Started off a bit of a mixed day, the rain meant a change of bike and shoes at the last minute. I wasn’t going to make a half eight start but as it turned out Ray had a 9 o’clock start planned. I’m 3 Kg up on what I was last year and that didn’t help.
Having all that data is a double edged sword when it’s not in your favour.
No parking in the field this year due to the rain.
Don’t know who are in the first picture but the second is Carol Boardman leading the Northend out and I can make out Peter in the third who they managed to loose at some stage. Our group took shelter in a bus stop while Ray was sorting his Garmin out. Ray throttled me (in jest)in the Memorial Centre for making comments about his routes. Well I’m riding Rays Route on the 705 so we don’t come to blows on the ride.
There is a section around the tin church where we differed.
Well we have to wait long before we had our first and only stop on the ride. Ray picked up a puncture on Lower Mountain Road.
First two pictures are of Roy and Joan who from what I can gather picked up a puncture before the first control. It’s a steady pace and and as we started late we don’t see any riders for what seems a long time. I forgot to mention the chap with a crushed wheel we passed going back just before Ray had his puncture. It looked bad.
Things are fairly steady and we get to the point where Ray’s route has us turning off route to regain it further on. Whereas the sheet has us going down to Bronwlfa Ray has us climbing. It gets really steep grannyring stuff and I say ” Bloody hell Ray, where have you got us going” only for Martin to chirp back “That’s what I was thinking”. 744 to 980 ft the elevation change. Steep descent and we are back on track.
Only to be faced with another steep climb well what goes up comes down and the first stop comes up in Church Street Penycae. The church that gives the street it’s name looks nice.
The sun comes out and it is a lot brighter with the roads starting to dry out. Checked into the control and as we are at the back of the ride there are no queues.
First picture is of the Iceni on the wall, what I didn’t realise was the village post office was here. Next shot is Ray and Joan who has passed us earlier and don’t look too pleased. We’ve been in the control 30 minutes so they have lost a bunch of time.
The next section of the ride is really nice. No waterproofs and it all hangs together until just after Ruabon. Never been through Ruabon strange as it may seem and we wait for Chris. Ray is naughty and jumps a car giving way to oncoming traffic on a narrow bridge.
Going out of Ruabon we see another group of riders coming back down the dual carriage way having missed the turn. It’s a fairly fast pace to the roundabout at Sontley where Ray tucks in the Aldi Jacket that was falling out of the back pocket. Once regrouped I lead off looking back after a while to see I was off the front. Easing up a group of the Sunlight with JJ on the front pass with Chris and Martin on the back so I grab a wheel.
Further on I looked back and Chris and Martin were gone. Then there is a climb at speed that I should be doing more of. It splits the group up a bit and you get to see who is strong. Next thing I’m off the front as they regroup. The next section was really good and I clawed back a lot of time riding the muddy lanes at a fast pace. The 705 and Ray,s Route came into it’s own here as there was no need to stop at the junctions to look at the route sheet. I passed a few on the lanes including a group where one says make way for Lance.
I passed a couple riding at a decent pace only to be re passed when I stopped to put on the Aldi Hiviz Jacket when the rain came again. The next control came up and it was full with the Northend and Liverpool Mercury making up most of them.
Scones and cake were excellent and came from Costco.
I had planned to ride back with the Northend but Carol said we are only going slow why not grab a wheel on the back of Liverpool Mercury they are a fast bunch, “Give them hell” were her parting words. Out of the Control they had formed two groups and were not organised so I rode up to the front group who slowed up so I went through. With 25 miles to go they are bound to catch up.
Up ahead was another rider pressing on who I now know as Dennis. I caught and passed Dennis but then made a wrong turn just before the war memorial so had to retrace slightly. I must had slowed as Dennis joins me and asks if I’m on the ride. He’s got the same idea as me, just waiting for the inevitable and the Liverpool Mercury to pass us.
Next in is JJ and the Sunlight. Some 40 minutes later Ray Janet Chris and Martin arrive.
Carol and the Northend turn up later having missed a turn and headed to Malpas.
Saw jon at the finish he was first back. Last year he rode out to the event and back home which was 140 miles. I’ve just had a look at last years ride and everybody was in shorts. Glad I braved the weather, made the right choice switching to the Iceni at the last moment. Chester and NorthWales CTC took the team trophy for the most riders on what would have been a long day for some.
There was some discussion at the end about the Dave Lloyd Mega challenge this being roughly half that distance and with only two climbs of note. It would be a long long hard day and I’m probably not up to it. But you never know.