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