Discovering Shropshire Audax.

I’d signed up for this Audax at the last minute having been in touch with Ray about which one he was doing the week before. He had opted for the 118 Km, 77 mile one rather than the 200 Km event. Pah I hear you cry I wouldn’t get out of bed for that.

Well looks are deceiving and I had spent Friday programming the route into Marengo. Cross referencing it with Anquet OS mapping. It turned out to be a hilly ride due to the rolling hilly nature of the area.

Every time I looked down at the Edge it was showing 10% gradient or seemed that way.

At the start there is much mirth among our group as Ray is checking tyre pressures by squeezing the tyre and coming up with a figure. The funny thing was he was remarkably close on three occasions. Triple puncture Guy should have had his sorted before the event and we had a stop a mile or two down the road to check that the tyre wasn’t going soft. Ray pronounced it Ok at 110 PSI. This puts us towards the back of the ride after a quickish start.


The first control is just past the world Heritage site, IronBridge. You can just see the bridge in the third picture. As you come down the valley you can’t help but wonder what this huge building is with cooling towers. It turns out to be a power station in the most unlikey of situations or perhaps not given this was at the heart of the industrial revolution.

I fell off the back of a fairly large group for these pictures, the actual one of the bridge not making it onto this post.

The first control was at the Tandem shop after negotiating what looked like a landslide. With the card stamped it was time to regroup and do a bit of climbing. It was staring to brighten up a bit and although the roads are still wet it hadn’t rained on us.


Things get a bit spread out on some of the climbs but it allows me to get a few shots in at the top. The last one in this sequence is at the second control point at Rays Farm. The turn is near the bottom of a hill and it’s a sharp climb up to the farm. The chain derailed on the Toy as it got shoved into the granny ring. But no damage done. Busses full of kids were struggling up the hill.


Once out of the control guess what, more climbing. The next section involving the highest point on the ride, Wenlock edge.

Guy Unknown RiderChester Road Club in formationLast one

After the final control things have brightened up again and it’s turning out nice.
Now the thing is when your riding as a group you go at the pace of the slowest member but things get spread out a bit on the hills. It’s just the way it is, as once you get bunching of riders accidents tend to happen on the steep bits. Touching a wheel means your on the deck.

I tend to favour going off the front and waiting at the top, sometimes to take a picture sometimes not.  A rider passes me as I ease up at the top of one of the climbs so I’ve got to return the favour on the next climb. More of a dash down one side of the hill and a sprint turning a big gear up the other. Honour restored it was time to slow down for the others.

It’s not all one way, but the faster riders tend to be at the front anyway. These rides aren’t races but there is an element of competition lurking under the surface.

Another rider passed comment on the Nike Lance 2 shoes. If it was going to be wet I wouldn’ have worn them. As it was they got lightly soiled we shall say at the end of the ride. Nearing Upton Magna there is a tractor and muck spreading tailer that has plastered the road with muck. It spreads for quite a distance. Now I don’t hang around as any traffic coming the other way would plaster you with the stuff. Given the speed I’m not expecting cries from behind me. Guy has leapt on my wheel and I’ve no mudguards.
You can picture the scene, to add to it Janet is on Guy,s wheel. It was a fairly clean ride up until then. Within another couple of hundred yards we are back at the start another great ride over.

The Edge is playing up at the moment by not splitting the rides up properly. Will post a link to the route when I get it sorted.

Link to Google Map of Ride

Missed out a few bits and pieces about the ride, two rides in two days takes a fair bit of writing up and the Edge not splitting them has had me trying to work around a fix for most of the week. SportTracks saving the day in the end.


Weekending 07 Oct 07

Monday: Spinning class at West Kirby, 675 calories. Picked up a back injury so certain moves were sore. Should have known better. Mixed day received Mapsource Metroguide Europe for the Garmin that I bought off Ebay. Installed it and uploaded the two rides to it. It is good and it also shows up in the TrainingCentre so the basemap is no more. It is a significant upgrade for an Edge user and I paid less than £20 for it. I’ll do a separate post on it as it is a significant upgrade for Edge users. This is all in preparation for the Edge 705.
Back to the spinning, got sandwiched between two women that gave me a good run for my money. These girls are good, got to give credit where credit is due.
Tuesday: Work. Really suffering with back problems, missed a nights sleep no exercise for the foreseable future.
Wednesday: Work. Touch and go wether I turned in. Felt a bit better through the day but the hill climb is 50/50.
Thursday: Work
Friday: Took a day off to do some brickwork for a window. So booked into Europa Pools for a spinning class. They’ve been missing me, had to explain about going to West Kirby as the Europa classes are overbooked. Hanni has challenged me to do a double class on Tuesday. Can’t get on the first class Hanni . Anyway I was getting into a rut at West Kirby, Sheila,s classes are a change.
If your a woman looking at doing a spinning class I’d seriously recommend one of Sheila,s classes. She looks after the beginners and the classes are tailored to suit women. You get to know why you are doing a certain exercise. ie bum, thighs or calfs. None of the girls are looking to bulk up so it,s all about toning.
What was unusual about tonight was after the class Sheila had us on the mats doing abdominal exercises. First time I’ve been shown how to do them properly. Boy were they effective. Thanks Sheila.
Weights upstairs in the gym and spoke to Frances about the rides. Shower, home. br />
Saturday: CTC Hillclimb by the look of things. It’ll be my first. If it’s any thing like the old Nant y Garth it’ll be steep. Putting the Bontrager Race X lites wheels on the Toy might be taking things too seriously. Mind you the Toy is very serious in the CTC, the prefered weapon of choice is British steel prefably handbuilt by one of the few remaining frame builders.

Drove out to the start with the Toy on the Aldi cycle rack. Had a really good day, will write it up as a full post with pictures. As a taster I finished 11th on the freewheel. With the comments I’ve made before carbon is not the way to go for this event. Another good day, not what I was expecting but variety is the spice of life these days.
Sunday: Went to see Jack on the toy with a trip on the ferry. Came back on the Coastal Cylcle Route. 52 miles

CTC Presidents ride.

Ride write up to follow, I’ve posted some of the pictures I took on the ride to get things moving. These are compressed thumbnails for the blog the original are about 2.5Mb each if you want an original copy.

The Presidents Ride starts and finishes at the pond in Christleton and there are a fair few turning up maybe 50 or 60 and comprised of two rides a 15 and 18 mile route to the Jessie Hughes Institute at Eaton. Roy ends up leading us off and it turned out to be a good ride. Met a few new faces from other sections including a chap that had ridden the Discovering Shropshire audax the day before.

On the way out, by the Ice Cream Farm a tractor rally passes on the other side of the road. I hould have stopped then as it is a fairly unique sight but as luck would have it our paths crossed later in the day.

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Once youve dropped down to the rail bridge and crossed the canal you know know there is going to be a grinding of gears on the climb up the hill. It never fails to catch a few out. It’s the short sharp shock climbs that have me doing the spinning classes a couple of times a week.

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There are tea and cakes laid on at the Jessie Hughes Institute. Institute conjured up something grand when I first heard about it and I’d drove past it before not realising that this was it. It’s a wooden hall that is due to be replaced by a brick building. A bit of a blast from the past.

There is a presentation for the the late Graham Mills whose death has left a big hole in local, Welsh and Audax cycling. He’s going to be a tough act to follow and has been missed by many.

Had to stop to get a couple of pictures of the vintage tractors that were touring the lanes in convoy, missed them the first time near the Ice cream farm but caught them the second time. Makes for an interesting ride coming across stuff like this.

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The pictures that are not square were taken on the move on the bike as the rest of the group were still cruising along and I didn’t want to drop off the back and get lost.

Link to Google Map of ride 

Once we had reached the start a Christleton, four of us headed off back to Chester on the canal towpath. It handily links up with the River Dee cyclepath. Our  paths diverged at the blue bridge with Janet and moi heading back to the Eureka to meet of with Roy and Joan and a few others. Roy told me about the hillclimb last year so I’ll be giving it a go.

Back home via the missing link with the temperature starting to drop. Nice ride, local enough for many not to need a car assist. 68 enjoyable miles.

I’ve forgoten everybodies names so if you didn’t get a mention you know why.