sir William Hill Road (a climb not to be underestimated!), before moving into Hope Valley.
Just after the honeypot village of Castleton, you’ll take on one of the biggest tests of the day — a timed, closed-road climb of Winnats Pass. Here you can really push yourself without the need to worry about the busy traffic usual to Winnats. At least the picturesque Peak District rural roads provide a stunning backdrop for what will surely by now be a painful exchange with your legs, and there’s a way to go yet.
Riders wanting to compete in the climb must log their time on Strava. You can view the segment here: Wiggle Peak District Punisher KOM
The next couple of climbs are kinder, at least. They’ll take you up to around the same elevation gain, but they’re more drawn out and less steep. You might prefer a briefer and harsher effort, but there’s no escaping them either way, battling the gradient through Whaley Bridge and beyond. A final push through to the highest peak of the ride will take you through Buxton, Burbage, up to the Cat and Fiddle and past Macclesfield Forest.
From here on in, the hills don’t let up and you’ll tackle constant elevations and drops along the way. The final sting — but by no means the last climb — comes just outside Thorncliffe. As you rejoin the standard route you’ll weave your way back and forth along the River Manifold, before heading back up Long Dale to rejoining the short route and head for home.
This isn’t for the faint-hearted, make no mistake, but you’ll savour completing this tough test for some time to come.
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