I’d like to say I’ve pre ridden the route but after a GPS programming error I’ve ridden everything but the route. Friday had me riding 70 miles when I should have rode 50. I know where I went wrong but it went all went pear shaped at Backford. On the route out I’d only programmed 4 way points into the Garmin out of the 27 Ray sent me.
I’d got lost twice following waypoints left in the Garmin.
I ended up doing Ray’s Lady Heyes route to get to Delamere and I didn’t get there till 2 pm. Cajun chicken baguette and a cup of tea at £1 a cup and I was on the way back. That proved difficult too, the lane from the visitor centre was bad enough but it got worse past a barrier, mud and puddles had me off the bike in places after nearly falling off. The Yeld is cancelled as getting there is too dangerous. I’ve got something much tougher lined up.
I’ve been down this hill but now it’s time to go up it. It’s Heath Lane off Fishpool Road after crossing the A54. This is eventually going to take us down a 1:10 to Willington Corner and it’s all downhill from there.
18 miles out 21 miles back. More later, got to clean the bike.
Sunday: Up early, but I’m soon back in as the windshell isn’t going to be up to the weather today. Taking it easy along Route 56 throught Thourton Hough and Willaston. I hit the lights at Hadlow road. As it’s flat to the Cafe I decide to have a little go as some of the Northend are stuck at another set of lights. Next thing I know I’ve been passed by one of them. I’m doing 27 mph !!! and just about to get dropped . The rest are nowhere to be seen . At this pace I had time for my breakfast as always. I set my maximum heartrate for the day staying with this chap. 158 BPM
Now this is the first time I’ve led a ride, there was me thinking I’d a get out of jail card having only joined the CTC last August. Doesn’t time fly when your having fun. Various CTCers are drifting into the Cafe and I’m thinking there were going to be about six of us doing the ride. Janet says there are two new faces doing the ride and for one, Catherine it’s her first ride with the CTC, Andrew rode out for his first time last Sunday.
As we start to assemble outside the heavens open, not a good sign. The overtrousers are donned. Across the road Chris and Cliff are hiding in the bus shelter, not a bad idea but they’ve got their bikes in their with them !. 10:10 and ten of us set off towards Capenhurst, Chris, John, Janet, Bob, Jill, Steve, Cliff, Andrew, Catherine and moi. The Garmin bleeps before the station signaling a right turn. At the end of the lane it was left onto the cyclepath on the A5117. The Newt bypass road construction is really starting limit the route options out of the Eureka.
Single file down Liverpool Road turning off at Backford and down Church Lane which has had the hedge cut. This was as far as I got on Friday before loosing the route. Once over the canal its the climb up the hill at Caughall Manor. Two years ago this was a granny ring on a mountain bike job for me probably stopping at the top for breath. It’s down Fox Covert Lane and over the M53. Ashhey Lane to Picton and onto Mickle Trafford and the A56. Heading out towards Moldsworth some of the troops are a bit restless and Moldworth Motor Museum is nominated as a water stop.
Ray informs me the cars are Jowett Javelin,s
We’ve made good time and the Museum isn’t open yet. Next minute one of the above cars turns up. Bob told me what it was but I’ve forgotten. Then like busses another two turn up. Out of the Museum Rays route has us going up Well Lane followed by Moss Lane, it turns out nobody has ridden this route and it went down quite well.
Further on at Dark Ark Lane Andrew passes me going downhill like he knows where he is going. Which he does, it’s me that doesn’t know where I’m going. A short stop to regroup after the climb to the junction and it is a rolling climb up through the forest along Ashton Road. Right at the junction with Station road and we are at the lunch stop. Some are partaking in the all day breakfast on a baguette at the Station Cafe, the rest of us cycle down to the visitor centre.
As luck would have it I had the last Cajun Chicken baguette which wasn’t bad, comes with a small salad and a cup of tea. If this is what it’s like in winter I can see it being mayhem in the summer. Plenty of mountain bikes around and there is a chap with an owl under the covered seating outside.
Now the original plan was to go down the track past the above and ride up The Yeld, I actually managed to ride The Yeld on Friday and this time it didn’t seem too hard and yes I did do it in the middle ring. Friday was dry and the path was muddy after a night of rain and showers in the morning only Catherine on mountain bike tyres would have stood a chance.
Plan B which was scouted on Saturday was to carry on, on Station Road past the Abbey Arms towards CoteBrooke but turn up Heaths Lane which is a fairly long climb.
Oh before I forget Barbara and John joined us at the visitor centre, it’s Barbara,s ride to the Candle factory next week.
Now it has to be said some people don’t like hills and I was one of them so I was a bit wary of including this one. It’s the only part of the ride that I’ve put in myself (no Yeld)so you can’t blame Ray if you find it a struggle.
It wasn’t too bad, Andrew kept me company up the first section so would get bonus points if I had been keeping a tally. It turns out that these are his local roads it wasn’t a bad ride up the hill for only his second time out. Stopping part way up so the back of the group can still see the front it was then on again towards the summit. Then the heavens opened, it was time for me to don the overtrousers that had been ditched at Delamere. There is a cafe at the top of the hill that Bob and Jill told me about, I hadn’t noticed it on the recce. It would be a tough climb if you did it from Willington Corner as it’s 1:10.
The descent to Willington Corner had me loosing the light off the back of my bike. Robust little thing as thats twice its dropped off with no damage.Thanks to the woman walking the dog that picked up the pieces. Two left us at Willinton Corner and the rest of us headed of towards Duddon. Across the road and heading towards the Crocky Trail.
No time for the Crocky trail this time Bob, maybe have it down for one of your Wednesday runs. We have a water stop at Waverton admiring the traffic chaos due to poor parking. Its a fairly straight forward run back to Mickle Trafford.
Around Picton Gorse I’m asked what route I’m going back to the Eureka, the plan was to go down the dip at Mollington but I’m told that Catherine was starting to struggle on the hills so it was back up Church Lane. It doesn’t seem as long when you are going up it for some reason. Liverpool Road was busy with the usual fast traffic that it attracts. Stopping at lights and the Old Wirral Hundred pub I have a thought, this pub isn’t old it’s relatively new, the original one is actually in the Wirral, this one is more Cheshire than Wirral. When I was younger I was a member of the Wirral 100 Motorcycle club so seeing this place grates.
The pace has slowed a bit but we are nearly home Janet and Chris peel off at Capenhurst to take the Missing Link home, Bob and Jill peel off for their car. So John, Cliff, Catherine and moi make it back to the Eureka for a well earned drink. If I was dishing out prizes one would have to go to Catherine for completing what I would call a Medium Difficulty ride on her first outing. We all know what it is like to ride with mountain bike tyres, a bit like riding through treacle.
If you get to read this Catherine a pair of slick tyres will reduce your effort by about 50% on the flat, you may find the gearing too low eventually. The other thing is you really do need a helmet. I had a fall on Christmas Eve were if I hadn’t been wearing a helmet I think I’d still be in a coma now.
Link fixed and I’ve spent the last five days trying to edit it. Learnt a lot.
My thanks go out to those that turned up, and Ray for the route. I’ve got to admit it was an experience leading a ride, so thanks to Janet for nominating me. I had a great day despite the patchy weather. I’d only joined the CTC in August following the three rides rule. Before that I’d been doing my own thing not thinking I was fast enough to ride with a group let alone lead one.
The ride home from the Eureka was much the same as it normally is but past Thornton Hough the road and fields down to Brimstage were bathed in a low sunshine. It was a fitting end to a grand day out. There are another 10 months left in this year it promises to be another fantastic year.
Stats: 46.4 miles. 2400ft of climbing, 2500 calories burnt Average speed 11.2 mph.
Wait till I program the Steve Cummings training route into the Garmin, it followed parts of this ride and is listed at 63 miles.