CTC Ride to Utkinton Garden Centre

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We had a slightly delayed start while Alan rips a wheel out of a fixie while said rider goes back to the Eureka for a tube. Now I travel light but still manage to fit two tubes in the bag. The valve had ripped out so couldn’t be repaired. Chester were off to the Ice cream farm which is where I was planning to go tommorow. With me it’s all about  the ride. After a short delay we head out.

Fairly steady on the way out it was past Cheshire Oaks and Stanlow and the off the main roads and into the Cheshire countryside. At Mouldsworth  there was a slight delay while a new bike suffered a problem but it was good to have a blow. Anyway there is always a bit of a challenge in Allan,s rides. Just past Willington corner Allan calls out a left turn with a loud groan coming from the pack. Now I’ve been up this once before and it’s “testing” as we say.

The gradient steepens and I’m soon off the front in 40×23 but I sense company this time. I’ve still got a gear left and it’s just as well I didn’t use it. Gordon who flew past me on a climb 2 weeks ago was trying to to pull the same trick this week as well. This week it didn’t come off. We are off the front  by some way but I sence his prescence and dig a bit deeper. Gordon starts to come alongside but due to the increased effort doesn’t quite make it. There is only half a wheel in it but I maintain the lead for a good  100m, each of us putting a great deal of effort into it. It is the first time I have been tested like this on a climb so thanks Gordon I’d call it 1-1.

Now a year ago I was 6 stone heavier and the above would have been pure fantasy.
I’ve got to admit two old blokes racing each other up a hill in the middle of Cheshire with no prize at the top of it other than kudos does seem a bit riddiculous but that’s the way it is on these rides.  We ride together to the Garden Centre and the others catch us up. Somewhere in all this we had been through Kelsall.

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Now last time I was here it was August 2006 on my first ride with the CTC and everybody got treated. The cafe looks quite smart now and it is reasonably priced. The baked potato with tuna was nearly half what I’ve been charged recently. Two of the Chester road club had made it there and there were other dinners. After a shakey start last year it looks like it’s doing ok. I’d go back again.

Now after we are fed and watered it’s time to set off back home but first there is an incident with a goat and a banana. I don’t make this up. There is a goat in the field of sheep and it’s geting fed a banana. It’s all happening on the left of the picture above.

Now on the route back at Willington corner we turn left an it’s all downhill as they say.Rather than waste a good hill I sprint off the front, I’m touching 30 mph for a good  stretch of this, 25 mph as the bottom end of the range. This gives me enough time to get composed for the picture below. Bob in the red saluting. Good numbers on this ride, there were 12 of us.

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Now I’ve never taken the footpath through Chester Zoo so it was a bit of a surprise, there is a lot of mud an debris further down the track but its not from the zoo. It brings you out at the hump back bridge over the canal. It was back to Backford and across the road  where the Happy eater used to be. There is another opportunity to fly down the hill and get some momentum going up the other side. With a 1/3 to go it’s time to start paddling the lever to match roadspeed to my 80 rpm cadence.

The gated path along the railway line was a fairly slick operation with no holdups there was a short stop at the end and then it was back to the Eureka via Capenhurst. Here we had an incident with a blck Range Rover that got impatient and overtook us all as we were about to turn right into the lane to Ledsham. There we loud shouts from the back not to make the turn. Thanks lads. I had another incident with a silver 4×4 in Willaston where some bastard tried to wing me. There is 2/3 rds of the reg number in my head and you don’t want to get stuck at a junction with me cycling up behind you.

Back at the Eureka it gave me chance to have a chat to Roy and Joan about the ride on Sunday.

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