What a day this turned out to be. A tale of bad weather, the steepest climbing I’ve done and sheep. I wasn’t going to bother with a ride today but I’m glad I did.
I needed a lift down the Eureka as I was running late and needed my breakfast before the ride. Chester and North Wales CTC were off to Eastham and the Ferry Hotel for lunch, this was a bit too close to home for me. Plus I am trying to avoid places that pile the plate high. Some years ago I had the 32 ounce steaks they served here. Is it any wonder I went up to 21 stone. So I gave it a miss.
Merseyside CTC were going to Flint led by Alan. So Flint it was along with 8 others. I’ve ridden with most of the others at one stage or the other. Emerging from the Cafe it starts to rain, the forecast was good but that would be later on. It was a stop for rainwear down Woodbank and past RAF Sealand it was particularly bleak with a strong headwind to boot. If anyone had had any sense we’d have turned back. We cross on the Dee on the rail bridge and as we thread through Shotton a chap stops us all and asks if we are interested in some tandems he is selling.
Bob leaves us at the college and we head towards Flint, we pass Paper Mill Lane which I had down as the route up the hill. No such luck Alan had a much tougher route in his devious mind. We take a parallel road further on but end up at a set of traffic lights in Flint that have a cycle lane turning right across the traffic, cars excluded. We take the fork in the road to the hospital. Around here we take a left up Cornist lane. (You can see it on the Google map if you zoom in far enough)
This was the start of the fun, I turned on the gradient function on the Garmin boy did that come in useful. Bear in mind the steepest thing I’ve seen is 17% up till now. The first section is steep enough and I arrive at the crossroads first stopping for more directions from Alan. The others come through and I set off near the back, the instructions are to keep going straight on. I pass some of the others on here I think Ron dismounted and I was in the granny ring. It’s steep about 20% (1in5) Alpe D’Huez is 10/11% but long. One chap made it to the mid section of this part but stopped (I don’t know his name).
Now it starts to get interesting, REALLY interesting, I’m out front again the road dips and then starts to climb again, I’m at about 9 out of 10 on the perceived effort scale and the climb is just getting steeper. I’m riding up a river literally, the road (track) is awash with all the recent rainfall. The Garmin is locked at 20% and it looks steeper. I’m looking for a reason to dismount and walk. My wish is granted when a sheep leaps over a hedge and runs down the bank in front of me.
Respite was shortlived 50 yards up the hill I try to get back on the bike. It’s just that the sheep that I used as an excuse to walk has joined up with the rest of the flock. There are about 20 of them at least. Every move I make pushes them further up the road. The A55 is at the top of the road and you can hear the traffic speeding by. Next thing a chap in a red BMW pulls up. They’re not his and obviously not mine and seem to keep a 50 yard distance between us.
The rest of the group are nowhere to be seen which is probably just as well at this time. The chap with the BM phones the Police to alert them about the hazard. As we move up the lane I end up taking my HiViz jacket off as it is spooking the sheep. The BM guy scales the bank goes up the field to get in front of the sheep. Then the rest of the group arrive. All but one stop. One doesn’t seem to grasp the situation and keeps on going, potentially driving the sheep onto the road.
The quality is poor as the light is poor. Ray reckons I should have taken pictures of the whole event. the sheep have just run up the bank out of sight. Try to picture it with 20 to 30 sheep in the road.
The BM chap manages to send the sheep back down the lane, the others manage to send the sheep up the bank and further back down the lane.Another two cars have joined the queue. The drama is over and we cycle to the top of the lane and the Transport Cafe.
This is the shallow bit at the top. I burnt 500 calories before I took this picture.
The Transport Cafe (I’ve forgotten the name) was just that. Basic food, a lot that I no longer eat but a fast service and cheap. Probably not too many of these places left these days.
After we had finished there was more to come, with another two climbs that registered 20% on the Garmin. Ray had a Puncture to repair so thats one for the stats. Turning right from the cafe we then turn left and go under the A55. There is another climb that also touched 20% up to Pentre Halkyn. Chris is starting to struggle a bit on his fixie. Its hard going even on 30/28. Once round the bend it flattens off and I though that was it for the day. No such luck, Alan leads the group up Halkyn and yet another climb where the gradient is 20% in places. Once through Halkyn we take the lane that runs along the top of the hill. Then it is a fast ride down through the lanes eventually ending up in Northop.
Here the battery on the Garmin finally gave up. I should have left it at that but started it up at RestHill again so the route got corrupted on the upload to Motionbased.
The ride back was a lot better than the ride out as the sun was out.
It was another sprint up Woodbank to get this picture and then another tea and flapjack at the Eureka Cafe. Rode back with Roy and Joan to Willaston continued on Route 56 and finally up RestHill as the light was going.
Had a great day, got beaten by a hill, played at being a shepherd, looked down from the top of Halkyn and wondered ” Have I just ridden up that !”. Great scenery, good people and this is Wednesday in the first week of January.
Height Ascended 1254 ft
Max Height 844 ft Halkyn
Min Height 21 ft
Calories Burnt 2023