Northend ride to Llangollen

I felt good riding out to the Eureka for breakfast and it had the making of a fine day. It was a toss up between going out with the CTC or go out with the Northend. Most are agreed that I need to be going out with a faster group.

I talked to Dave who was on a borrowed bike. He had a coming together with his wife and his Colnago is broken with a snapped seatstay. Expensive.

I also bumped into Graham who has commented on here before I went out with the Northend.

It was a bit stung out at the start with two groups going down Woodbank. With two rides to choose from I opt to go with Peter on what turns out to be the hilly ride. It’s a bit quicker pace than the other group and there are 6 of us in it.

What Peter doesn’t know about rides in Wales isn’t worth knowing. It was a decent run into Wales through Ewloe and Buckley. Once past  Pen-y-Stryt things start to get rather scenic and steep. One of the group leaves for Llandegla. There has been a fair bit of climbing so far but once you reach the top the views are stunning.

The scenery is a feature of this ride. If you like Welsh hills and countryside this is a good ride within reach of the NorthWest.

DSCF3115.jpgThe Northend.jpgMoi and the Northend.jpgOur Ride.jpg

Double click on the thumbnails to enlarge.

The views are stunning around here, from here it drops down to the River Dee. Part of this descent was down a dark lane of overhanging trees. It was here the sunglasses meant slowing down as I couldn’t see the road surface properly. We follow the road down into Llangollen where we find the Cafe we are scheduled to stop at closed on Wednesday.  We relocate to a Cafe opposite the toilet block by the carpark. It wasn’t too bad a stop, beans on toast for me  and the we get our water bottles filled. Not a bad little place, it can’t take big numbers mind you but we’ve been to worse.

Once we had left we stopped at a shop we a name about 80 letters long in Welsh.
Dave, who is American by the way gets a transalation by a Welshman whose name I have forgoten. It was an amusing translation. Ok we’ve rested but the next stretch is hard with a capital H. First off is the climb after the bridge. This is steep right from the off but worse is to come. It’s all in the route profile but there are sections of this climb that are between 20-34% and that is steep. I’m sure I saw 37% flash up and that is a new high for me. This is granny ring stuff and you must have a fit granny.

One of a pair of large walkers asks me for lift up a steep bit, not a chance. Once past the farm Queen Victoria stayed at it is the up to the ford.

We stop for a blow at the ford, a few cars go past along with a few 4X4’s full of kids. Everyone tells me how steep the next section is so I take my sunglasses off. I want to see this for real. Not wanting to get the Carbon Fibre Nike’s wet I opt to ride across the ford. Well I was second across and nearly ended up on my arse. The rear wheel was spinning  out on the algae or moss. this was scary stuff as the others looked on. And then it was on to the climb, not too bad at first but then it steepens up. Through the trees it gets steep and a half, the two Daves pass me on this stretch.

The next bit is a bit surreal. This is nearly as steep as it gets and we are going up it. Then Victor Meldrew comes up behind us in his poxy Ford Fiesta tooting his horn. This chap gives pensioners a bad name and should have his license taken away, whats more he shakes his fist at us as he drives past Dave. An absolute moron. Only to get baulked by young David. Hope his wife is deaf as he got from two of us.

If your a ride write up reader lots goes on in these rides that doesn’t get written up. We are after all spending many hours with each other. Just getting to the Ford was steep enough and the section after that was really steep. It’s a rolling section to Minera with a steep downhill section.

We stop to regroup at the Minera junction, chat about the climb and chill out.  A mountain biker comes down the slope at 30 plus and piles straight through the junction with five of us looking on. No Fear. Either that or he sussed out the road was clear from up above.

The next section is to Cefn-y-bedd and it eventually crosses  the A55 at Dobshill with the eventual climb up to Harwarden. The next section see,s the group split, traffic is a bit a busy and various riders loose sight of each other.

Well I’m on my own again this time for at least the third time. The route back is much the same. Once back at the cafe I bump into Andrew who has downloaded the Wild Wales Route. There are a few out there that have already downloaded the Wild Wales Route. I may be adding a few points in the next few days but I think they will only be confirmation points. Just to confirm your on the right route on some of the tricky sections.By all accounts there are a lot of people out there that haven’t got entries that will be riding anyway.

At the end of the ride in the run into the Eureka Ray comes up to my back wheel and says “Carbon Shoes?” and scares the shit out of me as I didn’t know he was there. First time I have seen his new toy, a Trek Madone 5.9 SL. It looks the part in black. I’ve picked up a lot from Ray over the last year and I would class him as a mentor  in my recent cycling life. The route planning I owe to him. The understanding about Basal Metabolic Rate and a whole host of other Lifestyle enhancing techniques and functions I owe to Ray.

Pacing yourself on a ride such as an Audax, I’m still learning this off Ray. I’m sorry but you can’t pick up the gems that I have learn’t over the last year by riding with a group or club such as the North End. The pace of the racing based clubs is just too fast for newcomers to pick up in a few rides. It has been a great experience riding with the CTC for the last year and the rides have been the best I’ve done or likely to do.

For God,s sake don’t get some perceived perceptions about the CTC from reading the likes of this site. It is an organisation full of helpfull, selfless people. Some you could call quirky but a jolly good bunch in all. If your wondering where you are in the scheme of things the CTC ride at about 13 mph average  on the flat.  Club riders are about 17 mph plus. You’ll get a lot more help should you encounter a problem from the CTC than you would from any club, this particually goes for women.  Should you be able to keep up with the pace.

Racing biased clubs are not female friendly at all, it’s quite a step for first timers to do a CTC ride when they don’t realise quite what they have let themselves in for. There is a social/networking side to the CTC that the racing clubs just can’t capture. 

Back home to a session on the scales which has me at 81.6 Kg a new low. I’ve a Lifestyle and Weight Management Followup class to attend.

Throughout the ride the two Daves are sprinting for village signs with old Dave getting beaten on all but one I gather. He is hampered !!! on a loaned Carbon Fibre bike with full Dura-ace. Every time he gets beaten on a climb its because he has 39 x 21 on the cassette. If it’s not the cassette it’s young Davids weight. Wild claims of 60 Kg including the bike get bandied about. All in good fun. Age might have something to do with it too. David is waiting for GCSE results.

Link to Google Map of Ride

Link to MotionBased Player of Ride

MotionBased gives you my data for the rides. If you download the course (crs) you will be competing against me. The elevation metrics are real. On the climb up to the ford I can see my heartrate as 101%  and anything more than 80% is in the hilly territory. Don’t forget my metrics are for a 48 year old bloke who is relatively new to all this. A couple of time trials and the TLI events dosn’t  make me a racer.
For me to see 101% effort means it was a tough climb.

I’m now trying to make these ride write ups as appealing as I can to a broad cross section of internet browsers.  Given that I started from such a low level, I’m really pleased how things have come on. I’m under no illussions that I have reached the top of the tree because although it might be a personal best for me it might be someone elses off day.

With around a 100 people a day visiting the site through various Google searches I do feel motivated to keep up what I am doing. That’s 3,000 a month, 36,000 a year that have come across my recent story. It is powerfull life changing stuff.

I’ve been called Mr Motivator by two separate individuals in the last week and I did wonder what it was all about. The first was from one of the girls a the spinning classes about the calories I had burnt and the site, the second was at the Lifestyle and weight management followup class. Basically I keep going back to the followup classes once a month even though my programme has finished to keep me on track.
If I don’t go back once a month I’d be a medical statistic rather than someone who has turned his life around.

Covered a fair bit in this post which started out as a North End ride. I’ve been doing this for a year and 99.9 % has been positive.  For me it is a form of online diary, if your name makes the pages I’m not going to forget it. One of the most enlightening things is how much this has increased the circle of people I know and more so people that know me but I haven’t met yet.

Ok, enough rambling, it’s the Wild Wales on Sunday. Guaranteed to give me a challenge. Haven’t got anyone to ride with yet but sure to hook up with someone.

5 thoughts on “Northend ride to Llangollen”

  1. Hi Frank, looks like you’ve done a good route in the run up to the Wild Wales, Peter is good at finding tricky routes! I think the biggest climbs are the last two so will definately be taking my camera (stunning scenery) maybe a good reason to stop now and again! it will be a Fantastic day, see you there!

  2. Frank,
    Great story. I would like to add if you do this route you should have a triple chain ring or 27 cassette on the back cog. I was on a borrowed bike with a 39-21. Man that was called big gear training.


  3. Sorry Frank no matter how hard i try i cant bring myself to like you?
    Your opinionated, boastful posts really wind me up!!! your just a typical Scouse motormouth, only from the Wirral.

  4. Agree with you totally about the CTC local groups,as someone new to cycling like you were not so long ago! These people although quirky are selfless and full of infectious enthusiasm,a far better option in my view to hammer down Racing clubs! not that CTC rides are easy by any stretch of the imagination!!! lanes and hills you didnt know existed seem their forte.Regards.

  5. Frank

    i regularly ride the lead mines up to worlds end on my mountain bike (slowly) i cant imagine doing it on a road bike even though ive seen some of you roadie whippets coming past me so a big up to you and hope to see you out on the trails some time

    kind regards


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