Frozen Bladder RallyThe Frozen Bladder is Jugsters MCC's winter Rally and is held in January at a site not far from Swadlincote.
The Rally has been going for a number of years, but 2009 was my first visit. The Rally is based at a sports club, and the camping is around the edges of a football pitch so is nice and flat. (But more about that later!)
I travelled down on the Saturday, and despite my best intentions I didn't get away until midday. The morning's rain had given way to a sunny and dry afternoon, so I took advantage of that for a trip down from Bradford through the Peak District.
I had a bit of a bad start as my usual route through Huddersfield takes me past the football stadium and it appeared that they were playing at home. This caused me to divert, and I added about 10 miles on to the journey because I like the extended alternative route!
I was certainly on the high ground as I passed close to the Emley Moor and also the Holme Moss radio / TV transmitters. The drop down the hill to the Glossop Road was superb, dry and totally traffic free for a change! The remainder of the ride via Buxton, Ashbourne then down the A515 until I turned for Burton on Trent and on to the Rally was equally good. These days this route is spoilt to a certain extent by the 50 mph limits on large stretches of open road, it used to be hard keeping to 60, but now you have to consider that any more than 70 will potentially get you six points.
The Rally was in full swing when I arrived; I was booked in by the friendly team of girls on control duty and received my rally patch and wristband (no badges for this rally.)
It looked as though the Band were getting set up in the main hall of the Club. I had a wander around the village, and checked out the other two pubs close by; both were fairly full of rally people and served "Real" Ale. There was another pub a bit further out, but more of a restaurant type.
There was a Burger van on site, which was also open in the morning for bacon butties or full breakfasts depending how you felt.
There was a large bonfire to one side of the car park and an impressive pile of old pallets for the arsonists among us.
I always like to park my bike next to my tent where possible, it saves carrying everything, and I wondered why the car park was so full. I soon found out when I rode up the edge towards the camping area, the grass was really slippery and your tyres seemed to clog up and loose their grip as soon as you left the tarmac!
I would have enjoyed the show on Sunday morning, watching the bikes trying to get off the field, if only I hadn't had to do the same!
- Ted Trett
I'm not just being nice, I'm envious (or was, until I saw the photos of the soaked ground).