The end of BST had 17 intrepid souls dotted around a packed Eureka Cafe waiting for the 10 o’clock start. The extra hour in bed and the prospect of a rain free day bringing everybody out. I knew the ride was going out to Delamere but that was about all.
The roll call in the layby across from the cafe read like this: Keith and Debbie, Graham and Margaret, Bob and Jill, George, Janet, Lusso jacket John, Andy who christened Johns jacket, Barbara and John, Annabel, Adelle, Phil and moi.
We rolled out through Capenhurst and out towards Backford where the road was closed for a large load being moved. It was good to be at the back of the group for once as this particular stretch of the route had numerous gates on the route which were held open by the frontrunners. Thanks. We had a stop for Margaret picking up a puncture.
Down the dip at Backford it was on to the canal towpath, it wasn’t Margaret,s day as the saddle bag on the back of the bike managed to detach itself and three of us got detached from the group. John got us back back on the route by pulling us off the towpath just down the hill from the back of Chester Zoo.
I’ll have to look at the route on the GPS as we ended up at the Windsurfing Centre for ellevenses. It wasn’t too bad but they were overwhelmed by 17 of us turning up at once.
It’s one of those places you ride past on the way to somewhere else. Looks like a good location as it was fairly windy for an inland site.
Elevenses over we retraced our steps for a short while and then things really started to get interesting. We were heading out towards Delamere when The Yeld got mentioned, I’ve ridden down it on a ride with Bob midweek but its a different league riding up the thing. Personal records were broken on this climb, more of which later.
The road up to the bottom of the Yeld is a bit snotty with a strip of debris down the middle and is a challenge by itself. I stopped at the junction to take a few pictures and spoke to the two walkers as they past. They asked if we were a club, I said we were the CTC and had cycled from the Wirral. Busy roads got mentioned to which the reply was the whole point of going out was not to cycle on busy roads.
Back to the riding, George was next up the climb then Ray followed by the rest of the group going at their own paces.
There was a short stop to regroup further up the hill and then it was on to the major climb of the day, The Yeld.
This is one stiff climb in my book the first part is at a gradient of 10% or 1 in 10. Just when you think youve cracked it the second part of the climb comes into view.
The final part of the climb is at a gradient of 14% which is nigh on 1 in 7.
I have to admit trying to grab the granny ring at the bottom of the final section but fate would have it that the change didn’t happen. I was stuck in 40-25 and just had to stick it out untill the top of the climb.
I was seeing new numbers on the Garmin Edge 305, it has me logged at 187 BPM which is 104% of my previous max which was set at the spinning class on Friday.
Anyway I made it to the top in one piece and so did all the others.
The fun wasn’t over as it’s a fast descent to the main road and once across that there is another climb which is not as fierce up to the highest point of the day.
I missed the Reindeers on this climb but the views across Cheshire were an equal compensation. Ray and I headed off to the lunch stop at The Abbey as we were dining in.
If you’ve got a weight problem you’d be better off steering clear of this place, the plate size is 17 inches. Portions looked huge and the place was heaving. Ray and I had trouble picking something off the menu but they did do a range of lighter meals.
It was Cajun chicken pasta for me which came with a small salad and garlic bread.
Ray ordered bread and pate, the bad news was they had ran out and he had to settle for a toasted cheese baguette as did Keith. Phil had had a childs portion of something as most of the meals were just too big. A fair bit of the time was spent in the queue to order the stuff but the meals did seem to arrive promptly.
Lunch over we assembled in the car park and it was across the road and down the oad to the Delamere Forest Visitor centre. The traffic here waiting to get out was horrendous but that wasn’t our problem. The next section through the forest had me thinking this was Paris-Roubaix or at least Hell of the North West. More suited to a cyclo-cross bike than the bling Trek Maddone. Once we were back on tarmac it was time to have a bit of fun with me going off the front as it would be a shame to waste a downhill freewheeling. The next juntion came up and there it was a climb up the hill past a pub that Ray said he wasn’t impressed by the food they served.
I got a bum steer from John on the route as we dropped down through Manley, next right didn’t look too promising so I stopped. It was just as well as the whole group sailed past and continued down the hill. It was back past the Windsurfing Centre and on towards Chester. Nothing major happened thereafter, the group split crossing the A55 and most made it back to the Eureka Cafe before the light showed signs of dissapearing.
The stats. Total milage for my day 61.85 miles. Calories burnt 2600. Total ascent for ride 676 metres. 2200FT
Steepest gradient 14% Av cadence 65. Max heart rate 187BPM. Av heart rate 130 BPM
and one puncture in the group.
Thanks everyone for another memorable day.
The pictures have been compressed for the page, if you want a copy of the original let me know.