Weekending 02 Feb 2014

I’ll start with a picture from last Saturdays ride were a fair few were caught out by the freakish winds and hailstones.

Hail at Cheshire Oaks Cycles

I’d ridden out to Steve Webb Models in Frodsham for some bits for the latest thing to divert my attention, mainly getting Pauls 20 year old radio controlled car back on the track. More of which in a later post. I took a trip out to the Ice Cream Farm with the grandkids on the Sunday and it was totally devoid of cyclists. Given the weather I don’t blame them.

Today was my first Sunday ride for a long time, with an early trip out to the Eureka. It was standing room only with large groups of Northend, Sunlight and Century packing the place out.



This was after the Northend had already left for their ride.

Todays ride was with the CTC to the Grosvenor Garden Centre via Burton Point and the Dee Cycle path, which incidentally has had all the washed up plastic cleared.

Along with the tidal bore the Guppy was landing at Broughton for some more A320 wings.



The phone camera doesn’t do it justice. You can’t see the screen to compose the picture so what you get is really pot luck in these conditions.

I ended up having a really good day saw some new faces and a lot of old ones.  The pace was relaxed but it still ended up as a 40 mile ride.  I split from the returning group at the end of Greenway continuing on to the Dee cycle crossing where I picked up a slow puncture.  Another stop at the square at Parkgate and again at Heswall golf club where I was diverted off the Wirral Way onto Well Lane and then home.

It turned out to be a 58.5 mile ride and would have been a fair bit more barring the slow puncture. I had planned on doing the Wirral circular to give the new light a try out.

On a different note  The Armstrong Lie is at Vue , Cheshire Oaks. 1 show a day  it’s going to be a short run by the look of things.

One is a Churchill victory salute the other is what English longbowmen waved to the French

New Dee Crossing.

The new cycle path between Burton and Deeside is open and word is spreading about it.


Coming out at Zone3 it is best to stick to the signed route.



There is no easy route out of the the Zones other than the signed route. I ended up at Tata Steelworks. I will post a gps link up when I download it.

Dee Cycle Path by frankkinlan at Garmin Connect – Details

Best viewed with the OSM overlay set. Cant post an embedded map as the blog can’t accept <iframe> commands.

There going to be some great routes out to Chester and Wales from now on.
One way or another you need to get over the River Dee if you are venturing into Wales.  Follow the signs for Chester to use the Dee Cycle Path.
If you have a  routable  OSM map in your Garmin you should be able to follow the cycle paths by Route number.

Thanks to DodgyD for the OSM mapping update.

Week Ending 17 Jun 2012

This is my new toy a Sabbath Silk Road.  It weighs in at 8.8 Kg with the Fulcrum Racing wheels that it came with. It’s pictured above with the Speedy Li tubs.

My first outing will be the Chester and NorthWales  CTC Bob Clift Memorial ride which starts at TheWaverton Institute, Village Road  Waverton. 9A.M for the 100 mile ride.
Entries are available on the line, not online.

Last year most opted for the 50 mile route with only 17 taking the 100 mile route.  It was a torrid ride but I’ve come back for some more of the same by the looks of the weather.


Been an interesting couple of weeks, Vita wise Chris has deceided to split and form his own club. Steve Smith (Springy) won his first race for the Vita race team and Dave finished 2 seconds behind Dave Zel in the TLI Oulton Park Road Race last Tuesday.

I’m getting increasingly annoyed at pointless Strava segment updates. Yesterday  I lost a KOM Segment that someone had uploaded recently. My ride was on last years Liverpool Chester Liverpool. The segment Levers Causeway to Barnston Road 2 miles.

On a slightly different tack gearing is starting to become an issue for me again. An 11-28 cassette has too big a gap between gears at the top end 21-24-28 doesn’t seem to work in the real world. One minute your OK and the next gear has you going backwards so to speak.

This is on a totally different track.


Instructable: http://www.instructables.com/id/DIY-Electronic-Derailleur/


Good shot of Springy doing the business.

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Bob Clift Memorial Ride 2012

Some last minute fettling had me fitting a Crudracer  guard to the rear and then finding out minutes before I set off that I had left my Tool bottle in the shop.

Come the 9:00 start the heavens opened, made a bit of progress only to find out the chap I had caught up wasn’t on the ride.

Going up the switchback at Delamere Forest didn’t seem too bad, the rain was starting to ease off but I was still pretty damp.
Willington Corner had a scarecrow competition but the couldn’t match Great Budworth.

Tea and flapjack at the Ice cream farm. No dog begging for scraps this year.

Climbing out of Alderley Edge I got off at one stage to see if I did indeed have a compact chainset.  I’d have took a picture of the Wizard of Edge if it didn’t have cars parked in front of it.

Things start to go a bit pear shaped at Bollington as the Cafe Stop has move past Pott Shrigley, it means a fair bit of climbing with no sign of the cafe. The Routesheet comes out again. Out of desparation I ask a cyclist going the other way.

There is another event going on too as I pass a sign saying 5 miles to go . On the return I see 2 Rapha Condor Sharp riders decimating the Sportife riders.
The Coffee Tavern is further than I expected and not what I expected at all. It was packed. Our ticket entitled you to a pot of tea, sandwiches and a piece of cake. There was a bit of a delay but it was worth it. Can’t see how they made money out of us.
Top place, a bit quirky. Should be on everyones Cafe list.

If there is one thing I don’t like it’s retracing steps specially hilly ones. Heading back to Bollington there was a group of 8 who hadn’t found the Cafe yet. They were at least an hour behind and it would be a long day for them.

Thought I would have to walk on Redway looking at it but it was not to be and I made it in one go. Stopped at the top and took the picture  above which has Jodrell Bank in the back ground. The Tannoy from a Fete also set the tone for the afternoon.
Got passed by Bianchi guy but he was held up by the canal swing bridge in operation.

Some classic road names in this neck of the woods, how about Maggoty Lane with Maggoty wood. Next stop was the Canal Centre where I was last to sign in before it closed.
You start to get an appreciation of just how big Cheshire is or at least how little there is out there in the sticks. Phone signals are optional.

Last checkin is the Jessie Hughes Institute  at Eaton. Made it with 10 mins to spare. Got offered more cake but I was all caked up by this time. Made the finish just before 7pm, it had been a long day, 104 miles.

Saw plenty of wildlife on the ride bunnies, a duck with it’s ducklings crossing the road, squirrels and by the same token there was plenty of roadkill too.

On the final leg there was a chap in a faired recumbent tricycle coming the other way.  Looked a bit like one of the RedBull soapbox entries. You can’t miss it it’s canary yellow.

Had a good day in the end, knee twinges didn’t get  any worse and did ease off in the end, I need to make an effort to get my weight down again.

Garmin Connect – Early Season TT

Garmin Connect – Untitled.

Proved to be a bit of a disaster as I punctured 5 miles from the start and things just went from bad to worse. Found out that you can’t transfer a course from a Garmin 800 to a 705 so virtually no one on the ride had a Course to ride to.
Turned out to be a nice day. Learned a few valuable lessons about kit preparation, don’t rely on old tubes. If it’s worn or holed bin it.

Weekending 31 July 2010

Monday: Website down over the weekend so time for a fresh start.
Time again to go on the wagon and take alcohol out of the equation again and start afresh. Booked some spinning classes and pressed on with all those little bits of jobs that need sorting.
Tuesday: Tex,s morning spinning class which unlike the others  are likened to a 45 minute climbing session. If your spinning at 200rpm instead of 60 you will get your tension increased.

Of out to look at curtains which involved calling in at Eureka Cycle Sports. No curtains but it did allow me to put a coat of paint on the front door.

Becky’s evening spin class at the Oval, notable for the entire back row filling up with me on the front. You could almost feel them wishing for a row of corner bikes. Filled up a bit more before the start so it didn’t look so obvious.

Becky has a new class at West Kirby on Monday at 7.15 pm after the 6.00 one.
Sweated buckets, weights, shower and then home. Incidently the showers downstairs must be the worst around. Mould in the grout, dirty, next to non existent suspended ceiling. A hygiene hazard at best.

Started to read “Eats Shoots and Leaves” a 2004 best seller so hopefully the punctuation should improve. That is if I find the bit that actually says what the rules are.

Wednesday: Up early to clean and fettle the bike. New Dura-Ace brake blocks in the rear as the old ones were beginning to pick up, had them a while as they have an old price on. Lost a kilogram to boot.
Headed out to the Eureka with an eerie quietness to the roads, there was no school run as the schools have broken up for the holidays.
Not too many there when I arrived apart from a couple of Northenders. It soon filled up later on with the Northend out in force. Opted to go out with the CTC as it is exactly 5 years since I started going out with them.
Saw Ray who is on his 52nd 100 miler this year.

Todays ride was to Handley and should be here.


Met up with Colin Bell who is the brother of Dave Bell who I served my apprenticeship with at Associated Octel.(now Innospec)

The route was through the lanes including a few I hadn’t been on before, finally ending up at the Calverley Arms, avoiding the A41.

Good service, my baguette was nice and so was the pint, it would have been rude not to have one.

The pace had slowed a bit so much so that at the cottage with a pond in the garden on a bend at Huxley, I went off the front.
Route back was Waverton, Christleton, cycle path through Chester coming off it at Blacon, Upton and across the A5771 and back up Woodbank.
Plenty to talk about at the Eureka, Garmins as usual and the Ventoux popped up once or twice during the day without my prompting.
74.6 miles, couldn’t go that extra half mile so to say.

Kev Charlie and Bob at Chester

Seen a request for pictures of Charlie Dipple on Facebook but can’t get in touch due to a blocked facebook profile.  Here is one of them. Comes out bigger than the original when I paste it here at least when I edit it.

Thursday: Barbara,s Morning Spin class at West Kirby . Delayed 15 minutes because another class was using the amplifier. Hot class sweated buckets, called in at Vita on the way home to pick up some Nuun salt tablets as I want to replenish the salts lost but not the calories. Shop full of new Bianchi,s to look at and start at a resonable price in a shop that has a £12,000 bike on display.
Tesco,s for the comic and a sandwich and a trip to see my mum.
Booked a pm class at West Kirby, tried the Nuun tablet which guess what? tasted of salt.

Friday: Lost 2 kg since Monday mainly by knocking the alcohol on on the head. The scales say my body composition Water % has gone up from 43.9% to 44.7 in 4 days. Time to finally put it all in a spreadsheet.
There have been complications mainly insomnia which was probably why I hit the bottle again.  Will have to see how it pans out as I don’t really want to see the quack at this stage.
More later, off out to the Eureka for lunch.
Headed out to a cash machine and then down Town Lane practicing bunny hops on the sleeping policemen. Works quite well once you’ve done a few.  Called in at Aldi for a punnet of plums and headed out to Eastham Ferry calling in at CycleSurgery for a Sky waterbottle.
BLT toastie at the Eureka where there was another one having Garmin problems.
Vision is one of them, if you can’t see the screen of a normal computer you are going to be in real trouble with 705 or 800 on the move.
I’ve just switched to prescription glasses so a ride is now like seeing HD for the first time.
The FourSquare app on the Iphone has locked up for the last week.
Called in at Vita on the way home then back via Landican lane to practice more bunny hops. That was until the bottle toolbox forced it’s way past the tang on the carbon fiber bottle cage. Forced the pump out of it’s mount, hitting the crank every  revolution.
I don’t know how many vans Gunform have but got buzzed by another at the Woodchurch flyover making a beeline for the motorway. That’s the second time it’s happened to me. Someone there is riding their luck.

Called in to McGarvey,s Opticians to see how the custom Split Jackets were coming on. Well they were in but awaiting the case and the rest of the bits you get with the real thing. They are a better fit than the Radars on the Kask Vertigo.

Probably worth doing a post on prescription sports eyewear at a later date.

Had a drive around looking to pick up bits for the kitchen installation to no avail. What was noticeable was  riders in team kit, so here goes Discovery Channel, Astana(brave), Team Altura(plain kit) and US Postal.
Saturday: Stayed steady, Alcohol units 0, disrupted sleep. Time for a ride as the suns out and it’s the last day of the holiday.


40 mile ride around Wirral with a few bikes shops and motorbike shops thrown in. Still looking for a new pair of shoes. Met up with Dave at the Eureka who ordered a bacon sandwich with a brown crust and a white top with the crusts cut off tongue in cheek.  Low  and behold that’s what he got apart from the crusts being cut off.
Lot’s of the big hitters were doing short rides as it is race day on Sunday

Sunday: Work so no ride, weekly total 141 miles. Alcohol units 2.

Weekending 12 June 2011

Monday: Tex,s morning  spinning class at the Oval . Started stripping the varnish off the Carbitubo only to find paint stripper isn’t what it used to be.Evening spinning class at West Kirby.
Tuesday: Morning spinning class at West Kirby cancelled due to Barbara throwing a sickie . Spent 30 mins on the exercise bike in the gym at 150 watts.
Couldn’t get a replacement evening class as they are all full on the online booking system.
Route for the Bob Clift memorial came.
Note to self, NEVER EVER EVER press the back button when planning a route on BikeRouteToaster.com
Wednesday: Spent most of the morning stripping and cleaning cassettes trying to get to grips with the jumping chain under load. Set up the rear mech from scratch. Cut back the inner sleeve to make sure that wasn’t fouling. Headed out to the Eureka, saw Keith Boardman doing some secret training on the Brimstage time trial circuit.
Got caught in a shower at Willaston so hid under a tree till it passed.
BLT toastie and it was time to head back with Keith Boardman coming back from his secret training.
Still having a problem with the gears so ordered a new cassette from Vita.
Back up Rest Hill it was as bad as it’s ever been with me  getting off the bike to see which gear was worst.
Thursday: Beckies morning spinning class, with one of the newcomers getting off the bike. More work on the bike and another round of throwing a way the past. The Colnago stickers came through the post.
Broke the belt on the vacumn cleaner hoovering up a sock so off to Grange Electrical for a new one. Beats internet shopping hands down.
Leasowe for a spinning class as it was all I could book online, too many chest presses and the like for my liking.
Friday: Waiting in for a new phone and replanning the route for Sunday.
Another disaster with the route planning with Chrome locking up and altering the sheet causing another route loss.
Saturday: Trip up to Vita to see if the  the cassette is in, left with a few gels for the ride tomorrow. Planed ride again , this time in Windows and it work. I should know this ride off pat the number of times I’ve done it and lost it.
Bumped in to Peter at the Eureka who has recently come back from a ride through France including a climb of the Ventoux. It was still freezing at the summit despite being about 30 deg C at the bottom.
Sunday: Bob Clift Memorial Ride, 100 miles, think this is my 4th. Forecast is grim, just how grim I was to learn about an hour into the ride.

<iframe width=’465′ height=’548′ frameborder=’0′ src=’http://connect.garmin.com:80/activity/embed/92235839′&gt;

Unable to get a new cassette in time I had to make do with the one I had fitted in an attempt to cure the jumping. Well it didn’t work as it started to slip around Willington Hall with me falling off the front I’d bee sharing with Phil. Things got worse going up the switchback at Delamere despite using the cable adjuster.
The weather front finally moving in just before arriving at the first stop at the Ice Cream Farm, Great Budworth. Caught up with Phil and the other two riders and had a chat inside before setting out on the next stage.
Riders much reduced on the 100 mile route with only 19 opting for it, in contrast 90 plus opted for the 50 mile route with over 30 signing up on the day.

Before I forget, the 800 came up with ” Truncating Route” when I fired it up at the start which is a new one on me but didn’t bode well.
Things got wetter and wetter as the ride progressed, I’d changed to waterproof gloves at the stop but knew it would be a loosing battle in the end. Hit Alderley Edge  which lived up to it’s name as Bentley country with one passing me. Turned on to the Macclesfield Road and knew I was in trouble, at about 10% the chain was playing up. Had to stop on the climb and adjust the rear mech so it didn’t jump in the lowest gear. As long as I had one good gear it didn’t matter about the rest.

Midway stop was a Polytunnel this year with the rain rattling against the polythene. It was time to move on as I’d be there all day if I didn’t make a move.
I had Phil and company on my tail on the way back and held out to the Jesse Hughes institute where they opted to take the direct route to the finish.

It was a good job I had a tailwind on the return leg or I’d still be out there now.
I don’t know what happened with the route but at one stage I was routed down a footpath by a stream and came out on someones drive. No wonder car satnav drivers are ending up in rivers or worse.
The run into Waverton had me in the big ring doing 25 mph with it throwing it down and the roads awash, just wanting to get it over.  Interesting ride, still got a 100 miles in me despite the weather.  

Weekending 17 Apr 2011

Monday: Work
Tuesday: Work
Wednesday: Work, got knocked back on the redundancy package.
Thursday: Set about planning the Spring 50  route on RidewithGPS.com after finding the CTC track had an error in it because it was a ride turned into a Course.  This was an excuse to go to a bike shop and the try the Edge 800 new settings out. Things went really well with turn directions coming up when they should. Still not convinced about Coursepoints, Garmin seem to place them on the actual turn which is too late. Must be down to the routable maps.
Friday:  Tackle a few jobs that I’ve been putting off, like the shower drain and screen.
Pretty much sorted for Sunday the plan being to ride out, do the 50 and ride home. Not planning to do anything daft on Saturday just a local ride probably involving a Cafe stop.
Starting to look at the longer term and this doesn’t involve a Saga plan with a free Parker pen (£1.50) from a Parky advert. I may have hit 50 + but Funeral plans and easyline at the gym are a bit much.
Saturday: Did a Wirral loop of 43 miles picking up some plumbing fitting from Screwfix and calling in at Vita just before Daves Vita ride called back to the shop.
The shop echoing with Garmin bleeps from riders not pressing stop.
Looking at some of the bikes, your going to need a good set of aero wheels just to hang on the back. Eat Phils sandwiches much to his amusement as not having done the shop ride.
Sunday: Rode out to the start of the CTC  Spring 50 calling in at the Eureka for gels and a drink. Ended up doing 21 miles to the start with only 5 minutes in hand for my signing on time.
It had turned out to be a really  nice day with  a record entry of nearly 170 riders.
I started in the last group with Team Wallace and Grommit, had a go up the hill but got passed on the Straight Mile by Chris with the others in tow. Allan said to leave him to it. Twice we had to call him back after he had missed a turn. It did speed things up though.


Route wise everything was going great until the stop at Overton.

Things started to go wrong on the return leg, going offcourse had the Garmin trying to recalculate the Route and wanting me to do a U-turn.  This didn’t happen once but repeatedly for a about 5 miles.  So it looks as if I’m going to revisit the options  again. Completed the 50 mile Course but for some reason the Edge had me doing 5000 miles not 50. and whereas I had just completed my first 1,000 miles on the Edge 800 now it is showing 6000 miles.

Back to Janet’s ride, it hasn’t changed over the years but the numbers have.  Nearly 170 on this one and they all needed catering for at the stop. Had a bit of time to enjoy some of the views this year and it’s amazing what you miss. A ride like this takes a lot of organising and it means the organising club doesn’t get to ride their event. In contrast  to a sportife/charity ride  where your entry is paying for the marshalls/timing/charity!!!!!!??/ for what is basically the same event.

I lament the loss of Stan’s Audax and Sportif rides due to a certain Liverpool club turning it into a club ride with only one entering. Other clubs are just as guilty as I’ve seen the Sunlight do it too.  Stunning day , classic ride with great views, exellent CTC organisation, not a race but you could have fooled me.

Blew up on the ride home as I didn’t have anything to eat at the Eureka, thank God  I had a gel I’d purchased earlier in the back pocket.
93 miles not the 5000 odd Garmin have me doing.

Weekending 21 November 2010

I’ll cut to the chase, I’ve spent most of the week in work with an extra shift to pay for the toys.  I’ve also spent some time playing with the Edge 800 and reading some of the first reviews of the device.
Sunday proved to be my first outing with the new Edge with it being recognised as soon as I took it in the Eureka. I’ll be doing a page and a dummies guide in due course but first impressions are favourable with a few differences compared to a 705.
iframe> Rode out to the Eureka to pick up a ride. No time for a breakfast just a cup of tea. Ended up going out with the CTC to the Lock Gates Cafe. It was quite a large group with the headcount coming to 28.


Anyway a fair bit happens on a 5 hour ride, I’ll update the post in due course. One thing that did come out of it is the Edge 800 is going to sell like hotcakes now it has OS mapping.  You can download Isle of Man OS map for free from the Garmin site.  Had some sync problems with the cadence sensor which may be a bug as it didn’t detect it until I rescaned for it after a stop.

Mills Hills Audax 2008

A tribute ride to the late Graham Mills which ticks my hilly and hard boxes. I never got to ride any of Graham’s rides but the were legendary among the CTC. This one belongs up there.

I’d entered online with only four days to go and spent the next three days watching the weather forecast  and plotting the route for the GPS. It looked like it was going to be a wet start with good weather later on in the day. This was a ride for the winter trainer with mudguards on.  I’d also been down to Keith at Eureka Sports and bought a Montane Jacket that was light and has arms that go over the wrist when riding.

Ride day, up early and it is bucketing down. Going to the start through Brimstage is flooded, someones BMW is in a deep section with the water lapping around the doors. An Aldi truck is stopped with its hazard lights on. I make the start with minutes to spare.

This ride has been on the cards for months it was a pity only 19 entered with me being number 17. It must be Hills in the title.  Anyway I sign in with Stan and have a look at the Brevet Card. First info is coded into the GPS and it is the maker of the silo.
Selected to do Course and set off only to miss the first turn and head down the HighStreet soon to be stopped by an Off Course bleep.

The ride heads up by Chirk Castle past a set of gates that you wouldn’t want to paint as they are very ornate and massive.  Soon I’m in the granny ring  only to get stopped by a herd of cows moving fields. Once we were at the top of the ridge above the Llangollen Valley you were looking down on mist or low cloud below you. Stans info point has dissapered with only a small silo that is freshly painted left.

From the info point it is downhill to the Chainbridge Hotel this bit is steep and I’m going to need a new set of brake blocks after this ride. Compounded by the front wheel having a dent in it meant the headset was getting a good rattling. New rim next week, whatever I had hit has damaged both wheels, the rear having been replaced I didn’t think to check the front.

The next climb is the Old Shoe, I’ve done it once before and had to stop as I blew up basically. Stoped for a picture down the bottom and remove the Crane Sports Over Trousers. Just one problem I can’t fit them in the saddlebag loop. I have to wrap them around the top tube. This time I tried to pace myself knowing what was instore and I made it in one. Ponderosa was empty with all the fair weather bikers off the road. Next Control is at Llysfasi where Stan is waiting.

The next section is classed as rolling hills. The descents are tricky on this ride due to rivers of water running off the fields and fallen leaves on the tree lined sections. Throw in some gravel down the middle just to make it interesting and you have a descent that is shall we say testing. It’s on one of theses descents that I begin to think this is one ride where you don’t want a “Mechanical”.

Should have shut that thought out as next minute I pick up a puncture by a Church and a Pub. Couldn’t find the cause so a new tube went in. Tempted to go the pub but got a picture of it instead. The good thing was the sun came out. The rider on the flat bar Specialised went past, it must have been one of his first rides as I’ve seen him stop twice and later saw him riding back up a hill that I was going down.

The river at Corwen is in full flow  and has breached the flood plain. Found the Control and had a pot of tea and a teacake. The previous riders had finished off all the cake and I was offically out of time to boot. Card was stamped, a bit of  banter about doing 90 miles, not a bad stop.

Picture of Craft Centre

The run out of Corwen is flat and gives you an opportunity to get the average speed up.  See the Specialised lad again and later find he has called in.

Rewind back a bit to Melin y Rigg here I’ve stopped to take a picture of the descent which is glorious. There once I’ve found the info point it is across the river/raging stream only to find out how the Welsh villages do their shopping. Asda Online of course, I’ve got to stop at a cottage to let the girl through and again the road is awash with water. It is another steep climb out of the village.
With local shops and post offices all closed it’s the only way to exist out in the sticks.

Next up is the small matter of the Hirnant. I’d stopped by the bridge for a picture thinking this was it, it looked steep but I was easilly fooled.

Picture of Climb

Once past this first climb you are confronted with a glacial valley that just rears up. It looks formidable before you reach it. Once past the cattle grid  the ride switched into a HDTV mode, I’m riding slow enough for everything to be in focus, every blade of grass, sheep dotted on the mountainside. Possibly the best section of any ride I’ve rode. The forces invovled in forming this valley must have been immense. I thought I wouldn’t make this in one go but surprised myself. Once you go around a bend you loose the view of what you’ve just climbed.

Next stop is a control at Lake Vernwy. The  ride around  the lake is flat and well surfaced, about as good as it gets. You can hire bikes too from one of the Cafes. The road was awash for a section of it, this meant riding in the middle of the road to stop the oncoming traffic otherwise they were going to drown me in the bow wave.  Tried to sign at the wrong control point which cost me £2 for a smoothie at the RSPB shop. The right control point was 150 mtrs further on and looked closed but wasn’t. I was back in time but not by much. It was a short stop but I was at the back of the ride and the girl at the stop said she heard the others say it was hilly.

Indeed it was, I hadn’t figured on how hard this last section was. Relentless hills is what the routesheet said and thats what it was. Grannyring stuff with me pulling in to let cars past at passing places. Most knew what the score was apart from pensioners in Micra’s who wanted to drive through me on a narrow lane.

I  spent a lot of this ride out of the saddle looking at the front wheel spindle, it wasn’t until it leveled off a bit that you got to see how good the views were. Another factor in the ride was the danger of me finishing out of time. Not having seen another rider since The Old Shoe meant I was nearly the last man on the road.
I was behing schedule at Corwen, 15 minutes up at Lake Vernwy and finished 15 minutes before the close at Chirk.

The Brevet card says 10hours 20 minutes which is a long day in the saddle. It was turning dark by the time I hit Chirk Bank, the Cafe was well closed and it meant the control was in the carpark where we started. Learnt about what the ultimate Audax bike should have, a rack to stow your gear when the sun comes out.
That’s next on the list. Bullet proof tyres too, it maybe me but Conti Kevlar Ultrasports have given me a lot of grief since they went on. Brakes that work in the wet on a 20% hill, I did have a moment on one.


With the above GarminConnect link you can view my track, sections where I have gone off Course and switch to hybrid view.

Garmin TrainingCentre has the total climbing at 10,061 ft or 3061metres


Paul advised me to set up a Flickr account to get the event pictures up on the site so this is it.

More later.

Wild Wales 2008 (The ride)

What an event packed ride. Another great event organised by Merseyside CTC.
The weather forecast was a bit mixed, damp at first with sunshine to follow. It proved to be spot on. Rain overnight meant the roads were damp at the start. I’d opted to fit the raceblades to “The Toy” and although the rear was fine the front was on for the first time and it was a niggle throughout the day. Bending it in the car to the event didn’t help.

What made the ride was the other riders. Two years on I’ve met so many good people I wouldn’t know where to start. CTCers, Northenders, The Sunlight, people I’ve met at the Eureka, Ice Cream Farm, Audaxes and all those that know me from this site and the Garmin articles.

I’m about an hour early at the start but at least you get a place on the start carpark, it soon fills up and then you are in the carpark in Bala.


Time flies and soon it time to sign on and start the ride. Riding with Allan, the two Chris’s and Charles. Slightly delayed at the start we head out around Bala Lake, I took a few pictures of the group but the one with the lake in it comes out top. The weather is brightening up and the odd rainbow appears.


It’s been relatively easy until now and once past the caravan site we hit what must be the toughest climb of the day. Time to change down a gear or twenty. I didn’t get off to a good start, the chain jumped off the new granny ring and I was only about 30 ft up the climb. Time to ride back down and start again.


Had to stop to get the pictures is my excuse. A great climb, heartrate through the roof and we are only a couple of miles in. 


Now there is a saying that Campag wears in and Shimano wears out and to a certain extent it is true. Shimano shifts faultlessly thanks to profiled teeth and the likes of chainlifters on the chainrings. Once you mess with it like I did it all goes out the window.
I wore the middle ring out after about 6,000 miles and replaced it with a BBB 7005 machined chainring. Looks great but doesn’t shift like the original.
It was a problem throughout the ride. Poor shifting or derailment just when you most needed it. Maybe great on a double but on a triple it just leads to trouble.
Back to square one. 


With the steep bit over it’s a series of moorland climbs this was the final one with riders dotted across the hill.  Came across a Northender walking and thinking it was Dave Large yelled at him to get on his bike as I had my camera ready only to find it wasn’t him. Oops.  I’ve compressed the pictures on the site as they capture most of the ride but when you see the 6mp version there is an amazing level of detail. 




Steep downhill section after these few onbike shots had me on the drops to get that extra brake modulation. Not enough leverage on the hoods to stop if something went amiss.




The first control at Llanelltyd. Lots of familiar faces here, can’t put a name to them all but you get to know people by their club or their CTC group or even just doing a ride with them.




The next section involved two river crossings and another stretch of climbing. The first river crossing was priced in the ride. Nice ride across the river and I missed the first turn left by 10 yards. Time to engage that low gear again. The initial climb was steep with a hairpin bend thrown in for good measure. Slackened off a bit after that but you knew it was always up.  A couple of gates on this section  held open until we all got through.

Met up with Roz of the Sunlight on this section who was riding at her own pace, a bit like myself. Once at the top it was all downhill to Barmouth. Talking to Chris a bit later on two riders crashed and landed on top of each other on this section and when I came through there was a walker pushing a boulder off the road.


Roz taking a picture of Barmouth.


I slithered down the hill to the same point as Roz, Look Keo’s aren’t made for walking.

One of  the big things with this ride is cattle grids. There are loads of them and along with them are punctures.  I stopped counting but it was a question of not hitting them too fast or not enough air in the tyres or both.

A ride isn’t complete without a puncture picture and that is to come.

The footbridge to Barmouth was a special part of the ride, the views across the river where great, riding  across it reinforced that and there was time to take it all in for the queue  for the toll booth, which was quaint as it gets.(you had to wait for your return ticket even though we weren’t coming back) Little Britain sprang to mind.

DSCF3503.jpg DSCF3502.jpg



This is the view of the estuary while waiting at the toll booth. Chance to chat with others that had walked across and explain the ride. For a lot the walk across the bridge was the only exercise they were going to do that day. Bala seemed a long way in a car never mind going over what we had for fun.

I miss a load out on these rides but I stopped for a Northend photo at Barmouth.


Spoke to Dave Large to see if they were stopping but continued on with Matthew who had stopped for me to go back. Once through the one way system there must have been about 2 miles of traffic going into Barmouth. Amazing what a Pelican crossing can do on a Bank Holiday weekend.

On this section a black Merecedes goes past and out of the window I hear ” Keep going, Frank”. I didn’t have a clue who it was at the time.

We caught Roz up again and she had a wheel until it started rising.  Then it was a right turn that we missed by 20 yards and things got lumpy.

Most car drivers gave us enough room today, only had two close shaves of note. One skimmed Matthew riding to the wooden bridge on an A road and the other was on the hills above Harlech when a 4×4 didn’t want to slow down on a narrow lane which was uncalled for. Car comes by with two girls what I thought were leaning out of the sunroof. It was worse than that they were standing on a tow bar bracket clinging to the car.

We are now in bright sunshine, the wind is in our favour and it’s as good as it gets. Sweat is pouring out of me on the steep climbs, dripping off the peak of the helmet all over the Edge. Due to the high salt content it’s white in colour which is a cue to take on more of the electrolyte I’m carrying.

Found out who was cheering me on after Barmouth, it was Carolyn offering support for her brother who I met last year on a CTC ride. This was on a tree shaded steep climb. I did ask why she wasn’t doing it at the stop, too hard was the reply. She does have a point, there are enough warnings in the entry form.

One of the clubs has marked the route with blue arrows, these aren’t the CTC markings I was told at the start. I did make a few mistakes in the route planning, the most notable one being the second stop where I was in a pub carpark. Letting the software autoroute me instead of turning left the junction before. Whatever we are only talking a couple of minutes.

Now my route has me doing another few miles than the official route distance.  I did end up in Tansarnau when I should have turned off earlier.  Saw a Sunlight backup vehicle on the A494 and then it was on to one of the harder climbs of the day. As we approach the turning I hear a familiar Garmin bleep. It’s not mine though but the chap behind using a 305.

Full  sunlight and I’ve still got my armwarmers on!. It’s signed as Magnox Power Station.
It is steep but I’m struggling with the shifting  as it is stuck in 39×27 and just won’t  have it. Any other day and it would be fine. I have to stop as the hill rears up and I’m not going to make it in the middle ring. I was doing fine until then but another couple of degrees of incline would have seen me off.

There is a big guy leaning on a farm gate half way up telling me I’ve done the worst but it is still steep to the summit. That sweat I mentioned, it’s just pouring out of me.

A bit of a mistake on the descent due to my  autorouting but at least I make the village hall.

Met up with Matthew again, had some decent cake, filled the bottle and it was back on the road. Northend were coming in so it must have been down to the stops that I had got ahead of them. Now I’m not that strong a rider but if you  know where you’re going that usually adds an edge to your ride. Heading back Tempo, Brad and Chicago pass us but turn off on the main A road to Bala (Gods road if you’ve ridden it on a motorbike), our turn is a mile further on.

By the log cabins they catch us up and pass us but as we are climbing Tempo is dropping off the back. We are further back but cresting one climb he is by the side of the road with a broken chain. Turns out it his second, I fish a section of chain out of the bag along with a Shimano pin. Can’t leave the club captain in the middle of nowhere. Looking at the chain I’m not surprised  it broke, it was mass of grease picking up a load of grit and crud to boot.

Stopped at the summit  for the next two pictures so lost touch with the other two then it was a fast descent until that first climb where it was back on the brakes.




At the bottom of the hill is the final cattle grid and it claims another victim, Barry. Only six miles from the finish too.


What I can’t work out is how they got in front of us. No ride is complete without a puncture picture so here it is.

Set off towards the finish and I had Martin on my wheel. Dropped back a bit to get a lakeside cycling shot in brilliant sunshine. 


Martins jersey  looks like he robbed it off The Riddler.

Missed out on a couple of good ones. Signed in at the finish and got the slate. Nice picture of Barmouth Bridge on it.


Garmin Connect has me at 3,300 metres.

Great ride, thinking about it we could do one of these a week if we put our minds to it. Nice to have a sag wagon, but what do the locals do.

8600 feet of climbing. Finish time 17:10

Finished the post a week later, again if you’ve done an event like this there is a load that doesn’t make it into anything you may write up. The memory stays though.


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