Weekending 03 July 2011


Liverpool Chester Liverpool 2011
Nice day for a nice ride.

Should have rode the 87 mile event as I was back by 11.45

Bumped in to Paul from work, still waiting for his bike on the cycle to work scheme.


 

Nearly everyone freewheeled down to the midpoint where the speed differences started to show on the climb out.
Quite a few stop at the tollbooths to rest/regroup.
It’s always great to ride through to tollbooths for free.

 

Big ring after this and I’m flying. Met up with Team Wallace and Grommit who bummed a free ride from KFC. At least they didn’t have the cheek to do the tunnel unlike the usual suspect Liverpool clubs.

Marshalling was  a bit hit or miss with riders getting waved through red lights even though the ride organisers stressed not to do it.
Likewise riding 3 abreast on the Chester High Road before theThorton Hough turn off is not sensible.
The traffic calming islands just exacerbate the situation.

Nice section of the ride going through Thorton Hough, pity the oak tree outside the Smithy had to be cut down. 

Pretty much on my own at this point but grabbed a wheel from a handy chap on a Pinarello who was on the 87 mile ride. Looked to be behind schedule if I had caught him up.

 

The gated lane with 5 gates, could have done with marshals on these but it went ok. CTC have this down to a fine art.

The stop at Chester had me meeting up with Team Wallace and Grommit and heading to the Claire House Gazeebo for some sun tan lotion.  Saw one of the Vita Cycles Team heading out on the Delamere loop.

 

Had a bit of fun in the tunnel on the return leg, tucking in behind a guy using tri bars doing 30+. Surprised to see bottles being discarded in the tunnel with about a 1/4 mile to go, it’s not that steep a climb and it’s not the Tour.





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Bob Clift Memorial Ride 2008 (Cheshire Cycleway)

Ride write up to appear in a day or two.  Been without Internet for yesterday and today and the site went down to boot. Thanks to Paul for getting it sorted.

Don’t know if it is a sign of the times but I turned up to sign on for the event and wondered where everyone was. 37 had signed up and there probably 10 like me that signed up on the day. A fair bit down on last year. I don’t know if it is the CTC  becoming more of a political being and disaffecting the members that just want to go out and ride a bloody bike.

A rain shower had us huddling under a bit of shelter but it eased off and we were on our way. We ended up at the back of the field as Adelle was having a nap in the car and then forgot her water bottle.

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Usual suspects for this ride, with the odd one or two  that joined us as we all seem to want to do the ride at a similar pace.

The Sunlight passed us early on and we did see them at most of the early control points. A couple of miles past the Steps at Delamere we saw Big Phil of the Sunlight coming the opposite way. ” Short Ride Phil” was the retort.

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First section is basically as ride up to the Steps at Delamere.
Now I was off the back as it was time to take off an outer layer, but once on the Steps I went to the front to some comments only to be acknowledged once I got the camera out.

Great Budworth is one of those Cheshire Life villages, still spectacular the second time around. Dropped back to get  the shots, turned out quite well.

 

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Once through the village the first stop was the Ice cream farm.

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This was a control point but a bit quirky. No scones today as they are for customers. What am I a scone afficinado? They’ve run out but seeing as we are the only ones in sight it is a lame excuse. Felt suffered more than welcome.

The next section finds us riding along waiting for the climb to “The Wizard of Edge” . Phil goes past so isn’t in the shot at the top. This was a great photo opportunity last year but this year due to the popularity of the pub cars all littered the front of it.

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Here we lost Graham, only realising we had lost him at the next control. We had had a short stop at the Wizard and then set off thinking we were all up. Unfortunatley Graham went left instead of right and went further off the back. Luckily another group of three riders also made the same mistake and brought him back on course.

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The next control is starting to become a bit of a legend. If you mention the ride, this stop always comes up.” We had a control point at someones garage”, preceding it is a climb that is “Engage a low gear” warning stuff. Hurst Lane at Bollington, Ray had overshot by a few yards but this is what we call “Lumpy” , steep but short as are a lot of the UK climbs.

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Once leaving the control it is left at the end of the road( to continue climbing) or if you were on Rays route start going downhill. This is the bit that looks worse than it is, partly beause cars coming down it make it look really steep and you get the profile side on.
Going past the terrraced houses is bad enough as it is so narrow with parked cars.

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As it was we only had to wait for Graham who was really starting to suffer on the steep stuff. The picture above is at the top of the climb  by some sort of memorial or folley before it descends into Macclesfield.

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It all got a bit snarled up shortly after this as Ray stopped on the steepest point which was a few yards short of the turn. I was off the back  looking for a good shot, very easy to jump to conclusions when planning a ride on a Google map.

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The next stop at Eaton is held in the village school this year as the memorial hall is geting rebuilt. At this point we are second to last on the road. Dropped back to get some more pictures as we are on the final leg of the ride.

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The last two pictures are my attempts at getting Beeston Castle in the frame it just about comes off, pity about the cloud overhead.

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This is the turnoff for Beeston Castle, places like this really make the ride. Past the castle we turn off and go downhill to the humpback bridge over the canal. Addelle stall as she is in way too high a gear for steep side of the bridge.  This is easy flat riding now but the wind has picked up and shortly after the Tee junction that takes you to the Ice Cream Farm one way and back to Waverton the other there is a decision to take.
Follow the route along the road by the canal into a headwind or head back past the Crocky Trail. Crocky Trail it was.

More later, but that’s it for the picture uploads.
This post is not finished…until it is finished.

 

Hawkstone 200 Audax.

What a day this turned out to be.
It didn’t start out too well as I had an email from Ray about not starting if there was snow on the ground. An inch and a bit later had me heading out to the start. M56 was closed around Daresbury luckily the Garmin Nuvi 250W had the rerouting in hand.
It took a bit of forcing mind you as it wanted to send me back to where I came off.

With this delay time was tight but it did get me there in the nick of time. Phil was there and that was about it. Others were setting off but not on the route but down the A50.
Now with no routesheet or map Phil and I opt to follow the Garmins but take it steady on the lanes. We haven’t much other choice.

64 had entered but only 32 rode. That would explain why we saw very few riders on the ride, 10 to 12 tops. Seamons I think had a chain gang down the A50 as when we reached one of the controls we were told a group had come through nearly an hour before us.

Following the proper route from the start the roads were clear with no ice to speak of. Jodrell Bank came into view so I stopped to take a picture. One of the few on the ride. Very few of us rode the full route.

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I really like the Jodrell Bank picture  as we were riding for a fair few hours  through similar scenery. The snow didn’t dissapear until later. The next two pictures are of Phil closing on one of the few groups we saw on the road. In the morning everwhere looked like a Christmas card and it was really pleasant riding.

Once your seperated music starts coming into the equation, I had spinning class music bouncing around my head. Soulja Boy CrankThat, google it. I had thought ” This is a nice easy ride” only to find we had only done 20 miles. Only 105 to go.

Next stop is the “Red Rooster Cafe” another control point. Well worth a visit in IronBridge. Not a big place but well worth it if you can get a place. I had egg and baccon baguette. This was the halfway point and I needed filling up.

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A minute after taking the picture of the IronBridge there was a snow flurry a minute later sunshine. The next section takes up back around Upton Magna and it’s the first time Phil has seen the power station on the outskirts of IronBridge. It just looks so out of place.

There is another control point at Wroxeter  which required a trip to the visitor centre. This was livened up by sheep escaping onto the road by the farmer who hadn’t shut the gate.

I’ve got this saying “All roads lead to Wem” because for some reason they do. Every roadsign you seem to come across always seemed to have the same distance on it. The road to Wem is fairly open and the wind is starting to pick up.

Phil stopped at a cash machine here and then it was what seemed one of those straight roman roads to Prees Heath and the control at the Raven Cafe. A place that even welcomes bikers never mind cyclists. We were too late as it was closed so it was off to the garage to get a receipt instead.

After the stop it was a case of finding the non existant footbridge, Phil and I headed off to the roundabout looking for it even though the Garmins were pointing the other way. Then we saw a group of three riders going down a lane we hadn’t seen across the dual carriageway. It was a case of lifting the bike over the Armco to get to the other side.

Conditions slowly got a steadily worse but we had got on the back of the group of three. Then things took a turn for the worse, snow flurries.The overtrousers went on for the rest of the ride. It was really grim at times but it is not as if if you can call it quits when things get a bit tough. Then it let off a bit.

Crossing BoothLane at Middlewich Phil couldn’t get across the road and we split with the other group is sight of the finish. Not the end of the world but we came to a T junction at Jones’s Lane and Brereton Lane where so bright spark had reversed the Holmes Chapel sign. On the map it looks an insignificant juntion and with no waypoint on it and a 50/50 decision the tampered signswayed it. Right instead of left. It proved to be a bad move. Heading over the M6 instead of under it we had a couple of mile detour. Then had to endure a trip down an A road in driving rain with lorries going past at 60 mph.

Got to the finish about 15 minutes later than planned. There was some really good soup waiting for us at the finish, and a coal fire. Could have stayed there all night. 125 miles in 10 1/4 hours. Glad to have done it, it was 50/50 at the start but turned out OK. I mention to people that I went out for a ride at the weekend and the usual reply is how far did you go?. 125 miles, most don’t want to drive that far never mind spend over 10 hours in the saddle.
 

Discovery Channel Steve Cummings Training Ride 4

I thought I’d do another one of these as I’m off on holiday, the weather looked superb in the morning. As it turned out it was not a sub four hour ride as it has been tweeked a bit. A loop to the Ice cream Farm has been added as it is around lunch time. I also do a loop down to the marsh at Ness which include a climb up Denhall Lane.

The loop out to Delamere was into a headwind which was noticable down Oilsites Road. It’s always a test going straight up Primrose Lane as this climb is the steepest on the ride. With sunglasses on going down Dark Arc is scary stuff, the surface is bad in parts and you can’t see much under the trees a 30 mph. You need 30 mph to get to the rail bridge up the hill the other side.

Once at the Station Cafe it was a piece of Chocolate cake with a cherry filling and a pot of tea outside in the sun. The cakes are superb at the Station Cafe, everyone else seems to be having allday breakfasts.

The cake looked that good that a woman and her friend  commented on it and how many miles you’d have to do to burn it off. I’ve just ridden 24.8 for it. What has been remarkable is how little traffic there is.

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After Cotebrook I decide to take a few pictures of the Mill Pond, just before Oulton Park. It’s another track day and it sounds fast.

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Dave has spliced the pictures into this panorama which comes out really well. Thanks Dave.

Next stop is the detour to the Ice Cream Farm, I really like it around Beeston. The roads are quiet the surface isn’t bad along with some of cheshires finest it is a nice place to ride.

Mexican Chicken Bagguette at the Ice Cream Farm, I’d have thought it would have been busier seeing as it is the summer holidays but there was a steady stream going into the ice cream parlour. The Crocky Trail looks busy though.

Next stop is the Eureka after putting in a slight mod to the original Cycling Weekly route. The A5117 roadworks mean a few mods.

Kev and a few of the boys are there from a year ago. Kev mentions the picture I took of them crossing the canal bridge at Chester  to Bill?.  Kev has it as his wallpaper now. I don’t blame him, it was a good shot I don’t have any of me that good.

Puddington, Burton, Denhall Lane then a stop at Ness Gardens. I’m not looking to break records on these solo rides but just have a good time. I had toyed with the idea of an Ice Cream at Parkgate but it soon passed and it was back to the climb up to the Chester High Road.

The next section is the homeward leg and it was all going fine untill this. 270 cows wanting milking.

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This slowed down the average speed for the leg a lot. It seemed like an age following the cows but it was still a great day out.

Finished off with Sarah,s spinning class at Europa Pools.
I ended up loosing a Kg of weight on this ride even with the Cocolate Cake at Dela mere Station Cafe.

Strange how thing change in a couple of hours, a couple of the NorthEnd went the Ice Cream Farm later on and it was heaving.

Link to Google Map of Ride

North End ride to Llandegla Mountain Bike Centre

This was my first ride out with the North End, it started off with me following Dave at 25 mph to catchup with the others heading out to Woodbank. It was down to the Dee cyclepath and along that to Saltney Ferry footbridge. Just past Bretton one of the group picks up a puncture which slows things down a bit.

Now this is my first time out with the North end so I don’t know what the pace is going to be. The first test is when we turn off the Mold Road for a 5% climb up to the A55 footbridge. Climbs like this blow groups apart and I move off the front on this one. There is a comment about a drug test at the end of it as I am in my Discovery Channel kit.

For me this is my natural pace for a hill like this. At the gate it’s a wait for the group to reform. Another climb and then we cross the A55 and head for Pennyfford. The group reforms again but splits as most of it is going to the cafe at Ceffyn y Bedd. Dave, Mark, AN other and moi split off on a more direct route as the cafe closes at midday.

Once there Dave, Mark and I turn off up the Ffrwd Road. I’ve been down this road and it’s a blast, climbing it is a different matter. Dave gives me some instructions about waiting at the cross roads which I thought was a bit premature but proved to be the case. It’s not called the steps or staircase for nothing. Parts of this climb are steep, around 15%, it’s do-able in the middle ring. This had me maxxed out at 177 BPM on the Garmin HRM. Mark had dropped me on this climb as he is a natural climber. I’d clawed some of it back but the gap went out again. Contador I am not, YET.

We turned off for the Mountain Bike Centre even tho it is not signed. When we got there it was packed. You only have to look at the bike racks to see that there is some serious money here. By the looks of it we are the only ones that have arrived by our own power. It’s a pity that this stretch of road needs resurfacing otherwise it’s more suited to a 4X4 on the route we took.

I ended up having a piece of cake and a cup of tea, Dave and Mark ordered toast. What arrived was a two doorsteps per plate, then another two plates arrived. Once this was over it was time to head back to the Eureka. It’s a fast descent from the centre. There is one short climb that registers 16% on the Garmin Edge 305 but other than that it’s all downhill. The whole ride is at a quicker pace than what I’ve been doing for the last year. This is just what I need at the moment. The routes maybe not as scenic as some but it’s early days yet.

Had a few look at the new bars on The Toy , once I have sorted the lever height they will be perfect. There is even a moulding to rest your thumbs on when on the top. Superb.

Link to Google Map of Ride

CTC Bob Clift Memorial Cheshire Cycleway Ride

This is my first go at this ride as I’ve only been with the CTC a mere 10 months. Thanks to Janet the route sheet was sent out to me by return of post and I was able to program the Garmin with it.  I’ll submit it to the CTC rides website so others can share it.
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I’d parked up at the sports centre and signed on, a few now familar faces and a good turnout from The Sunlight. Now I was geared up for a hard day having driven the route on Saturday. Chris in the middle of the picture was going to have a short ride.
Just before Willington Hall he has chain trouble and that was the last we saw of him.

I’ve written about the start from Willington Hall for the Tour of the Berwyns,  I can’t reccomend it highly enough, it exudes class.

And then there were six, first up was Kelsall and a trip to Delamere. The Switchback at Delamere is on the Steve Cummings training ride. It’s a rolling climb and the dips give you momentum for the next. You can really feel good doing this climb by having a go. It’s not a drag and you gain speed as you crest each rise.

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 The stop at the Ice cream farm at Great Budworth was quite relaxed and it was here Roy and Joan caught us up. Time for a picture of them with Allan.

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It was then on to the first real climb of the day, up the hill to The Wizard of Edge, Alderley Edge that is. It went quite well, I’m going to have to find time to visit some of these locations, you pass so many when you are out on these runs.

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Had a good chat with the Sunlight lads at the control point. I’m looking to take things to the next level, so maybe I’ll be a club rider after all. Thanks for the positive comments about the site TJ. I’ve only ever wanted to show other what can be done. I thought I was doing well when I was over 100 Kg. This morning I was 82.0kg so 50KG or two bags of cement lighter than at my heaviest. I don’t know about this site beeing inspirational but the last years been 10 fold better than previous years.

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 The next section promised to be hilly, as I’d driven it in the car the previous dayI was concened I was going to struggle. It was low gear stuff and seemed particually steep in the car. I needn’t have worried, I still had the Wild Wales gearing on and sailed up everything. Don’t forget I’m on a triple.

 

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I took these shots while on the bike, they haven’t turned out too badly, mind you I had to put the camera away for the climb as I haven’t got to the stage where I can do a 15% climb one handed. (yet)

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The view from the top.  Weather wasn’t too bad, a bit more sun would have been better but I can’t complain.

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 Things had been going at a steady pace all day and we thought we were going to get passed by the Sunlight at some stage.  Seeing this pack descend on us, I’d thought they had caught us up.

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This was after the canal crossing with the swing bridge. 

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Don’t know who they are but they didn’t hang around. Steadycam mode seemed to have worked well here. And so it was until the next control point at The Canal Centre.

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It was quite relaxed here. The Sunlight sailed past at 20 mph having to retrace to sign in at the chap under the umbrella.

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For whatever reason Cliff didn’t manage to take a photograph of me here so I don’t appear in any of them today.

There were four of us left for the final leg from Eaton to The Ring of Bells , Janet was riding shotgun with Laurie I think. Myself Cliff Allan and Adelle formed a CTC chaingang on the run back to Waverton, the speed was 19-20 mph and it worked quite well. The Sunlight didn’t catch us, they were having enough problems with punctures and other things. The group size wasn’t in their favour either large groups mean long stops.

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As I had stopped the Garmin at the door of the Ring of Bells that was where my route finished with a bleep and a course complete message on the Garmin. We signed in, received our certificates and were sitting outside drinking tea and chatting about the ride when Janet arrives with The Sunlight in tow. Allan passes commment about it and I was just in time to snatch the above picture.

It was a good end to a good day, Allan said the pace was just right, Adelle found some speed in that new bike of hers and we all have another 100 under our belts. Only one casualty Chris with a broken chain. The Sunlight said they had 6 punctures, somethings amiss there. Thanks all I’ve had another great day.

Discovery Channel rider Steve Cummings training ride.

I’ve been wanting to do this ride since it was published in Cycling weekly a while back. This was the first time I’ve had a chance to do it and it won’t be the last.
It was going to have the title ex 21 Stone Obese Rider completes Olympic Medalist Training ride in 4:16 with the ex in the smallest font possible, but writing it is enough.

I’m going to have to get the original article out as my ride finished at the Eureka but as it was closed due them opening up the new shop I rode on to Ness Gardens for a stop and then home. Weather was perfect  and I’ve really enjoyed myself. The fact that I now look like a Discovery Channel wannabe only added to the occasion.

Thinking about this post and the ride and the impression it made on me I’m going to make it a feature of the site. It’ll be getting a page all of its own. From where I started to be able do this ride is one of highlights of the year. Last year was an amazing year for me and for the past few months I’ve been wondering where do I go from here.
Well this ride is me living the dream.

It started off we me pumping the tyres up on “The Toy” (Trek Madone 5.2 2006 Discovery Channel colours)they were low  and they were a lot better at 120psi.
Pressing start on the Garmin Edge 305 at the top of Resthill had me starting the ride. It has me joining up with Steve,s route at Thorton Hall and then I’m doing it for real.
Today is all about staying in the big ring for me to get my average speed up. Anyway going down Resthill with the tyres pumped up the bike feels like a rocketship and I’m on top form too.

If you ride out to the Eureka via the Missing Link, at the end of Benty Heath Lane you turn left instead of right towards Hooton. This is where the ride is all in virgin territory to save waypoints it’s straight across the lights on the A41. The route is on the road that runs parallel to the M53 past the Vauxhall Social club the surface is that tarred surface with not enough chippings that that is a drag on a bicycle tyre. Next stop Rivacre brook down one side and up the other. The next section is the worst section of the ride if your into scenic views. Motorway and Oil Sites Road are not the best of views  in any ones book.

I spent 23 years at Associated Octel on Oil Sites Road before I took the redundancy package so going past the place is of great significance. I’ve spent half my life there but that was then and this is now. At the end of the road is the turn off for Ince and Elton and I’ve never been this route, it’s not as bad as it is has been painted. Well it was sunny, and I’m having the time of my life. Fastforward past the M56 and to the bottom of Primrose Lane.

This is it, the hardest climb of the route. Not a killer climb but 14% on the Garmin Edge 305. This is the first time I’ve done it, previously we have turned off and gone around the golf course. I stop after the steepest bit for the following picture. Going up the climb I’m determined to dtay in the middle ring but looking down at the rear cassette I’ve still got another gear left. For some reason the indexing is not quite right and I have to hold the lever over to stay in 40×25. This comes back to haunt me on Sundays ride but that is another post.

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I’m suggesting you do this route on your own for the first time to maximise your experience. Just you, your bike and the ride. Once you’ve done it once you’ll want to do it again. It is that good, trust me. Thanks Steve it was a mind blowing  experience for me.

Right at the top, Dugdales has long gone(this isn’t a motorcycle site)and the next stop is the Station Cafe at Delamere Forest. Now I’m still wondering  which way the route is  but once it turns down Dark Ark Lane I feel a bit easier. Once up the hill it is left at the crossroads and then you are in to Delamere. Once you’ve gone under the bridge your on the switchback an rolling climb with a gradient of about 5%. Now I’m feeling good on this ride, probably never been better and glancing down at the Edge the figure of 18mph comes up, unbelievable. Right at the junction and the head down past the lake and the first stop at Delamere station Cafe comes up.

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A pot of tea and a piece of chocolate cake outside in the sun was reward for a great run out. I did a bit of people watching as it was still half term and there was a mixed bunch there. Any way as I was leaving I spoke to Allan and Stan who had rode out there. Allan I’ve met before on a ride out to Kinnerton but his memory isn’t that good or he doesn’t recognise the new me. We spoke about the Edge 305 and he rides alongside me up to the junction to see what I am seeing. Stan I hadn’t met and we talked about what I’d been up to. It seems I’m too young to go on the Vets 100 ride at 47 which is probably just as well as the form I’m in means I take no prisoners.

Steve,s route starts at Gayton roundabout and I’ll be doing the full route from there and doing the loop down to Parkgate to get a definative time This would mean cutting out the climb up Denhall lane but its swing and roundabouts. I ended up doing 71 miles to the routes 64. I think my average of 16.3 on the ride out to Delamere would be up as Gayton to Thornton Hough is all downhill 20mph plus stuff.

 

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For those who never saw the original ride this is a scan of it. You can also get the course and route files from the ride I did from the MotionBased site. The route is going to get tweaked as I added a loop down to the Dee and the climb up Denhall Lane as the Eureka was closed and the second cake stop had to be Ness Gardens. There are one or two points on my  ride that need sorting as I should have took a small shortcut around Oulton Park instead of following the above to the letter. It needs a bit more work on the route and the section at Woodbank where you have to cross the A5117 needs to be resolved  if anyone is going to do the route and claim a time.
As it is you could download the course off MotionBased and race against me as the Virtual Partner on an Edge 205/305. 

More on the ride back later I had two good rides that weekend so bear with me.

Ray will be interested in my navigation errors on the map around Cotebrook and Eaton but I’m blaming Anquet. A5117 closed still. 

Link to Google map of ride

CTC Ride to Utkinton Garden Centre

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We had a slightly delayed start while Alan rips a wheel out of a fixie while said rider goes back to the Eureka for a tube. Now I travel light but still manage to fit two tubes in the bag. The valve had ripped out so couldn’t be repaired. Chester were off to the Ice cream farm which is where I was planning to go tommorow. With me it’s all about  the ride. After a short delay we head out.

Fairly steady on the way out it was past Cheshire Oaks and Stanlow and the off the main roads and into the Cheshire countryside. At Mouldsworth  there was a slight delay while a new bike suffered a problem but it was good to have a blow. Anyway there is always a bit of a challenge in Allan,s rides. Just past Willington corner Allan calls out a left turn with a loud groan coming from the pack. Now I’ve been up this once before and it’s “testing” as we say.

The gradient steepens and I’m soon off the front in 40×23 but I sense company this time. I’ve still got a gear left and it’s just as well I didn’t use it. Gordon who flew past me on a climb 2 weeks ago was trying to to pull the same trick this week as well. This week it didn’t come off. We are off the front  by some way but I sence his prescence and dig a bit deeper. Gordon starts to come alongside but due to the increased effort doesn’t quite make it. There is only half a wheel in it but I maintain the lead for a good  100m, each of us putting a great deal of effort into it. It is the first time I have been tested like this on a climb so thanks Gordon I’d call it 1-1.

Now a year ago I was 6 stone heavier and the above would have been pure fantasy.
I’ve got to admit two old blokes racing each other up a hill in the middle of Cheshire with no prize at the top of it other than kudos does seem a bit riddiculous but that’s the way it is on these rides.  We ride together to the Garden Centre and the others catch us up. Somewhere in all this we had been through Kelsall.

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Now last time I was here it was August 2006 on my first ride with the CTC and everybody got treated. The cafe looks quite smart now and it is reasonably priced. The baked potato with tuna was nearly half what I’ve been charged recently. Two of the Chester road club had made it there and there were other dinners. After a shakey start last year it looks like it’s doing ok. I’d go back again.

Now after we are fed and watered it’s time to set off back home but first there is an incident with a goat and a banana. I don’t make this up. There is a goat in the field of sheep and it’s geting fed a banana. It’s all happening on the left of the picture above.

Now on the route back at Willington corner we turn left an it’s all downhill as they say.Rather than waste a good hill I sprint off the front, I’m touching 30 mph for a good  stretch of this, 25 mph as the bottom end of the range. This gives me enough time to get composed for the picture below. Bob in the red saluting. Good numbers on this ride, there were 12 of us.

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Now I’ve never taken the footpath through Chester Zoo so it was a bit of a surprise, there is a lot of mud an debris further down the track but its not from the zoo. It brings you out at the hump back bridge over the canal. It was back to Backford and across the road  where the Happy eater used to be. There is another opportunity to fly down the hill and get some momentum going up the other side. With a 1/3 to go it’s time to start paddling the lever to match roadspeed to my 80 rpm cadence.

The gated path along the railway line was a fairly slick operation with no holdups there was a short stop at the end and then it was back to the Eureka via Capenhurst. Here we had an incident with a blck Range Rover that got impatient and overtook us all as we were about to turn right into the lane to Ledsham. There we loud shouts from the back not to make the turn. Thanks lads. I had another incident with a silver 4×4 in Willaston where some bastard tried to wing me. There is 2/3 rds of the reg number in my head and you don’t want to get stuck at a junction with me cycling up behind you.

Back at the Eureka it gave me chance to have a chat to Roy and Joan about the ride on Sunday.

CTC Ride Eureka Cafe to Delamere Forest

I’d like to say I’ve pre ridden the route but after a GPS programming error I’ve ridden everything but the route. Friday had me riding 70 miles when I should have rode 50. I know where I went wrong  but it went all went pear shaped at Backford. On the route out I’d only programmed 4 way points into the Garmin out of the 27 Ray sent me.
I’d got lost twice following waypoints left in the Garmin.

I ended up doing Ray’s Lady Heyes route to get to Delamere and I didn’t get there till 2 pm. Cajun chicken baguette and a cup of tea at £1 a cup and I was on the way back. That proved difficult too, the lane from the visitor centre was bad enough but it got worse past  a barrier, mud and puddles had me off the bike in places after nearly falling off. The Yeld is cancelled as getting there is too dangerous. I’ve got something much tougher lined up.

I’ve been down this hill but now it’s time to go up it. It’s Heath Lane off Fishpool Road after crossing the A54. This is eventually going to take us down a 1:10 to Willington Corner and it’s all downhill from there.

18 miles out 21 miles back. More later, got to clean the bike.

Sunday:  Up early, but I’m soon back in as the windshell isn’t going to be up to the weather today. Taking it easy along Route 56 throught Thourton Hough and Willaston. I hit the lights at Hadlow road. As it’s flat to the Cafe I decide to have a little go as some of the Northend are stuck at another set of lights. Next thing I know I’ve been passed by one of them. I’m doing 27 mph !!! and just about to get dropped . The rest are nowhere to be seen . At this pace I had time for my breakfast as always. I set my maximum heartrate for the day staying with this chap. 158 BPM

Now this is the first time I’ve led a ride, there was me thinking I’d a get out of jail card having only joined the CTC last August. Doesn’t time fly when your having fun. Various CTCers are drifting into the Cafe and I’m thinking there were going to be about six of us doing the ride. Janet says there are two new faces doing the ride and for one, Catherine it’s her first ride with the CTC, Andrew rode out for his first time last Sunday.

As we start to assemble outside the heavens open, not a good sign. The overtrousers are donned. Across the road Chris and Cliff are hiding in the bus shelter, not a bad idea but they’ve got their bikes in their with them !. 10:10 and ten of us set off towards Capenhurst, Chris, John, Janet, Bob, Jill, Steve, Cliff, Andrew, Catherine and moi. The Garmin bleeps before the station signaling a right turn. At the end of the lane it was left onto the cyclepath on the A5117. The Newt bypass road construction is really starting limit the route options out of the Eureka.

Single file down Liverpool Road turning off at Backford and down Church Lane which has had the hedge cut. This was as far as I got on Friday before loosing the route. Once over the canal its the climb up the hill at Caughall Manor. Two years ago this was a granny ring on a mountain bike job for me probably stopping at the top for breath. It’s down Fox Covert Lane and over the M53. Ashhey Lane to Picton and onto Mickle Trafford and the A56. Heading out towards Moldsworth  some of the troops are a bit restless and Moldworth Motor Museum is nominated as a water stop.

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Ray informs me the cars are Jowett Javelin,s

We’ve made good time and the Museum isn’t open yet. Next minute one of the above cars turns up. Bob told me what it was but I’ve forgotten. Then like busses another two turn up.  Out of the Museum Rays route has us going up Well Lane followed by Moss Lane, it turns out nobody has ridden this route and it went down quite well.
Further on at Dark Ark Lane Andrew passes me going downhill like he knows where he is going. Which he does, it’s me that doesn’t know where I’m going. A short stop to regroup after the climb to the junction and it is a rolling climb up through the forest along Ashton Road. Right at the junction with Station road and we are at the lunch stop. Some are partaking in the all day breakfast on a baguette at the Station Cafe, the rest of us cycle down to the visitor centre.

As luck would have it I had the last Cajun Chicken baguette which wasn’t bad, comes with a small salad and a cup of tea. If this is what it’s like in winter I can see it being mayhem in the summer. Plenty of mountain bikes around and there is a chap with an owl  under the covered seating outside.

Chap with an Owl.jpgThe group after lunch.jpg

Now the original plan was to go down the track past the above and ride up The Yeld, I actually managed to ride The Yeld on Friday and this time it didn’t seem too hard and yes I did do it in the middle ring. Friday was dry and the path was muddy after a night of rain and showers in the morning only Catherine on mountain bike tyres would have stood a chance.
Plan B which was scouted on Saturday was to carry on, on Station Road past the Abbey Arms towards CoteBrooke but turn up Heaths Lane which is a fairly long climb.
Oh before I forget Barbara and John joined us at the visitor centre, it’s Barbara,s ride to the Candle factory next week.

Now it has to be said some people don’t like hills and I was one of them so I was a bit wary of including this one. It’s the only part of the ride that I’ve put in myself (no Yeld)so you can’t blame Ray if you find it a struggle.

It wasn’t too bad, Andrew kept me company up the first section so would get bonus points if I had been keeping a tally. It turns out that these are his local roads it wasn’t a bad ride up the hill for only his second time out. Stopping part way up so the back of the group can still see the front it was then on again towards the summit. Then the heavens opened, it was time for me to don the overtrousers that had been ditched at Delamere. There is a cafe at the top of the hill that Bob and Jill told me about, I hadn’t noticed it on the recce. It would be a tough climb if you did it from Willington Corner as it’s 1:10.

The descent to Willington Corner had me loosing the light off the back of my bike. Robust little thing as thats twice its dropped off with no damage.Thanks to the woman walking the dog that picked up the pieces. Two left us at Willinton Corner and the rest of us headed of towards Duddon. Across the road and heading towards the Crocky Trail.
No time for the Crocky trail this time Bob, maybe have it down for one of your Wednesday runs. We have a water stop at Waverton admiring the traffic chaos due to poor parking. Its a fairly straight forward run back to Mickle Trafford.

Around Picton Gorse I’m asked what route I’m going back to the Eureka, the plan was to go down the dip at Mollington but I’m told that Catherine was starting to struggle on the hills so it was back up Church Lane. It doesn’t seem as long when you are going up it for some reason. Liverpool Road was busy with the usual fast traffic that it attracts. Stopping at lights and the Old Wirral Hundred pub I have a thought, this pub isn’t old it’s relatively new, the original one is actually in the Wirral, this one is more Cheshire than Wirral. When I was younger I was a member of the Wirral 100 Motorcycle club so seeing this place grates.

The pace  has slowed a bit but we are nearly home Janet  and Chris peel off at Capenhurst to take the Missing Link home, Bob and Jill peel off for their car. So John, Cliff, Catherine and moi make it back to the Eureka for a well earned drink. If I was dishing out prizes one would have to go to Catherine for completing what I would call a Medium Difficulty ride on her first outing. We all know what it is like to ride with mountain bike tyres, a bit like riding through treacle.

If you get to read this Catherine a pair of slick tyres will reduce your effort by about 50% on the flat, you may find the gearing too low eventually. The other thing is you really do need a helmet. I had a fall on Christmas Eve were if I hadn’t been wearing a helmet I think I’d still be in a coma now.

Link to Goggle Map of Ride 

Link fixed  and I’ve spent the last five days trying to edit it. Learnt a lot. 

My thanks go out to those that turned up, and Ray for the route. I’ve got to admit it was an experience leading a ride, so thanks to Janet for nominating me. I had a great day despite the patchy weather. I’d only joined the CTC in August following the three rides rule. Before that I’d been doing my own thing not thinking I was fast enough to ride with a group let alone lead one.

The ride home from the Eureka was much the same as it normally is but past Thornton Hough the road and fields down to Brimstage were bathed in a low sunshine. It was a fitting end to a grand day out.  There are another 10 months left in this year it promises to be another fantastic year.

Stats: 46.4 miles. 2400ft of climbing, 2500 calories burnt Average speed 11.2 mph.

Wait till I program the Steve Cummings training route into the Garmin, it followed parts of this ride and is listed at 63 miles.

 

CTC Ride to The Swan, Kinnerton

This wednesdays ride was to The Swan in Kinnerton and it turned out to be a good three bears type ride, just right. 30 miles in total with a good pub lunch half way around.

Even though I’d prepared the number 2 bike I ended up having to leave the house later than I intended as I couldn’t find the heart rate monitor for the Garmin 305. So it was down Route 56 for breakfast at the Eureka Cafe. It was packed again this week with standing room only, things eased a bit when we started to assemble for our 10 o’clock start.

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We had another new rider join us, Fred. It turned out it wasn’t going to be Freds day more of which later. The ride list reads like this. The two Johns, Barbara, Jill, George, Ray, Fred, Brian, Ruth, Julian, Jake and moi. It was down Woodbank  to the lights on the Welsh Road, A5117 junction which appeared to be stuck. We soon joined the cycleway at Convatec following the route around to the railway bridge Dee crossing. Left after the bridge, along the Dee and we are soon in Shotton.
It,s weird riding up the road with the church at the end of it, I have this target fixation on the large white cross on it. Not to the last minute do you see the path to the side of the church.

We climbed up towards Ewloe past a gaudy pink painted bungalow which had a matching pink Nissan Micra on the drive to boot. The ride came to a stop when we lost Fred off the back. A taxi driver stopped to tell us he had a puncture.

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Once this was sorted it was up the hill towards Hawarden. Right at the T junction enjoying the freewheel down the hill before the inevitable hill. This week I didn’t miss the turn up the lane and had a good workout going up the hill. I’d enough time to get some pictures of the group coming up the hill, so heres one of them.

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Barbara always beats John (on the right) up the climbs. Thought I would throw another one in as I don’t seem to have all that many action shots on the site. After this it was over the footbridge across the dual-carriage way. Then right then left. The map shows the route. We ended up going past some farm where a bloody terrier chased me on another ride. Thats what you get when you ride at the back. I wasn’t at the back for long.
It’s nice riding around Kinnerton and after circular tour we ended up at the lunch stop, The Swan.

The Swan.jpg
This turned out to be a really good lunch stop, like the week before there were more than 20  of us who rode out there. I think there were about 4 other customers in there. I was one of the first in there but one of the last to order, another mistae I won’t make again.
I ended up ordering a Salmon with cottage cheese and chives baguette which is pictured below.
I met Linda (I think) in the Eureka Cafe after the ride and she was looing for a place to take her father for lunch. This should give you an idea of what it was like.

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All the meals looked really well presented. I was more than happy with what I had all washed down with a diet Coke. I shared a table with John, Ruth and Julian  discussing various thing like dieting, this website. I was asked for two of my cards so it looks like I will have to get some more printed. I ended up giving out as many cards out as Fred had punctures, three!

No ride is complete without a puncture picture.jpg

It was a short climb up the hill once out of the pub car park, the garmin logging the ascent all day. It was all downhill from there, a small climb the only thing of note near the Airbus factory. I sped off down the road so as to be in position for some more pictures.
Then it was across the footbridge and up the lane to the junction at the top.  Fred picked up another puncture around Blacon. I had another look at Georges chainset, this is the ultimate compact chainset IMHO, more like a granny ring and a big ring combined. He goes well on this combo and I mean well. For those that don’t know him George is 72, flies down hills and has the beating of me in him if I drop my guard.

We crossed the A5117 with remarkable ease, no gully where the central reservation was last week, just  Mr Macadams finest. Another sprint up Woodbank to get some pictures at the finish and it was all over.
Ride Stats: 30.75 miles. 1244 ft climbed. Punctures 3. Black cats 1. Newt sightings 0. Calories burnt 1824. Averge speed 12mph. Max speed 28.1 mph.  Pub rating 5/5.

Another great day, thanks everybody. A couple of more pictures to post and I’m sorting out a link to the route map.

Link to Google map of CTC ride to The Swan (Kinnerton)

Comments welcome.