This promises to be a lengthy post, I’ve summoned the courage to post a picture of myself and the toy before start of the ride. The nerves are clearly showing, I just wish I’d smiled for the camera.
What I had pictured in my mind as a solo ride quickly became a CTC ride led by Ray who I’d met the previous week on the Whitchurch ride.
After signing on, five of us set out for the first stop at Holt at 38 miles.The group comprising of Ray, Guy, Janet, Adelle and moi. A left turn instead of a right at a T junction had us rejoin the route about 1/2 a mile further on. It proved to be a stroke of luck as we joined a group of about 10 to 15 riders who were going about the same pace.
Good progress was made and soon we were crossing the A54 at Tarvin Sands and then on to the straight roads to Willington Corner. There was a bit of a wake up call (hill) before Tarporley and then it rolled along towards Beeston Castle. We’d been following a chap in front who looked like he knew where he was going and after crossing the Canal on the hump backed bridge we got talking. Turns out he wasn’t on the ride at all but was local and was just going out for a Sunday ride. Our ways parted at the fork in the road below the Castle.
It rolled along through Tattenhall with a short stop for a snack then it was on to Fardon down the hill over the bridge and up the hill to the lunchstop at Holt village hall, signing in at 12.04 Lots of familiar faces there including old Terry who I rode the second leg back to the Eureka Cafe with last year. Lunch over and with the bottle refilled it was time to get back on the bikes.
The plan was to take a picture of Paul Burrels (Princess Diana,s butler) flower shop but that didn’t happen for some reason. I did meet the chap I rode the Liverpool-Chester-Liverpool ride with by the memorial, had a quick chat and our ways had to part as he was on the short route.
For the second time I’ve forgotten his name. (I’m hopeless with names as you may have gathered)
Then it was on towards Nant Mill and those climbs I was fearing. Things were going fine untill I picked up a slow puncture at Holt lodge farm.
The tube got changed with no sign of what had caused it and Ray lent me his pump to inflate the tyre. The super duper extra light carbon fibre one that I picked up from Decathlon is little more than an ornament.
It was half inflated when we swapped over pumping the tyre up, the next thing you know I’ve snapped the handle off Rays pump. I owe you a new pump Ray. Janet comes to the rescue with a traditional frame mounted pump which just goes to show the simplest ideas are usually the best.
Panic over it was back on course to Errdig country park and down the lane to the end by the industrial estate where the dog chased Ray and I last week. No problems this week.
We had a slight problem with the route when we crossed the A483 after Farmworld in so much as we doubled back for about half a mile and then had to retrace our steps again as we were going the right way in the firstplace.
Past the Crematorium and under the disused railway bridge and we’re well on our way to tackle a major climb on the route to Nant Mill, just past the Iron works it hits you.
I have to admit to breaking out in a sweat on this one! but it was over and done with in a couple of minutes. We rolled into Nant Mill for a cup of tea and a toilet stop.
Guy was worried that we may have been last on the road as no one had passed us since Holt but a few minutes later a couple of groups rolled in, one stopped others didn’t.
The climb out of Nant Mill is first gear stuff in a car but hard on a bike even with 30 gears.
At least it was short but still left me out of breath. Then it was on to the bit I was dreading the river crossing and the tree lined climb that followed it.
I chickened out and rode over the footbridge not wanting a dunking in the river/stream.
I can’t remember ever putting as much effort into anything like I put into that climb. The surface wasn’t too good near the bottom and I broke traction a few times as the gradient got steeper. Coming out of the trees the surface improved but just when you think you had it licked it goes around a bit of a bend and then gets steeper again.
I’m on the limit here, I can see the end I’m breathing heavy (very heavy) and I’ve got this feeling that the beta blockers are kicking in and limiting my heart rate. I’ve reached the top and spend what seems like a minute getting my breath back. If I had to rate it on the exercise scale it would be somewhere between 8 and 9. I’m slumped over the bars as the others come into view one by one, none of them seem to be in the state I’ve just been in. Sheldon Browns gear calculator is going to get a good dose of looking at pretty soon.
It’s literally all downhill from this point I saw a new top speed come up on the speedometer of 41.9 mph and I wasn’t going for it!
The mind wanders when your on your own and I start humming Homeward Bound by Simon and Garfunkel with this image of Widnes (corrected by dave from work) railway station going through my head.( I always thought it was Runcorn Station, which always looked particulary bleak))
Folklore has it that it was written there after they had missed the last train.
I took the above picture on the move with Ray, Guy and Janet in the distance. It was about this time that I’d realised I had very few pictures of ride but then again it was never a photo shoot.
As we were riding back to the Eureka cafe we passed the Chester Road Club having a call of nature on an Electricity substation in the middle of nowhere. I’ve got to say that would be the last place on earth I’d want to pee on. Anyway after a bit of a mix up the group split a few miles from the Cafe. We all made it back and I was going to get a group photo but the super duper new phone played up but luckily Anne obliged so one should appear on the Eureka Cafe website.
A great day out, thanks everyone.