What a day this turned out to be, 100 miles of Cheshires finest and this was the short route! It’s been an unbeleivable day with sunshine, headwinds, tailwinds, hills, fantastic scenery, quiet roads and good company along with an excellent route to make this a great way to start the year.
First off, many thanks to Ray for sending me the route for the Garmin Edge 305. This really saved the day, I was up untill 23.15 the night before as Anquet had managed to loose EVERYTHING time was tight enough prepping the bike, changing the rear tyre and getting the seat out of the car without loosing a 100mile route. It was an early start and I didn’t get much sleep too.
The start at Cheadle was easy enough to find with the nearby carpark full of cars and the odd van with bikes being unloaded.
In the hall I met Ray and Craig my riding partners for the day. We had a photo opportunity at the signing in table and then we were off. Ray was my mentor with the Garmin Navigation saying to use the compass. I’d never found the compass usefull before but thats because I was following tracks and not waypoints. Heading out of Cheadle through the suburbs towards the airport the Edge was bleeping out the turns.
We saw another member of the Chester Road Club miss two turns before we had got past the airport, and this guy is quick, if he knew where he was going. Thing were starting to look up, this was turning out to be fun. It’s amazing how quickly we were in the countryside only the flights from Manchester Airport reminding us how close we were to a major city.
A little bit further on The Hare and the Toitoise comes to roost, there is a long slow rise at Tatton Park, it goes on as far as the eye can see, I set off seeing it as a challenge there is a headwind but as I rise to the challenge I am soon reeled back in by Ray. This is early days and everybody needs to take a turn on the front. I’ve wasted energy that I am going to need later.
Shortly after this Ray and Craig are greeted by a bunch of unknown riders that pass us, “Hello Chester Road club” the greeting is returned. We are riding out of our own turf so don’t know the club colours, there are lots by the look of things. Later it comes about we have been riding around a group not on the Audax but a club run, just as well we relied on the Garmins and not them leading us out.
Ray and I were like a pair of kids with new toys as we rode round. The Edges came up with the turns 10 seconds before they were due and to top it all gave us a 10 second countdown. Ray had done us proud with the navigation. There is some spectacular scenery to see in Cheshire if your off the major roads and by the looks of things we were going to see it all.
There was one descent and one sharp climb of note before the first check point at Delamere. When we got there it was ” CLOSED” due to storm damage.
Down at the Station Cafe there is a bit of interest in the toy but I’m more interested in showing off the Garmin, It’s been fantastic up to now. Making a long ride a pleasure. No arguments about which way to turn you just ride, no maps to pore over, guessing where you are etc etc.
After Delamere the next stop is Audlem. On the road to Cotebrooke Ray urges me to catch a rider in fronts wheel which was duly done, there was then a group of five of us making better progress than before. The wind was with us or at least not head on and 20mph plus was the order of the day. We rode with them for a fair few miles and then our paths diverged. The Garmins said one path that we duly followed and parted company.
Large stretches of this ride was new to me like Audlem where pictures where pictures are taken.
We take the Audlem Road out towards Hatherton and end up passing Crewe to the south along with another new batch of first time visited villages. We are making our way to the next control point, a one stop shop where we have to buy something to get a receipt. Now I travel light, flapjacks and an energy bar is about it. Chicken and sweetcorn sandwiches, Soreen maltloaf and full sugar Pepsi get purchased. The Pepsi is the first cola with sugar I have bought for years.
It’s around this time that looking at the Garmin proves a bit frustrating. No matter how far we seem to cycle the as the crow flies reading back to the start never seems to budge. There are other groups around us that it turns out are Manchester based clubs that are just out for a ride and not on the Audax. As I was feeling good at the time and the road looked inviting I took off after one, 22 mph came up on the Garmin and I backed off and Ray and Craig caught me up.This was fun.
Mike (the organiser) had the last laugh though. The route twisted and turned but always upward. It never seemed to have a summit, we passed Redes Mere but still the route was up. Not realising what I had let myself in for each new turn was met by a curse from me. You could never see the summit to pace yourself.
Somewhere around here was a particulary steep short sharp shock and at the summit I’d stopped with a group of Manchester riders. Ray and Craig sailed past as if they hadn’t seen me. A bit further on they stopped, we then had a comical photo opportunity.
The light is fading, Rays digital camera comes out. I think I get a shot of Ray and Graig that is after the Manchester clubs made a guest appearance.
Ray tries to return the favour but the timer on the flash means Ray is continuallly taking pictures of his foot or the road. It’s taking that long for the camera to focus and work out that it needs the flash that by the time the flash had charged you’d have given up on the shot and were looking at the camera to see what is wrong. Then and only then it decides conditions are right to take the picture.
Before passed through Alderley there was another control point and this is definiatly band D council tax territory and it’s litterally all down hill from there. Every other car seems to be a Bentley or a Range Rover Vogue. the light is starting to go and it’s time for some lights. The traffic is starting to increase as we approach built up areas. Before you know it we are back at the start. 100 miles on the Sigma speedo, a bit less on the Garmin as it didn’t get started until we were away from the start hence the gap in the route.
This route has too many trackpoints to load into motionbased I’m working on reducing them but it may take a few more days. Done 2 Feb, enjoy.
Zoom in on following route it is truly superb a true testament of the Garmin Edge 305. Ridden with no maps just the route sheet to fall back on, which was once and that was just to confirm what the GPS was telling us. What a day, it promises to be another great year. Thanks Ray and Craig for a memorable day, it won’t be the last.
Just a couple of stats from the Garmin
99 miles 13.4 mph, 7hrs 10mins, 6280 calories, Pulse 134 BPM, 4007 ft of climbing Average Cadence 63rpm.