Saturday is a ride day for The Northend at the Eureka Cafe. It’s a big enough club to run multiple rides on a Saturday where in many clubs Sunday would be the big ride day. It was an easy enough ride out with not too many bikes in the rack when I arrived.
Seating was outside in the sun. No Franks Breakfast today after dining out yesterday which must be a first.
If you haven’t got a plan whose table you sit at will decide where you go for that day.
In my case it was Peters ride, Wales it was and the Horseshoe Pass came up in conversation. Other groups came in including Clives Spartans and a social group or two. That’s at least four rides according to ability.
Saw Big Phil go out for the Sunlight (with his 705 bleeping away) but the usual suspects are in the middle of the picture.
Dave Newby turned up, with the group that rode with him threatening to throw his Garmin 705 over the hedge after he led them into an industrial estate rather than straight up a hill. Ended up with Clives group thinking it was going to be a big club ride going down Woodbank. Peter and group stopped at the lights. Clives group had other things in mind and took to the road. Time to join Peters group, and then there were 6.
It was a great day looking back at it and we all had problems of one sort or the other.
Met Tiny (Mike) for the first time, rides a Trek 1.2 in what must be the biggest size they do.
Quite a hilly ride for a group that doesn’t have any big hitters in it. The route took the same route up to Hawarden but I didn’t get dropped at the roundabout this week. Any climb over 3% seems to sort us out.
From Hawarden it was along the A550 where a motorist takes offence at us riding two abreast by sounding his horn at us past Penyfford. Turning right to Pontblyddyn we’re taking the A5104 past Pontybodkin up towards Llandegla. Barry gives me a shout as he drives past with his bikes on the back of the car as I,m half wheeling Dave on a climb. You can spot me a mile away in the Discovery kit.
Vicky is off the front on the climbs on her new bike along with Tiny and Dave with Peter somewhere in between with Dave and I bring up the rear. Descending the moors around Llandegla we are all strung out at speed with myself third in the line when a car towing a wide caravan comes past me leaving very little room.
It’s bearing down on the back of Vickys bike and a shout to her to keep in goes unheeded.
It’s trying to get past before a tightening bend comes up. It’s as if the caravan club is having a rally somewhere as the number of caravans and motor-homes going past.
Once things had quietened down it was time to have some fun. I could see the others having a go so it was time to get in the big ring and get down on the tri bars. I’m just about to sweep Tiny up when a rough patch of road dislodges the saddlebag which had only been clipped on after last Tuesday’s timetrial. It bounces down the road at 30 mph and luckily a car and three motorbikes miss it.
This is just after the roundabout that heads to the top of the Horseshoe Pass.
The next section is mainly downhill with the ultimate destination being the bridge at Carrog. Peter stops and picks up Tiny’s map that had come out of his pocket. He has a map because he dropped off the back on one ride and didn’t know the way back.
We leave the main road at Bryneglwys which narrows and climbs out of the village towards a steep drop into Carrog where we stop at the road junction. There is time for Peter and I to repeat tales of getting dropped on the same hill while dehydrated as there was no Cafe stop in Corwen but straight on to the drovers road.
There is a steam engine rally at Carrog and it looks like I’ll be out this way tommorow with Jack as he’s Thomas the Tank Engine mad.
Peter has had his ride incident by slipping and falling into Vicky’s new bike, gouging his shin.
Dave want’s to go the pub up the hill. On the next section it is time for Vicky to christen that new bike not once but twice. The first time was on one of those short sharp shocks that is typical of this drovers road.
Still in the big ring her foot came out of the pedal as there was not enough tension in the new SPD’s.
She went down in a heap, thankfully not getting hurt. Gave me a chance to take another picture.
The next one was self inflicted, 39×12 is not a gear to do a climb that I’m in the granny ring for.
Damage: Scuff on the new levers and a small mark on the hood.
There is another stop at Rhewl where there is another bebate about having a pub lunch at the Sun Inn, Peter talks Dave out of it saying you don’t want to be climbing the Shoe on a full stomach, which is probably true.
John Skates who I know through that four letter word “Work”.
We turn left at Llantysilio which brings us out onto the Horseshoe Pass just below the Brittania Inn.
Before that there are some roadworks to contend to with traffic lights. Peter and a few other sail through and thats probably what Dave and I should have done as they were quite long. No way would a bike get through them on one turn of the lights.
For safety we took to the other side only to have a stream of cars and bikes come through while we are only half way through.
The climb is steepening up and we already had Mark blow up, even contemplating the burger van in the layby. Tiny pulled over with back pains, that would trouble him later that we didn’t know of at the time.
Dave steadilly gets dropped by myself which is no big news as Vicky has been dropping us all day.
Peter’s headstart through the lights is unassailable as we are on a similar level depending who has a good day. It’s a steady effort with no wind to blow you up the final section, strangly.
Sweat is now running down the peak of my cap and dripping off the end.
I’m wondering how the hell am I going to cope in July. It rears up past the shoe doubling back on yourself here you get chance to see how well your doing. Dave is a fair way back and once it levels out it time to have a good go to get to the cafe.
Dave turns up and so does Mark and Mike. Mark’s on a new BH so both are locked together by my security cord as it barely justify’s the term lock.
Once seated in the Ponderosa it was time to exchange tales. Dave says “Did the Mountain Biker pass you?”, aaaarrrhhhhhh!!!. Daves broken the roadies Number 1 first rule: “Never let a Mountain biker pass you”. Fein a mechanical, puncture, anything but don’t let him get away with it. The only exception is “Wilco” who blows everyone apart with saddlebags on.Hic
Departing the Ponderosa it’s all downhill so to speak with with Vicky dropping me on the climb up to the roundabout. The route back was via Llanarmon yl Lal and Loggerheads. Vicky was due in Deeside for 4pm and that was were we where headed. At our turn past Loggerheads Tiny falls of the back so I call to ease up. It does come back together but breaks up again a bit before Northop traffic light’s.
Peter swings off and by the time I’d got back with the other he was nowhere to be seen. It was a fairly brisk pace and I was sure Tiny was in sight when we turned.
At High Street Lights in Connahs Quay I finally caught the others, we stopped in a layby a little further on.
Peter arrives with the quip “Thanks for stopping” , the problem was waiting for Tiny meant he couldn’t cross the road due to the traffic.
Well, we did stop and we were all back together again, we popped into Deeside Cycles to see Chicago. He’s had a HAIRCUT and no longer looks like Earl Hickey, but the resemblence is there. (damn close)
Vicky is after some Tri bars to further humilitate us.
It’s a sign of the times that stock bikes are now worth more as components than a complete bike.
There were some good deals on frames that weigh zilch with a Raleigh brand on them.
We are the last back at the Eureka, sort ourselves out and then it is a ride home, Vicki splits before the Missing Link and Peter splits at the Eastham turnoff on Benty Heath Lane.
Another good ride. No one got dropped, lost or ended up in a ditch on this Northend ride.