Merseyside DA Early Season Tourist Trial

For whatever reason this is the second time I’ve tried to write this article.
I’d promised Janet by way of Ray that I was going to take it easy on this ride after the Chester DA 50 Tourist Trial. Well I had to break my promise on the final leg. It turned out to be a truly memorable day.

The day started off with a drive out in sunshine to the memorial hall. It was really fresh and I didn’t realise how fresh it was untill the ride through the woods at the top of the road out. Back to the start. There were an lot of clubs riding this event on some serious machinery The Sunlight, North End, Team Dolan (Skem) Chester Tri Club and a lot more were all in evidence at the start. Carbon was everywhere.

On the first leg out we lost Cliff off the front. It was a fast descent on the rollercoaster section down to the A5104, allready some were going the wrong way at the junction. The section to Kinnerton was notable for how cold my fingers were. I was riding in a short sleeved jersey with arm warmers as it promised to be hot latter.

The section to Holt was all familiar stuff from Janets ride and we ended up passing 4 girls from the Chester Tri Club at Borras. Another small group were pondering the turn to Holt.hOn the straight to Holt I have a blast off the front to see what I’ve got in me today. Lots. 

We picked up a few others around Farndon and then we were making our way through the lanes to the first control point. Depending on your arrival time would make a big difference in the queue for the beans on toast.


Got talking to the chap that owns this Colnago C40 it looks really nice in the flesh.




I took these shots after we had strung the group out after the Beeston stop. I’d dropped off the front group and ended going all the way to the back to get these shots.

Just checking out the back of the field to see how my riding partners Janet, Chris and Cliff were doing. They were hanging on(just).


After I’d taken this shot and got my bike back there were about 30 of us all hanging around waiting for someone to lead off. By the look of it they were waiting for me or the Garmin to make a move. I’d headed out from the hall at a slow pace as the Sunlight guys wanted somebody else to take the lead but no one was having it. I looked back and it was a stunning sight to see so many behind me. The Garmin Edge had proved itself on the legs out by not getting me and those around me lost.

At a Tee junction by Tattenhall the Sunlight split the group again I see it happening and it takes a big effort in the big ring to bridge the gap I was really flying here having past about 20 riders to get back up with the front four. These lads are making a determined effort to drop the North End and they do it. They do an extra loop but it all comes back together at Fardon. There is a woman sitting outside the pub across the road from this junction and she was making a right racket. It must have been the sight of all those bare legs and a few of us wanted whatever she was drinking.


It was a traffic light grand prix start at the bridge at the bottom of the hill.
I’m over first and make my way up the hill to the war memorial. On the road out the Sunlight start dishing it out to the North end again. I’m still in there but this is new territory for me. We’re going that quick we overshoot the turn. The Garmin says 2nd right so I retrace but not all do. Around the Green there are only 2 Sunlight 1 North End and me left. With perhaps another one hanging in there. Just before Higher Kinnerton the North Ender blows and within a couple of hundred metres he is gone.

We turn off for Penyfford and what is the final climb of the day.  Pacef8 finally blows on this climb. He’s put in a hell of a lot of work, I don’t know my limits yet so don’t yet realise there are limits to what others can do also. So then it was me and the chap from somewhere around Hale that had grabbed my wheel (A Sunlight rider).The gap was about 50-100 yards and thats how it stayed. The downhill section was a blast so much so that we missed the hall and went straight past it. Pacef8 was first through the door, I was second and we shook hands at the table. It was a trully memorable day, I’ve come such a long way in the last two years that it seems unreal at times.

This turned out to be fast company on the final leg.  It was an unbeleivable final leg home with speeds in the 23-25 mph range. I’ve got to admit I was impressed by the workrate of the Sunlight guys, they put one over the North End twice but at the end of the day I feel the CTC managed to get the better of them both.  I was second into the hall only because I and another Sunlight rider overshot the final destination on the final descent and ended up at the road junction a 100 yards on. The chaps in the Sunlight colours certainly knew how to put the hammer down.


Allan,s Scott CR1 holding the rail up in this picture of the start. All the images on the blog are compressed for dialup users, if you want a copy of any image let me know.
Many thanks to the Merseyside DA for what was another excellent CTC event.
I haven’t had a bad ride yet. The route shows just how good it can be cycling in the Northwest.

If your a seasoned cyclist you can get a bit blase about the great routes that we ride, hopefully by putting the google map links in I can convince some of the others that come across a site like this by accident just how much they can get out of riding these great lanes.

A couple of you have expressed interest in the Garmin Edge 205/305, it doesn’t do maps but for logging your rides and navigating one off events it excells.  If you do get one I’d reccomend you do the Steve Cummings Training Ride that I’ve started to do.
It’s a 3 section 64 mile time trial for us mere mortals. The auto pause function of the Edge means you only count your riding time. So you do get a time for doing the route.
Two or three cake stops, Delamere Station Cafe, Eureka Cafe or Ness Gardens means you can do it any day of the week.

The route before I forget.

Link to Google map of ride.

Steve Cummings Training Ride Number 2

The plan was I was going to do the exact route in cycling weekly set a time that I would be happy with and see where the idea goes from there.
Unfortunatley Anquet manage to loose the entire route I was trying to load into the Garmin Edge 305. Undaunted I tried to ride the route from memory and failed. I got off course by taking the wrong road out of Eaton where I had trouble on the first ride.
I got back on the route at Waverton and it was still a fantastic ride. I ended up doing an extra 4 miles this time.

Start of Steves ride.JPG

Not many pictures of me exist of me on “The Toy” here’s one of me at the start of the ride. The bus stop is where I press start and stop on the Garmin.  It’s slightly downhill to Heswall Hills so the ride allways gets off to a fast start. For those that don’t know it there are no hills in Heswall Hills the planner must have been having a laugh when he named the place.

Watch out for the sunken manhole cover before the bridge. I picked the first ride up by Thornton Hall. Now if I’d have had it as a course in the Edge I would have been able to race myself. As it was I was just riding on speed and keeping an eye on the heart rate.
Once past Rivacre and on to Oil Sites Road I’m riding into a headwind. As it is a few miles long this could have a bearing on the average speed.

Primrose Lane is just as steep  as it was the other week and I’ve news for Dave the climb out of Alvanley towards Dark Arc Lane is 14% the same a Primrose Lane.
The descent down Dark Arc Lane is scary when you go for it but gives you enough momentum to get to the rail bridge  before you have to seriously start jumping on those pedals. Left at the cross roads again and it’s up the switch back to Hatchmere. Right turn and my lucks in as a woman driving a Merc lets me out at the junction.
Next stop is the Station Cafe at Delamere. A pot of tea and a slice of chocolate cake are in order.

Alan and Stan are there but sitting inside, I’m outside in the sunshine. This has all the makings of a great year. I’m liking these solo rides as I’m piting myself against my only challenger these days, me. I think it has allways been a mental thing with me so these rides give you plenty of time to sort your problems out. With no worries the next leg is to the Eureka Cafe.

Now things were great until Easton and things went a bit wrong. Before I forget it must have been another track day at Oulton Park as those bikes sounded seriously fast. It sounded like they were using the full circuit around Island Bend. I marshalled at Island Bend at the Transatlantic Races when Barry Sheene was still a force to be reckoned with. Memorable stuff.

After I got lost around Easton I ended up at a junction on the A41, now it’s a decision I haven’t had to make before left or right. Right it was but this road is busy and I no like it. I’m looking to get off it at the earliest opportunity. Then someone in a black car toots and the passenger waves. I assume they think I’m Steve Cummings. This is the second time it has happened wearing the kit. The signs for Waverton don’t come soon enough. Cycling on an A road is certain death for a cyclist just don’t do it, get off it as soon as you can.

Back on the route  it’s all about keeping the average speed up

Link to Google map of ride

Under 4 hours Dave, 17.6 mph average.

Weekending 29 Apr 07

Monday: Louises spinning class at the Oval, weights after the class. Forgot the HRM so no calorie counting tonight. Probably just as well.
Tuesday: No Tina so no class, guess who didn’t listen to the answer machine and turns up in the full discovery channel kit. Nothing for it but a half hour on the exercise bike. Cross Country Program for 30 minutes with the resistance turned up. 500 calories on the macine but only 428 on the HRM, this was a similar intensity to a spinning class. Weights, still nothing over 49 Kg which is what I’ve lost.
Wednesday: was trying to get to the Oval but traffic meant I couldn’t make it, did bits around the house instead.
Thursday: Could be Louise,s spinning class at Europa pools, can’t make the early class.
Just managed to squeeze in to this new class for me so lots of new faces. A change in shift pattern means I can make the later classes after work and this was my second class this week.
This was a hot, hard class, the HRM said 860 calories after I’d cooled down, it was 780 calories after we’d done the stretches.45 calories just warming up. Max heartrate was 176 BPM and it was around 150 bpm for most of the class. The two minute sprint just about finished me off. Now I’d polished off 750ml of water in the class to replace sweat.
When I got home I decided to weigh myself and I weighed in at 81.8 Kg which is a new low for me and takes it above 50 Kg or 110 pound mark for the first time. BMI is now 25.2  0.2 off normal. Now I’ve never felt better than this, pity this weeks episode of House had some morbidly obese guy in it. I was in the same class and and I’ve got this picture that I’ve yet to come to terms with. The difference is starting to amaze me and I was the one looking in the mirror for all those years.
Thanks for the class Louise, it’s taken me through another milestone.
Friday: Could be a ride, looking to better my Steve Cummins training ride time……..
Had another fantastic day, got lost as there was no route in the Garmin. 68 miles in 3:52 @ 17.7 mph.
Saturday: Restday
Sunday: Merseyside DA Early Season Tourist Trial, got the route sorted now, just need to make the start.

Weekending 22 Apr 07

Monday: Louise,s  spinning class at the Oval 650 calories. Spoke to her about the warning I’ve put on the site for beginners. Weights and crosstrainer before the class.
Wednesday: Highlight of this gym session was the rowing. 2 Kilometres in a new personal best of 7:35.5 this is what I’d call hard work. Weights (nothing above 50Kg in case anyone is interested) and ran a kilometre @ 10k/hr.
Thursday: This was all about the treadmill, jumped on it and ran 2k @ 10 k/hr 0.5k walk @ 6 k/hr 0.5k @11 k/hr with the final 0.5k @12 k/hr. Didn’t forget the weights and jumped on an exercise bike for the first time in a long time just to see what it’s like. This felt like it was broke, I was mashing away at level 23 (Max) at just below 60 rpm. Reducing the resistance level only brings home how far I’ve come in the last year. A year ago I was afraid to enter a place like this, came to afternoon sessions when it was quiet when I finally plucked up courage to enter the place. Sad really that a 46 year old bloke alters his lifestyle because of what he thinks others perceive of him. That was last year, this year is a totally different ballgame. You wouldn’t recognise me from last year, it’s happening far too often for it to be a fluke.
Now the gyms a strange place at times, we are all there for the same reason but you would think it was a library at times. Nobody talks, and with the advent of Ipods it’s just got a whole lot worse. I’ll talk to nearly everybody these days, if your there you’re having a go which is a far cry from the state I was in, vegetation.
I still don’t know what to do with the rest of my life, much has emerged over the last year. There seems very little out there for blokes in a similar position to me. This is further compounded by what I see around me, money doesn’t buy you much other than a 4×4 and a Costco membership. Now the cost of a Costco membership is about £35 so we are all equal as we walk through the door. Pity it attracts the sort of people that plonk a 4×4 in a disabled parking space.
Friday: Sheila,s spinning class at Europa Pools. Now the three new girls that turned up last week are suckers for punishment and they have turned up again. This was a hot class and Sheila mentioned the importance of getting your hydration right. One of the new girls had her leg go on her and slipped on the bike. I hope it hasn’t put her off the classes. One of the regulars had done 5 classes that week that’s some going. 550 calories burnt, it was probably more but I still have the odd problem with chest strap. Max heartrate was 168 BPM.
Saturday: Restday
Sunday: a herd of cows had me meeting up with one of the 1500 readers of my blog this month. I was out on my ride to the Eureka but everything stops when the cows get put in the field at the bottom of Redhill. Here I bumped into Claire who does a circuit of Route 56. I’d mentioned the weightloss and it turns out Claire and her husband had come across the site and between them they have lost 5 stone. It really is a small world and I’m amazed that my success is starting to inspire others to have a go. At Thornton Hough we go our seperate ways as there is a breakfast that I need in me before the ride.

Incidently my weight this morning was 82.1Kg, subtract that from 132 Kg and it comes out at a weight loss of 49.9 Kg  100g short of the magic 50 Kg or 110 lbs a phenominal amount. To put it into context it’s the same weight as two bags of plaster or cement. The suitcase weight limit for Easyjet is 22 Kg, the last time I flew with EasyJet I’d lost 22 Kg or a suitcase worth and it hit home hard when you have to lift the things onto the scale. More than two peoples baggage allowance starts to blow the mind.

Fast forward to the Eureka, todays ride was to Marford and all in I ended up doing 65 miles. Maybe a write up later. Turned out to be a good week.

CTC Ride to Loggerheads.

This ride started out as a near disaster with a chance of me not making the start. “The Toy” broke as soon as it hit the tarmac and a pedal was pressed. The problem I had with shifting on the Steve Cummins ride finally manifested it’self in the cable pulling out of the nipple and me being left with a bike with no gears. The ride up the close had me listening to strange noises on a Sunday morning but I was more concerned why the rear mech wouldn’t shift.

The Iceni backup bike is pressed into service after about 10 minutes of frantic effort to set it up and pump the tyres up. This means I’m running late and set out to the Eureka at a fast pace. Fast forward to Hadlow Road and I pass John who is stopped but on enquiring is OK. Next stop Eureka  and breakfast.

There were plenty of people enjoying the sun outside the Eureka  and it turned out there were two groups going to Loggerheads Janets group doing a more challenging route and Bobs group taking a different route. After nearly getting left with Bob,s group it was off to Woodbank with six others.

The route took us to the rail/cycle crossing across the Dee and down to the Garden Centre behind the College. Here we had a bit of a setback, the Cafe was closed. I ended up buying a can of Organic Cola for it’s novelty value. Tasted much the same as a normal Coke. Now leaving the garden centre there is a running event that is just about to finnish. The chap coming home first having a good 75 to 100 yards on the guy in second place. Marshalls let us through and further up the road our turning has us like salmon swimming up rapids.

There is a constant stream of runners coming down the hill. I’m behind old George as we go up the steepest part of the hill with a 14% gradient trying to take a picture on the move but it just isn’t happening. I can’t overtake as runners are streaming down the hill, pity it would have made a great photo. A lot of the runners looked very stressed but a couple of the women had it in them to smile at us. You have to wonder which was the madder group.

Sorry to hear about the Accident Ray, I haven’t had time to mail you, trust you are OK.

Someones happy.JPG

Traffic was heavy on this hill.JPG

The above pictures were taken as our group was still climbing the hill with the field of runners still coming through. It was a unique experience, I’m glad I got a picture of it.

The tail end.JPG

Clearly a hilly ride.JPG

I really like this picture as it captures what a CTC ride is all about, quiet roads and a challenge. Taken on the move it it came off, a lot of the pictures haven’t due to the limitations of digital cameras. I compress the pictures on the site so dialup viewers don’t have to wait an age for a page to load and get bored. This was near the top of the run out to Loggerheads after this it was all downhill so to speak.

Now the Iceni was trying to shake it’self to bits, somewhere I lost a mudguard mounting bolt and the clip on the chainstay bracing was loose and rattling away much to my annoyance and I suspect everyone else,s, these are not silky smooth roads. A stop gave me the opportunity to fix it.  You need decent brakes on this ride, the winter bikes are half worn and hard compound, I’ve got used to “The Toy” so these feel wooden. They are going to get replaced by a set of Ultegra blocks.

Link to Google Map of Ride

Discovery Channel rider Steve Cummings training ride.

I’ve been wanting to do this ride since it was published in Cycling weekly a while back. This was the first time I’ve had a chance to do it and it won’t be the last.
It was going to have the title ex 21 Stone Obese Rider completes Olympic Medalist Training ride in 4:16 with the ex in the smallest font possible, but writing it is enough.

I’m going to have to get the original article out as my ride finished at the Eureka but as it was closed due them opening up the new shop I rode on to Ness Gardens for a stop and then home. Weather was perfect  and I’ve really enjoyed myself. The fact that I now look like a Discovery Channel wannabe only added to the occasion.

Thinking about this post and the ride and the impression it made on me I’m going to make it a feature of the site. It’ll be getting a page all of its own. From where I started to be able do this ride is one of highlights of the year. Last year was an amazing year for me and for the past few months I’ve been wondering where do I go from here.
Well this ride is me living the dream.

It started off we me pumping the tyres up on “The Toy” (Trek Madone 5.2 2006 Discovery Channel colours)they were low  and they were a lot better at 120psi.
Pressing start on the Garmin Edge 305 at the top of Resthill had me starting the ride. It has me joining up with Steve,s route at Thorton Hall and then I’m doing it for real.
Today is all about staying in the big ring for me to get my average speed up. Anyway going down Resthill with the tyres pumped up the bike feels like a rocketship and I’m on top form too.

If you ride out to the Eureka via the Missing Link, at the end of Benty Heath Lane you turn left instead of right towards Hooton. This is where the ride is all in virgin territory to save waypoints it’s straight across the lights on the A41. The route is on the road that runs parallel to the M53 past the Vauxhall Social club the surface is that tarred surface with not enough chippings that that is a drag on a bicycle tyre. Next stop Rivacre brook down one side and up the other. The next section is the worst section of the ride if your into scenic views. Motorway and Oil Sites Road are not the best of views  in any ones book.

I spent 23 years at Associated Octel on Oil Sites Road before I took the redundancy package so going past the place is of great significance. I’ve spent half my life there but that was then and this is now. At the end of the road is the turn off for Ince and Elton and I’ve never been this route, it’s not as bad as it is has been painted. Well it was sunny, and I’m having the time of my life. Fastforward past the M56 and to the bottom of Primrose Lane.

This is it, the hardest climb of the route. Not a killer climb but 14% on the Garmin Edge 305. This is the first time I’ve done it, previously we have turned off and gone around the golf course. I stop after the steepest bit for the following picture. Going up the climb I’m determined to dtay in the middle ring but looking down at the rear cassette I’ve still got another gear left. For some reason the indexing is not quite right and I have to hold the lever over to stay in 40×25. This comes back to haunt me on Sundays ride but that is another post.

Primrose Lane.jpg

I’m suggesting you do this route on your own for the first time to maximise your experience. Just you, your bike and the ride. Once you’ve done it once you’ll want to do it again. It is that good, trust me. Thanks Steve it was a mind blowing  experience for me.

Right at the top, Dugdales has long gone(this isn’t a motorcycle site)and the next stop is the Station Cafe at Delamere Forest. Now I’m still wondering  which way the route is  but once it turns down Dark Ark Lane I feel a bit easier. Once up the hill it is left at the crossroads and then you are in to Delamere. Once you’ve gone under the bridge your on the switchback an rolling climb with a gradient of about 5%. Now I’m feeling good on this ride, probably never been better and glancing down at the Edge the figure of 18mph comes up, unbelievable. Right at the junction and the head down past the lake and the first stop at Delamere station Cafe comes up.

Cakestop at Delamere station Cafe.jpg

A pot of tea and a piece of chocolate cake outside in the sun was reward for a great run out. I did a bit of people watching as it was still half term and there was a mixed bunch there. Any way as I was leaving I spoke to Allan and Stan who had rode out there. Allan I’ve met before on a ride out to Kinnerton but his memory isn’t that good or he doesn’t recognise the new me. We spoke about the Edge 305 and he rides alongside me up to the junction to see what I am seeing. Stan I hadn’t met and we talked about what I’d been up to. It seems I’m too young to go on the Vets 100 ride at 47 which is probably just as well as the form I’m in means I take no prisoners.

Steve,s route starts at Gayton roundabout and I’ll be doing the full route from there and doing the loop down to Parkgate to get a definative time This would mean cutting out the climb up Denhall lane but its swing and roundabouts. I ended up doing 71 miles to the routes 64. I think my average of 16.3 on the ride out to Delamere would be up as Gayton to Thornton Hough is all downhill 20mph plus stuff.



For those who never saw the original ride this is a scan of it. You can also get the course and route files from the ride I did from the MotionBased site. The route is going to get tweaked as I added a loop down to the Dee and the climb up Denhall Lane as the Eureka was closed and the second cake stop had to be Ness Gardens. There are one or two points on my  ride that need sorting as I should have took a small shortcut around Oulton Park instead of following the above to the letter. It needs a bit more work on the route and the section at Woodbank where you have to cross the A5117 needs to be resolved  if anyone is going to do the route and claim a time.
As it is you could download the course off MotionBased and race against me as the Virtual Partner on an Edge 205/305. 

More on the ride back later I had two good rides that weekend so bear with me.

Ray will be interested in my navigation errors on the map around Cotebrook and Eaton but I’m blaming Anquet. A5117 closed still. 

Link to Google map of ride

Weekending 15 Apr 07

Monday: Work, restday, did a few chinups on a handy bar(not in a pub).
Tuesday: Work, but an hour in the Oval after work. Half the weight routine, 30 mins on the crosstrainer with the HRM only registering about half what the Preccor machine thinks I burn.Worked a sweat up whatever reading was in the ballpark.
Rowing next, set the machine up for 2 km and set a new personal best of 7:44.7  with a max heartrate of 177. This wasn’t a ballsout effort but more controlled with a final effort at the last 100 metres. It seems to have worked  and is about 5 seconds under what I consider a good time for me. There were no breaks to confuse things, just a straight one off effort.
Ran a mile(could be a km as I’m not certain) on the treadmill @ 10.1mph, heartrate was about 155 bpm.
Now you see a few strange sights in the gym, one of them is women exercising with no weight or resistance on the machines. I can accept that as they are under the misguided delusion that they will bulk up but when you see men doing the same thing you have to wonder what is going on.
Wednesday: Weights, abs and a 4 mile run at 11.1 mph followed  up by a bit of rowing had me burning over 500 calories, max heartrate peaked at 180 bpm as I had a maximum effort at the end. Running at that speed has the pulse at 155-160 bpm. It does seem to be a quick way of burning calories but I’m going to have to watch myself as the muscles used are totally different to cycling and I know I’ve done it the next day.
Thursday: Work, maybe the Gym.It was the gym, and the funny thing was I wondered about the units on the Precor treadmill, nowhere does it say what unit the distance is in.
Following Anons comment about the speed I’ll mark myself down to Km/h untill I’m sure. 2km rowing, 1 km run @ 5:40 , 10 mins on the crosstrainer, it felt like it was broke after doing the rowing and the running and a set of weights. Still managed to get back in time for House.
Friday:I plan to ride Steve Cummings training ride to Delamere for the first time. 63 mile Its programmed in the Edge, It just want a tweak to make sure I can get to the Eureka. Looking forward to this.

Done the ride had a great day out, weather was superb. Cake stop at Delamere Station Cafe and Ness Gardens as Eureka was closed!!!!!! 71.5 miles at 16.8mph. A ride worthy of a write up on its own. There were sections where I felt on top form like the section going through Delamere Forest. More later.

Sheila,s spinning class at Europa pools after the above ride this was going to finnish me off. Three new girls in the class, Sheila takes it easy on them but two of them look a bit out of their depth. It has to be said these classes are hard work and the rest of the class are seasoned spinners. You have to be keen to do a class on a Friday night when the soft option is to go out and hit the clubs and pubs. If any of these girls take to two wheels they would put a lot of the chaps to shame.
Sandstorm is an eight minute track so sprinting in two sets of eight is hard work. At the end of what I would say was a hard class the HRM was ticking up to 750 calories on the cool down.
Went the gym and asked about the treadmill units, Kilometres, so ran 0.5 Km @11Km/Hr just to see if it was the same as the Oval. 1 set of lat pulldowns and it’s time to hit the shower.

Thanks Anon for picking up on my error, I should have twigged when entering my weight in kilos.

There were no fans in the class tonight, now it has to be said I sweat a lot at this level of effort. So much for Nike dryfit fabric technology it was like I’d been wearing it in the shower. Another great day.

Saturday: Work
Sunday: Janets ride out to Loggerheads 70 miles this was a hilly one. Brilliant day out good weather


Easter Rides

Good Friday: Had no fixed plans on the ride out to the Eureka went out via the Missing Link so it was 11 miles before breakfast. Four of Merseyside CTC were off for a 4 day cycling holiday. I ended heading out to the Ice Cream Farm on my own. For a bank holiday the roads were really quiet, now I try to avoid busy roads but this was eerie.

That was untill I got to Backford and Church Lane the traffic was allready backed up all the way from the Zoo. I filtered down the inside of a few of them and that was pretty much the last traffic that I saw for most of the day. The weather was brilliant and I was cruising at my own pace. Going to the lanes at Picton I managed to ride over that pothole that catches you unaware and lost the rear light again. I\’ve got my new Giro Atmos helmet on and I\’ve got to admit it\’s the business you hardly know you are wearing it. Waverton came and went and the Crocky Trail was busy but after that I maybe got passed by two cars on the way to the Ice Cream Farm.

There\’s a varied cross section of soceiety going to the Ice Cream farm and I\’d say about half of them need to be doing something about their lifestyle. Walking from the carpark to the ice cream parlour doesn\’t constitute exercise in my new book. Enough of the people watching, it was a pot of tea and a tuna and mayo bagguette. I spoke to the Cafe manageress about this being my first solo ride out there. With Beeston Castle in the background I decided that was where I wanted to ride to.

It was eerie how little traffic there was but I headed off to Beeston the plan was to go to the Lock Gates Cafe but I got the turning wrong and ended up going by the pub with the hump backed bridge over the canal, it was getting busy with people driving out to it.

\Beeston Castle

Whartons Lock instead of Tiverton as I was heading back to Waverton it didn\’t really matter. Looking at the map I’ll know next time. It was busy by the Castle gates but it was only cars looking to get in the car park. Now heading back to Waverton I started to follow the Chester signs. This was a mistake, I should have jumped on the canal towpath at Waverton and just rode along it to Chester. As it was I joined further up the path after trying to get off the main road as quickly as possible.

I ended up following the path to the canal basin and then further on to around the Blacon area then jumping off and taking the road back to the Eureka. At the cafe I met up with Pinarello Kev and he told me about his lost deposit for his Colnago that Deeside took the day before they folded. It leaves a nasty taste in the mouth when you hear the circumstances. I try to spread my cash around but it\’s off the list now. Heading out from the Eureka it was down through Puddington and left down to Denhall lane. Up the hill and then the next stop at Ness Gardens for a Fairtrade Orange juice. Sat outside on the benches in the sun as it was a fine day.

One call of nature later it’s back on the bike to Neston and then onto Parkgate. Stopped to take a picture as it was chaotic, looks like the Post Office sold a lot of Ice Cream.

\Parkgate, Good Friday.JPG

apart from the traffic jam going to Chester Zoo this was the busiest place I saw all day.Back on with the ride just after I joined the Chester High Road I got passed by a lad on a time trial bike I was doing about 16mph into a headwind, nothing for it but to keep up with him. Now he’s in the tuck but is all over the place lacking a bit of machine control into the wind. Now I’ve just done 65 miles and I feel stable compared to this lad and not too far off his wheel. I shouldn’t be too critical as I do stretch,s in the tuck when I’m spinning. It’s a good position to play around with as it allows you to concentrate on your pedalling action in a tuck.

Tea at Fred,s and then it’s through Heswall and on to Thurstaton down the cutting and on to Caldy village. I’m going well at the moment and stop at the front at West Kirby. Not too busy here so I head on to the front at Hoylake, from here on it is really quiet. the Coastal cycle path is all but deserted. Now I come off the coastal path just past Leasowe lightouse. This is the opposite end of the fitness scale there is an Ice Cream Van and a fair few partaking.

A bit further one on I call in at Lidl for some flapjacks, this week the gods shine on me or at least the woman in front of me took a shine to me and let me through with a packet of  flapjacks. Pleasantaries  are exchanged, this was a far cry from the previous visit where I was 20 minutes behind this chap who proceeded to pay in slummy from his fares. 

Heading out to Harrison Drive it was business as usual the cycle route largely deserted, this was a sunny easter bank holiday and everywhere is largely deserted. Anyway it’s  back throught New Brighton, Seacombe and Woodside and then home. 90 Miles.

Sunday: Rode out to The Eureka at a fast pace, going through Willaston I clock Caroline waiting for Annabell to turn up for the Sunday Impromptu ride. On the A540 and wanting my breakfast It’s time to see what I’m made of. 24 Mph to be exact and seeing as it’s a glorious day I opt to take Frank,s Beakfast outside in the sunshine.

Five of us head out to Chester Rugby club for ellevenses Annabel Peter Barry Caroline (on her first ride out with us) and moi. It was through the gates past Capenhurst towards the traffic jam at Backford trying to get in the Zoo. Here we went on the towpath exiting at the bridleway that goes through Chester Zoo. The turn off the canal catches everybody out at times. I end up unclipping and Caroline ends up toppling over after coming to a dead stop. Luckily no damage. At the Rugby club they were all training, and the bar wasn’t open so we had to think again. We headed off to the Plough at Christleton and we were too early there too. It was a 15 minute wait on the benches outside, in that time we could have made it to the Ice Cream Farm.

It’s a strange place The Plough. If you dont want a Sunday Dinner the menu is a bit short of choice. If your looking for something lighter it doesn’t seem value for money, It’s all very well presented and the service is good but there are times when you just want something middle of the road. In this case I haven’t had a hard enough ride to justify a meal.

There is going to be a picture here of the cakestop we had that is well worth waiting for.So it should be for what it cost me…… more later.

The diet.jpg

Now I’d ordered a slice of cake and a diet coke without enquiring about the price. It came to over £6 but I thought I’d treat myself. I wasn’t quite expecting the above to turn up.
I just had to take the picture after Caroline said “He’s on a diet”. Now it did taste nice but I felt I had to do another 20 miles after the ride back to burn it off.


Weekending 08 Apr 07

Monday: Restday
Tuesday: Work, followed by an hour in the gym.Weights, crosstrainer and ran a mile on the treadmill at 10.4 mph.
Wednesday: Work, followed by another hour in the gym. Rowing, 2km in about 10 minutes. Now my feet started to come out of the straps so its not what it seems at first glance. Put a lot of effort into this after the stop, maximum heartrate 182 BPM so I’ll have this one as a maximum effort for the week. Ran another mile at 10.6 mph, weights too.
Thursday: Louise,s spinning class with another couple of first timers. The chap next to me wants to start winding some resistance in next time. Forgot my towel in the rush but it was a good glass. Sprinting for six sets of eight is hard work but when it’s followed up with pressups (four of each) your burning calories like crazy. I always have a good go when Sandstorm by Darude is played. 775 calories, which is near my maximum, your looking at 1000 calories an hour at that rate. Thanks for spreading the word Louise.
Friday: Ride Eureka cafe for breakfast, Ice cream farm for lunch, Beeston Castle back to Chester via the canal towpath. Eureka Cafe then Ness Gardens, Parkgate, Fred,s, Heswall, WestKirby, Hoylake coastal route to the lighthouse at Moreton. Snack at Lidl, then coastal route at Harrison Drive, New Brighton, Seacombe, Woodside and back through Dacre Hill  to the start at Resthill. 89.6 miles.

Now when I weighed myself this morning it was 82.9 Kg. This is the first time I’ve been under 83 and if it goes down to 82.0 Kg I’d be looking at a 50 Kg weightloss. That is two bags of cement or plaster. I have trouble carrying one never mind two of the things, is it any wonder a flight of stairs would leave me breathless. The ride today was for fun, just me against my biggest competitor, myself.

Saturday: Restday.
Sunday: Rode to the Eureka for an impromptu ride. Ended up going to The Plough at Christleton with Annabel Peter Barry and newcomer Caroline. I’ll write the two rides up. I ended up doing 50 miles

CTC 50 Mile Tourist Trial

What a day this turned out to be it was a bit chilly when I went down for the paper but the forecast looked good and the sky was blue. Having never driven to Kinnerton it was time to consult the Google map to see which was the best route out, I’d been there a few times but it was always through the lanes on the bike which gives you a totally different perspective on things. I’d arrived in good time as I wasn’t due of until 10:25.

Start of 50 Mile Tourist Trial

There was plenty of time for a chat with the people that I knew and I was a bit nervous about the route I had programmed into the Garmin the night before. Janet had put me down for the 4 hour group along with Cliff who was complaining about getting a free upgrade!

Picture 004.jpg

Georges group

Jill was busy marshalling riders into their allotted start times with 5 minutes between each group.

Picture 007.jpg

This was the back of my allotted group with Cliff in the red riding around in circles to get his mileage up. Once we hit 10:25 Jill sent us on our way and we proceeded up the road through Kinnerton. Now I’d heard the term “It’s not a race” bandied around but thats not the impression I got after about 200 yards. The climb through and out of Kinnerton soon had us strung out and soon got past and dropped Cliff.

A group of six of us formed at the front comprising of three carbon fibre “Bling” bikes a chap on a fixed wheel and two others. If you turn up on a Trek Madone, Scott CR1 or a Kuota Kharma your taking your riding seriously I’d say. Now I’ve never ridden with anybody this fast before and it soon became apparent it was important to still keep up with the group. The stretch from Fiveways down the straight mile was quick and the hill a bit further on saw us just short of 40mph that includes the chap on the fixed wheel whose legs were a blur. You’d have to see it to believe it. He left us at Marford hill where we turned off to Borras.

Borras Control Point

The first control point at Borras highlighted the need to get into the checkpoint at least in the first couple of the group. If it takes 30 seconds to process a riders timesheet the rider in fifth place is 2 minutes behind the first rider. Thats what the above picture is showing, the others haring off into the distance and I’m last in the queue taking a picture.  These guys are fast, I mention this to Barbara and John as they sign my sheet and John says “And your not?”. Thanks John but I’m still finding my limits, with that I’m back chasing them down again. 

It was on the Borras Road that we started to pass other groups of riders including Roy and Joan. Before you know it we are at the lights waiting to cross the bridge at Holt. Just as well we resisted the temptation to jump the lights as there was a police car tucked down the sideroad. The green light was the signal to sprint across the bridge and try to carry as much momentum up the other side. It was still a fairly fast pace around these lanes until we came across a group of riders including Bob and Bryan dismounted by a pony that was being walked by it’s rider. Something had happened but I don’t know what.

It was then another case of catching the group as they rode through the trouble spot. After this I had another setback as the LED rear light bounced off the saddlebag on a rough piece of road outside a farm. Nothing for it but collect the bits. Fortunately the parts were close together and they were soon in the back pocket.

Now for me this was where the loyalty of the group was tested and I found out that there wasn’t any. The others might have had an aquaintance in the past and two were friends but it didn’t seem to matter today. I took a lot of hard riding to make any indent in to the gap that the stop had caused. At one stage I saw 29 mph on the speedo and it was only slowly starting to come back. The next control which had only just opened up saw us all come back together but only just, the signing in starting to create a new gap for those at the back, mainly me.

On the final leg to Overton lunch stop there was a rolling climb, now those that ridden with me before know that I don’t sit on someones wheel going up a climb anymore. Things go wrong when a group start to bunch so  I took my turn on the front and had a good go. I’d told two of the group a bit about my history  so it was fairly reasonable to expect that they wouldn’t let an ex 21 stone bloke who has only been riding 2 years drop them. Anyway I’m having a ball and next minute I’m being half wheeled by the guy in the red. This continues untill we are near the lunch stop when I surrender the lead as I don’t know where the stop is as it doesn’t appear on a Google map.

Picture 009.jpg

We were the first to arrive, there is a wry smile on Janet,s face as I sign. I’m pleased too as we have come from the back to the front of the field and gained 25 minutes in thirty odd miles. Janet still managed to beat me up Moel Famau some moons ago, on that occasion my bike broke but I know I was beaten, broken bike or not. Anyway it was an excellent spread and a credit to all involved.

I’ve learn’t a hell of a lot from Ray over the course of the last year riding with the CTC and the Audax,s. One of them is don’t waste time in control points. On other rides the group will stop to help someone in need, but not on this one. I didn’t eat my full share of sandwiches, but I’m not looking for value for money more a fit with my eating plan (diet).  Now seeing as the stop has been spent mostly in silence I don’t see much point in hanging around. A trip to the toilet has me heading for the exit. There is plenty for Janet and the others to do signing in a stream of riders.

I took a picture of the hall and then headed off on my own, I’d had my fill, cleared my plates and thanked the staff, not much more to do but head back Imho. On the ride back to Kinnerton I started to see groups of riders heading out towards  Overton on the road we had ridden in on, including Roy and Joan and Bryan. Now I’m setting my own pace now but into a headwind. Jill had warned me about Bangor on Dee Races but the traffic was light and there were no problems. It was a really nice stretch of the ride here and I even had chance to admire some of the scenery rather than someones back wheel in front.

I’ve started to change my pedalling style over the last couple of rides, borrowing some of Ray,s technique. It’s sort of half way between the styles of Lance Armstrong (high cadence) and Jan Ullrich (power). Ray turns a high gear for most of the rides from what I have observed and this would seem to conserve energy. I’ve got the energy to spin up most hills at 80 rpm no problem but if I leave it in the middle ring when it flattens out I’m still spinning at 80rpm and not getting anywhere fast. It’s easy on the legs but wasting effort that you need at the end of the longer rides.

Into a headwind technique goes out the window and it’s back in the middle ring. and a headwind it was on the return leg.  There was remarkably little traffic on the roads and lanes and the weather was glorious, I’m having the time of my life with the Garmin keeping me company with only the occasional bleep when coming up to a junction. I’m still wondering when the others are going to catch me up as it looks like I’m in front of everybody.

After crossing the main road outside Fardon I make a mistake, I keep riding straight on down the road and don’t turn left where I should have. Slowly the compass needle on the Edge starts to turn east and I’ve got to take the decision to double back or ride on to the next junction. Ride on it was and you can see the extra mile that I rode  on the map link below. Back in Fardon things looked a bit more familiar and it was back down the hill to the river crossing. The sun has brought out all the softtop cars but when the light goes green it is a repeat performance of the morning. Sprint across the bridge and get enough momentum for the run up to the square in Holt.

On the road out of Holt I’d misplaced my waypoint and the turn it signaled wasn’t there, no option but to ride onto the next right turn, it was about half a mile up the road, signed Rossett. Along this road was a convoy of Austin 7,s coming the other way. I wish I’d stopped and took a picture it was one of those sights that you don’t see very often if ever. Looking at the Garmin map I was back on course as the road converged  with the compass pointing to the next waypoint at Lavister. At BroadOak I cross the level crossing and up over the A483 looking back to see if there is anybody in sight.

Once I turn at Burton Green it is a straight run into Kinnerton with a waypoint at the tee to stop me going the wrong way near the finnish. Riding into the scout hut carpark I’m expecting to see the odd bike parked up but there are none. In fact the timing is perfect as the control point is just opening up an I get a time of 13:45. Five minutes later another 3 from the morning group turn up, some looking a bit hot and bothered. They had been taking turns on the front into the headwind. Alan on his Scott CR1 has suffered a double puncture and had been left. He rolls in a bit later with two flat tubes hanging like spaghetti.

The rides over and it’s still early, the Garmin says 51.33 miles in 3hrs 20 with a 14:40 minute stop at Overton. 03:04 riding time and 1842ft of climbing.

The End

It was then a ride back to the Eureka with Allan and here I met another Allan from last years rides to the Ice Cream Farm and Pinarello Kev who has a new carbon toy. It was then back home via the missing link. Thornton Hall deserted from the previous evenings party.
It was back up RestHill a great days riding over. 

I might post a link to the Motionbased map player, this gives 5 and 10 mile split times and a host of other information overlaid on the map.

I don’t think there is much more to add apart from spell and grammer check the post 

Link to Google Map of ride