CTC Chester and North Wales 50 Mile Tourist Trial Sunday 16th March 2008

I rode this event last year and surprised myself by being first back. Now I wasn’t expecting the same this year far from it. I’ve had this nagging doubt that I’ve been overtraining probably just nerves as I had such a good year last year.

This year there were 108 entries which is a fair bit up on last year. I’m in the tenth group to go off which means the ones that started first have 50 minutes on us. Everybody seems to hate the climb straight out of the scouthut. It’s not that hard but it does sort everyone out right at the start.

I’ve got gear problems from the new chain I fitted last night, it’s jumping about all over the place and stuck in a low gear I end up going off the front with Phil from the Chester Road Club in tow. I’m just trying to gain a bit of time to sort it out.

Once at the top it’s big ring stuff to 5 ways and the Mile Road. Phil and I have started to pick off riders that started earlier as it’s still a fast pace. Chris is by the side of the road in a bus shelter fixing a puncture. He still has the hill at Marford to climb and hasn’t got much chance of catching his group.

Phil and I pick off a few more going to Borras and the first control. This gives me the chance to sort the gears out while Phil has his sheet signed. The next section to Farndon is fast and last year we had passed half the entry by this point. Not so this time as the field is larger and more spread out. Gave us time to sort ourselves out wile crossing the bridge. A good turn of speed over the bridge gives you momentum on the climb on the other side. The Edge is doing it’s job, Phil is having a few problems with his but he is riding off Ray’s route.

Next up we come across a group with Roy and Joan in it with Andy. There is a bit of banter as we are either slow or they are quicker as we had passed them by Farndon  run in last year. The control point had been moved a few miles along but it wasn’t a problem. That’s the trouble with GPS, it’s accurate to 9 feet, shift a control point and your buggered. This years ride went pretty well.

A bit further on after the second control point we latched on to Allans group. These are handy guys. One of them stuck with us. Phill lost something but we caught the other guy up .Next stop was  Overton and although we missed the turn the mileage was the same.

Signing in Bob is prompting me for a 3 and 1/2 hour finish time?. Hadn’t thought about it but it seemed do-able.

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Not too many pictures this year, the second one is Ray Guy and Martin at the serving hatch. Despite going like bats out of hell we had only managed to put ten minutes into them.The time is above them. We passed the couple on the tandem further down the road an they weren’t hanging around. The last one is of Phil, managed to stick with him most of the time when I wasn’t on the front he sure does know how to push.
The low battery warning on the camera started flashing so it got put away.

There were fairly strong headwinds on the way back with the next section to Bangor on Dee being strong due to it’s open nature.

Saw some other riders still riding to the control including Roy and Joan again.
Didn’t put the extra mile in this year as I had programmed in the turn to Farndon, last year I was heading off to Churton.

The run to Rosset was straight, exposed and could have been better once we had crossed the main road we came to a T junction where we had a wrong turn. The Edge soon showed it up and we only went off course by about 200 yards. With 3 miles to go it was worth looking at the ETA and as the pace was constant it proved very accurate. With a mile to go another pair of riders appeared on the horizon so the pace was upped. We needn’t have bothered as they wern’t on the ride.
At the scouthut it looks like the control wasn’t open as the door was closed. Going inside the control was open and the sheet duly signed. 3 hours 5 minutes for the 50 miles including the stop. Average speed 17.7 mph according to the Edge.

Rode home via the Eureka for another good day.

Audax Cheadle to Radway.

A new ride for me this year but Ray rode it last year. The weapon of choice was the Toy and if I’d had any sense I’d have fitted the raceblades but that’s in hindsight.
A belt of rain was forecast and I was hoping to avoid it.
Clothing is dilemma at this time of the year, overdress and you fry, under dress and you freeze. Throw in some rain and it can make for a miserable ride.

Turned out to be a good ride with Ray, Martin, Phil and moi riding together again. All using GPS with Ray’s route programmed in. We had a slight detour and I managed to drop my overtrousers that would be needed later. Soon back on course though.

Now we hitched a ride on the back of group of fast guys. There was a steady headwind  and these guys were up for it. The average speed went up and it was just like a club run. Strong guys on the front setting a good pace.


We did pass Jodrell Bank and I did get a picture on the move but it mainly consisted of an overgrown hedge. It was good to see all the same. The digital camera doesn’t like looking into the sun. First stop was the first checkpoint which is the third picture. Time for a bite to eat  and a sip of energy drink.

Our group gets split by a set of traffic lights so I ease off the back of the front group to remain with them. Getting back on to the main group takes some doing and it takes a while if not a set of traffic lights to rejoin.

It starts to fall apart again on a hill. I manage to bridge the gap that was forming to the lead pair. The group is well split but once crested they know they have split the group and I opt for a stop for a picture.


Ray in the Hi Viz, Martin in red and don’t know who the guy in blue is. Probably the highlight of the ride for me, had a good go on a climb. Things went well until the next control point. The weather that we were hoping to miss hit us, not before I took two pictures at the control point


Nice place, the landlord of the pub even offered us in and that was after the rain had started. No mudguards meant I was in for a soaking, the Sealskinz socks held out as I had no overshoes but the hands took the brunt of it. Had retrace my steps as it became obvious that the rain wasn’t going to pass and it was best to don wet weather gear if you had any.

The next section isn’t fun as I’ve not brought along the right gloves. The BBB winter gloves are not waterproof and being fleecy act like a sponge. My hands are freezing and I contemplate dropping off the back to warm them. Luckily the next info point comes up and by this time the rain has stopped.

Had a near miss at the rail crossing, I’d parked my bike on a lamppost at the level crossing as we needed a number off the post box a few feet away. Next minute there is a bleeping and the barriers starts to come down. I whip the toy out of the way with seconds to spare as the barrier would have chopped the toy in two.

Next thing an Intercity Express train passes at around 120 mph, it doesn’t bear thinking about the speed it passes by. Got a bit of warmth back into my fingers and the next section isn’t too bad. Ray has pencilled us in for a stop at a Tesco mini supermarket rather the garage or KFC.

Going back to Audlem the staff at the Coop are getting used to us invading them for till receipts. Soreen malt loaf for lunch (a whole one) with a large Lucozade sport to top the bottle up with. The rain has made a handy cyclist splashing puddle right where we are congregating. It didn’t happen but we had at least two barstewards sounded their horn at us on the ride. One idiot in an Audi was even coming the other way.

Back to the ride, we had lost Derek by this stage as he has tagged along with us on the last Cheadle ride. Ray pushes a high gear and I mean high, I followed him up one climb and he went up it in 52X12 or 13. I’m assuming 12 because he’s in it all day.
Phil on the other hand says he feels like a prat spinning away on the new Ultegra Compact groupset he has fitted. I make no bones about it if I need to go into the granny ring I will. On the longer steep climbs I have been overtaken by riders pushing 39X25 only to re pass them further on near the summit. Don’t get me wrong I’m still in the red but the lower gearing at least allows me some acceleration in a situation like this where normally (every other club run) I would not be able to  respond.

The run in to Cheadle isn’t too bad and I do my stint on the front. There is no rain now and the roads are drying so someone can take my mudguardless wheel. There is one part where I sprint off the front downhill because it is a waste of a good hill if you don’t carry that momentum up the other side.

The route back takes us through some of the quieter (better) area’s of  Cheadle but you are continually reminded of how close this is to the Manchester airport flight plan. The jets can’t be more than 100 metres above us but it still an impressive sight. The frequency is about one a minute when they are landing in your direction.

There is a good spread at the finish with some hot tomato soup that goes down well.

Northend Ride to Hideaways Cafe.

This is the second time of writing so I hope to get it published this time.
Eureka is full of Northenders on their Saturday rides. There are about three rides leaving the cafe and I opt to ride with the fast group.
This means I’ve got to chase the group as they stop for no-one, not een me taking pictures. I’d just about got on the back by Woodbank. Others had gave up and opted for another group.
I just had to post the fourth picture as it is a shot of the Northend at a red traffic light. Nothing too unusual in that but the number of times the front rides thru on green and the tail gunners get dropped by a red light happens to often.
Anyway I got dropped for taking the pictures. Later on I got dropped again and lost cintact with the group. It came together again at Buckley when the group rode across  a set of traffic lights I was coming up to. I was in if it’s a hill it must be on the route mode.
Now there some tough climbs on this route. There was on by the hall with the white gates that was steep. I was in the granny ring and Tempo and Chicago passed me only for me to pass them back further up the hill. Needless to to say I was in the red but thats the way I cycle. It’s about the only time it happened for the rest of the time I was off the back.
18% kept cropping up on some of these gradients which is seriously step.

The climb up to Hideaways Cafe is 18% in parts and just gets rougher as it goes up. Once you leave the mettled section it is just limestone but worth it. The pictures at the cafe don’t do justice to the beauty of the area.The best shot would have been when we left the cafe but I couldn’t afford the time loss.


The cafe managed with our numbers bespite being overloaded at first. We were the only customers.Pancakes for a few of us went down very well. Apple and Bannana pancake went down really well.

I took the ride down from the cafe steady as it is rough. Needless to say I was last. The worrying thing was a Labrador choose to chase me down the road at a great rate of knots. The hippychick owner having no control of the animal.

That was about it I was well and trully dropped, even at 30 mph at Loggerheads I was falling behind. I just latched on to Peter and Clive at Mold but they were off the back too. It was a fast trip down Ewloe hill turning off through Queensferry and GardenCity. Once up Woodbank we were sorted. Cafe and home via the missing link.
Great day even when you don’t think they will turn out like this.


A Mere Century Audax

This was my first Audax last year with the route the same as last year. Ray sent me the GPX file for the Garmin Edge and also sent it to Martin who has a Garmin Etrex Vista from memory.

Link to Google map of ride 
I met up with the team for the ride Ray, Martin and Phil. I’d ridden with Phil when the Toy broke on Roys ride to Ruthin many moons ago. The first picture contain Sheila Simpson who has ridden Paris-Brest-Paris a record 7 times. PBP is a 1200Km event puts my little jaunts into perspective. The chap on the trike get around and features later on in the ride.

We had a good little group going for us from the start including the ride organiser.
Phil dropped hus lock out of his bag around Manchester Airport and had to play catch up. Which he did. The plan was to take a picture of all the Mere,s well that plan got ditched after the first Mere. I’d stopped to take a picture and that was it I was off the back good style. No pictures of Great Budworth as I was still way off the back.

I didn’t get back on to the group untill the bridge crossing followed by the sharp climb up. Then Phil lost his lock out of his bag again and this time Ray stopped but Martin went with the others. We were split.


Delamere was taken on the move as was the picture of Phil and Ray.  
We had taken Rays quiet car free route only to bump into a car coming the other way.
Before the last two pictures we had an incident with a black Mercedes van giving us the horn and nearly taking Ray out. Really uncalled for, I wish there is a tree with his name on it. We sign in at the control and I take a trip to the visitor centre.

Once back, Martin has turned up so we are a team again.
The next section takes in some of the Steve Cummings training ride and is perhaps the flattest part of the ride. We are making good time here with Ray pushing that big ring style of his. He’s on compass mode but doesn’t realise we are doing 18-20 mph.

Next up Phil takes his turn on the front with me. The pace is still the same but it starts to slowly rise up a bit. A chap in blue has joined us on our wheel , anyway the pace is too fast and we still have a long way to go. I look behind and we have dropped everybody, at Audlem the chap says to Ray “you’ve got some fast mates in your group”.  This stint allows us to close up on two Southport Cycle club riders who are doing about 15 mph. It’s a steady pace and we stay with them to Audlem where there is no room in the control point Cafe so we take a trip to the Co-op.

Throughout the ride we passed and are repassed by Steve, a bigish guy who is ridding on his own. It happens 4 or 5 times, we stop because something has fallen off a bike I had a stop to pick up overtrousers. Phil lost his lock twice, Martin dropped his pump. Only Ray emerged unscathed.


The idea is to maintain a 15 mph average on the final section, I’m riding shotgun and it seems to work well. The hills around Alderley Edge don’t seem as fierce this year and in reality they aren’t .

Aston Martin territory this and we are indeed passed by one.


We  were within the last ten miles of the ride and it was litterally all downhill. another  great ride, soup at the fiish was most welcome. Home via a delayed M56 and a hot bath.

Ride Around Britain's Coast

Dave sent me this link about a ride around Britain’s coast that Cycling Weekly are developing.

  Dave has already submitted the Wirral section so I’ve promised to give it a go.
There is bound to be more at a later date as the route takes shape.
Good onya Dave and thanks for the link.

Discovering Shropshire Audax.

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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


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

Guy Unknown RiderChester Road Club in formationLast one

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

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

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

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

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

Link to Google Map of Ride

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


Steve Cummings Training Ride 5

As you may have guessed this is the fifth time I’ve done this ride. The major change is that I now start and finish it at the pelican crossing in Brimstage. Many because I’ve moved and you won’t be seeing a start and finish on RestHill for a while.

Nice sunny start to the ride and I’m at Benty Heath Lane for 9 o’clock.  Stopped for a gel before the climb up Primrose Lane and took a picture or two on Dark Arc Lane and the Switchback which I’ll post when I can get them compressed to fit on the page.

Dark Arc Lane.JPGLooking back towards the bridge.JPG

just a word about Dark Arc, it’s steep, dark, potholed and potentially dangerous. Now the leaves are starting to fall it’s going to get worse so be warned. From the road junction at the top the surface deteriates towards the edge so you want to be in the middle of the road. Then it steepens to 1 in 8 where it goes through overhanging trees. Leave your sunglasses off or you won’t see the potholes.
You could be doing 30 mph at this point trying to maximize your speed for the inevitable climb up the other side.

At the bottom of the hill is a slight bend which is blind from the position you are in. The law of averages says your going to meet a vehicle coming the other way one day so stick to your side of the road. I meta white van once coming the other way and there is no reaction time at all. Given that you’ve kept your speed up  and dropped into the right gear for the climb you should be able to use your momentum to reach the railway bridge no problem.

After that it is about 100 yards to the crossroads where we turn left with a picnic area on the right. This is taking us through Delamere Forest on a section of road known as the Switch back.  It’s a rolling climb where if you attack it you end up cliombing really quickly. After an initial steepish climb you hit a section where the dips allow you to increase your speed for the next section  and so on. Once youve done the final one you could be doing high 20,s into the village.

The switchback.JPG

Right at the crossroads and carry on untill you hit the railway bridge and the first stop at the Station Cafe.

Cakestop at the Station cafe.JPG

The Station Cafe is famed for it’s all day breakfasts. It’s not something I touch these days but I do like a bit of cake. The cakes on offer at the Cafe are super and come with cream if you want it. Victoria sponge above was good but the chocolate cakes have been “Historic” as Michael Winner says.

Heading out of the cafe it is up the road and past the Abbey Arms. Another place where you yould struggle if on a diet. 17 inch dinner plates don’t help. I was going through to Cotebrooke but the road was up again. This time there is no chance of sqeezing through so I have to retrace and go down the road and pick the route up at Oulton Park. The next section is all slightly downhill with a detour to the Ice Cream Farm for a spot of lunch. Before reaching the Ice Cream Farm the traffic is halted by a pair of swans and their young crossing the road. I’ll up load the picture when I can but they took ages.

Swans crossing.JPGWith youngsters in tow.JPGThe Ice Cream Farm.jpeg
Mind you I wouldn’t want to argue with them. Ice cream farm looks nice with all the flowers in bloom and I ended up with a turkey and cranberry sauce baguette. The next section of the ride takes you back to the Eureka Cafe where I ended up spending more than an hour and a half talking to Andy and Dave. Turned off the Cester high road at Puddington and went down to the marsh as I was putting Denhall Lane into the climb. Cake stop at Ness Gardens if you want, If the Eureka is closed you could stop here instead. Cake is good but not as good at the Station Cafe.

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Turning down Church Lane just before Neston takes you behind the Church and avoids Neston cross. There are a fair few having an ice cream from the post office.
I get passed going up the hill to the Chester High Road. I suspect he had  come out of the road near the bend. Still it’s near the end of the ride. Once round Gayton roundabout it’s down Brimstage Road to my finishing point at the pelican crossing.

Link to Google Map of Ride

More later …..pics and route etc.

Wild Wales Challenge the ride.

What a day, I’ve been building up to this for a while and the weather forecast looked good. It was a bit cold early on as I was packing the bike into the car so I opted for armwarmers for the start of the ride. With 600 riders to book in things were busy at the start. I still hadn’t got anyone to ride with and there were clubs there from far and wide.

The Northend and the Sunlight were looking for a fast time to knock Macclesfield Wheelers off the fastest club so they were out. As it was I ended up going with some CTC riders I’ve ridden with on events before.

First picture is of my riding buddies for the day, second is Peter who led last wednesdays Northend Ride. Pace and Big Phil are the two Sunlight riders. The final picture is of the group going out of Bala. The chap in blue we aren’t going to see much of today as he is about to get dropped off the back as it steepens up only to collect a puncture. Cliff has all the luck but all of it bad. 

We do a fair bit of climbing on good roads out of Bala before we turn off to the left. This is taking us to the turn that the route says Engage a low gear. They meant it. People are in trouble right from the turn. Falling off, grinding to a halt, going back down the hill to start again. My lowest gearing is 30X27 and I needed it. Some are already walking and there are a couple of tandems that are on the climb.I meet graham and vicky at the first control on their tandem. It’s a good start so here are some more pictures.

The last two pictures of Allan are on bike shots. Before that Peter is in the middle of the other riders, a bit further on he is giving assistance  to the Sunlight. Once back on the main road it’s a chance for groups to reform before climbing up to the summit and entering Powys. This gives Chris and I a chance to test our legs passing some but getting passed by others like the Macclesfield Wheelers.

From the summit it is a very fast descent to Llangynog where the turn is catching a few out. This takes us off the main road and down a lane along the valley.

DSCF3177.jpgDSCF3178.jpgDSCF3180.jpgThe first control

Took a fair number of pictures on this ride and it was just the usual suspects. The chap in the Gan shirt was riding at around our pace and likewise the Northend chap. We had a fast memorable descent into the village from this junction. I just had to stop to take a picture as I wasn’t getting enough of the scenery. Next up was a drink stop at a garage shop that was getting a steady stream of cyclists. Allan tells theme there are around 600 to follow.

Phil and Gary are the two Sunlight riders here. Chris is inspecting his bike for another chain problem. He suffered a DNF on the Cheshire Cycleway ride with a snapped chain.

One the next stretch is a steady climb that eventually ends at Carno. I get talking to a chap on an old Peugot. He’s a runner and is doing the event on his own as the chap that put him up to it didn’t turn up. His entry cost more than his £12 bike. Going well for a first timer, really well. There was also a Mountain biker at the start who had never ridden more than 50 miles, I don’t know how he fared.

DSCF3192.jpgDSCF3193.jpgPeter certainly gets aroundDSCF3196.jpgDSCF3198.jpgDSCF3200.jpgDSCF3201.jpgDSCF3203.jpg

There’s that guy in the Gan top again. Any of the Sunlight care to name the chap on the Mountainbike?. Final control before the Bwlch y Groes was just timed right  with a chance to catch up with other riders.

After the control we are heading out to the main event of the day, part of cyclings folklore the climb of the Bwlch y Groes.  You know what they say about women and Maps, it isn’t true. On the turn that takes us to the right of the valley is a women calling the Macclesfield Wheelers (some of them) back down the hill. The Garmin has been calling the turns to great effect, faultlessly in fact. It’s a really nice stretch of the ride. I’m taking it easy as I don’t know what to expect all I know its 1000 ft straight up.

The ride up to the start of the Blych y GroesAllan and ChrisJust before the start of the climbZooming in at the start of the climb

Allan and Chris had gone gone on before me as they were descending quicker today and I wanted to get the pictures. You ride through the trees up a 25% gradient to a turn where it all starts. This turn was programmed in to the Garmin as XXXX and sure enough it bleeps and I know I’m in for a hard time.

At the start it isn’t too bad at 10% and I get to take the next picture on the climb!

On bike shot of the Blych y Groes You still don’t know what is before you from this picture but once your around the next bend you will be stunned by what you see. A climb that just goes on and on getting steeper towards the top.

There are Sunday leisure drivers going up and down the hill which spoils the climb for a few riders as once you stop it is nigh on impossible to restart on a steep gradient.  Two cars slowly passing each other nearly spoil it for me and a chap whose wheel I am on but an urgent call to  ******* move from him sees them pass but it was incredibly close.

I come up upon Allan walking and ask if he is OK, he is but has been baulked by two cars passing. It takes the shine off the climb for him but it was 20% plus where he was forced to step off. I’ve only got one speed when it comes to climbing and this climb has me maxed out. My heartrate is 170 bpm plus and the climb is about to get steeper. Reaching the Armco is a goal in itself and I don’t want to be a repeat of last year. A girl stops too and I say ” I’m not walking not this far up” and she is of the same mind. We have done most of the climb but the kick up in gradient is just too much. Once the heartrate comes down to something normal I set off again. I used it as an opportunity to take some pictures. Clipping in on a 20-25% gradient can only be done if you ride across the road. The trouble is it’s only 10-12ft wide at this point and there is the risk of a fall if it doesn’t come off.

\Made it this far!But there is still this to climb!Chris on the BlychChap I passed further down the climb

Well the move comes off and I’m back on my way. The cleat went straight into the Keo,s. I get up to where there is a chap cheering everybody on at the steepest part of the climb. On the bend after I am forced to stop again, 180 BPM and it’s probably wise to stop for a minute than blow up totally. I’m within sight of the summit and was offered a restart from a chap who was on the bend watching us all struggle. I said I was ok and managed to  get in the clip again. Not as smooth as last time but I was in.

The final section had me hitting a max for the day of 183 BPM, this is as hard as it gets and there are a group of riders at the top watching the other come up the climb. You do feel you have accomplished something when you get to the top.

Andy sent some pictures of me on the climb that I’m going to cherish for a long time, thanks Andy.

\DSCF3214.jpgDSCF3215.jpgThe Northend at the summit of the BlychDSCF3217.jpg

\P1000525.JPGP1000526.JPGMoi at the top of the Blych y Groes

It was the highlight of the ride and you want to stop just to see what you have done.
The whole day has been a fantastic experience and it’s not over yet. There is a descent to do and then the final climb of the Hirnant. At the bottom there is a sharp uphill section that registered 31% on the Edge but it soon fell back and although it is a higher altitude than the Bwlch y Groes it didn’t feel like it at all. Maybe it’s because the gradient tapers off towards the top.

\It’s all downhill back to the finish which is just as well as your done with climbing hills. Heading towards the sports centre the Edge give one last bleep “Route complete” and that was it ride over. Handing your card in for signing off your rewarded with a hefty lumps of slate with Wild Wales Challenge 2007 on it, I don’t think it’s going to be my last.

 Peter makes it back to the finishDSCF3219.jpg

The weather has been kind and made for a memorable ride for all the right reasons. It’s a credit to the CTC and the Merseyside DA. Just remember to get your entry in early to get a ride.

Link to Google Map of Ride opens in new window.

Link to MotionBased map player includes all the ride data. Scary stuff.


The Edge has me Burning 7000 calories on the ride and I was a kilo lighter the next day. 88.6 miles 10,300ft of climbing. One of the highlights of the year. I thought I had a good year last year but this is proving to be even better.

31Aug07 Links repaired to ride map and Motionbased player

Wild Wales Challenge Route

I’ve got my entry back for the Wild Wales and this is a link to the ride route that is going into the Edge.


I’ve only used 42 points so far and I’ll be adding some more over the next couple of days. At present I will be doing it as a Route and not a course. I don’t really want to spend the whole ride looking down at the map to see if I’m still on course.
I’m quite surprised that you can do a 90 mile ride on 42 points. The start of the Bylch y Groes gets a XXXX waypoint all of its own.

I’ve a feeling this is going to be a popular post so if your looking to program the route into your Edge for the first time you need to download and save the GPX file from the link.

You then need to export it to your Garmin with GPSBabel. Use the Tutorial for the settings but clear out (delete) any waypoints and Routes first.
I learnt about this event when I joined the CTC last year and this is my first opportunity to ride it. Everyone thats ridden it says how tough it is. The Tour of The Berwys Audax covered parts of the route around Bala so I’ve an idea what I’m letting myself in for.

24 Aug 07  IMPORTANT  22:15 I’ve added more waypoints to the route. Quite a few have picked up the first draft which I think is rideable. The extra points are there for confirmation mainly. Latest  route has 72 points.

25 Aug 07 19:45 The FINAL route has been uploaded to Marengo with 79 waypoints.  If your going to update your Edge  delete ALL the waypoints first and then delete the Route WW07 . If you overwrite your existing gpx file you wont have to alter your GPSBabel settings.

Northend ride to Llangollen

I felt good riding out to the Eureka for breakfast and it had the making of a fine day. It was a toss up between going out with the CTC or go out with the Northend. Most are agreed that I need to be going out with a faster group.

I talked to Dave who was on a borrowed bike. He had a coming together with his wife and his Colnago is broken with a snapped seatstay. Expensive.

I also bumped into Graham who has commented on here before I went out with the Northend.

It was a bit stung out at the start with two groups going down Woodbank. With two rides to choose from I opt to go with Peter on what turns out to be the hilly ride. It’s a bit quicker pace than the other group and there are 6 of us in it.

What Peter doesn’t know about rides in Wales isn’t worth knowing. It was a decent run into Wales through Ewloe and Buckley. Once past  Pen-y-Stryt things start to get rather scenic and steep. One of the group leaves for Llandegla. There has been a fair bit of climbing so far but once you reach the top the views are stunning.

The scenery is a feature of this ride. If you like Welsh hills and countryside this is a good ride within reach of the NorthWest.

DSCF3115.jpgThe Northend.jpgMoi and the Northend.jpgOur Ride.jpg

Double click on the thumbnails to enlarge.

The views are stunning around here, from here it drops down to the River Dee. Part of this descent was down a dark lane of overhanging trees. It was here the sunglasses meant slowing down as I couldn’t see the road surface properly. We follow the road down into Llangollen where we find the Cafe we are scheduled to stop at closed on Wednesday.  We relocate to a Cafe opposite the toilet block by the carpark. It wasn’t too bad a stop, beans on toast for me  and the we get our water bottles filled. Not a bad little place, it can’t take big numbers mind you but we’ve been to worse.

Once we had left we stopped at a shop we a name about 80 letters long in Welsh.
Dave, who is American by the way gets a transalation by a Welshman whose name I have forgoten. It was an amusing translation. Ok we’ve rested but the next stretch is hard with a capital H. First off is the climb after the bridge. This is steep right from the off but worse is to come. It’s all in the route profile but there are sections of this climb that are between 20-34% and that is steep. I’m sure I saw 37% flash up and that is a new high for me. This is granny ring stuff and you must have a fit granny.

One of a pair of large walkers asks me for lift up a steep bit, not a chance. Once past the farm Queen Victoria stayed at it is the up to the ford.

We stop for a blow at the ford, a few cars go past along with a few 4X4’s full of kids. Everyone tells me how steep the next section is so I take my sunglasses off. I want to see this for real. Not wanting to get the Carbon Fibre Nike’s wet I opt to ride across the ford. Well I was second across and nearly ended up on my arse. The rear wheel was spinning  out on the algae or moss. this was scary stuff as the others looked on. And then it was on to the climb, not too bad at first but then it steepens up. Through the trees it gets steep and a half, the two Daves pass me on this stretch.

The next bit is a bit surreal. This is nearly as steep as it gets and we are going up it. Then Victor Meldrew comes up behind us in his poxy Ford Fiesta tooting his horn. This chap gives pensioners a bad name and should have his license taken away, whats more he shakes his fist at us as he drives past Dave. An absolute moron. Only to get baulked by young David. Hope his wife is deaf as he got from two of us.

If your a ride write up reader lots goes on in these rides that doesn’t get written up. We are after all spending many hours with each other. Just getting to the Ford was steep enough and the section after that was really steep. It’s a rolling section to Minera with a steep downhill section.

We stop to regroup at the Minera junction, chat about the climb and chill out.  A mountain biker comes down the slope at 30 plus and piles straight through the junction with five of us looking on. No Fear. Either that or he sussed out the road was clear from up above.

The next section is to Cefn-y-bedd and it eventually crosses  the A55 at Dobshill with the eventual climb up to Harwarden. The next section see,s the group split, traffic is a bit a busy and various riders loose sight of each other.

Well I’m on my own again this time for at least the third time. The route back is much the same. Once back at the cafe I bump into Andrew who has downloaded the Wild Wales Route. There are a few out there that have already downloaded the Wild Wales Route. I may be adding a few points in the next few days but I think they will only be confirmation points. Just to confirm your on the right route on some of the tricky sections.By all accounts there are a lot of people out there that haven’t got entries that will be riding anyway.

At the end of the ride in the run into the Eureka Ray comes up to my back wheel and says “Carbon Shoes?” and scares the shit out of me as I didn’t know he was there. First time I have seen his new toy, a Trek Madone 5.9 SL. It looks the part in black. I’ve picked up a lot from Ray over the last year and I would class him as a mentor  in my recent cycling life. The route planning I owe to him. The understanding about Basal Metabolic Rate and a whole host of other Lifestyle enhancing techniques and functions I owe to Ray.

Pacing yourself on a ride such as an Audax, I’m still learning this off Ray. I’m sorry but you can’t pick up the gems that I have learn’t over the last year by riding with a group or club such as the North End. The pace of the racing based clubs is just too fast for newcomers to pick up in a few rides. It has been a great experience riding with the CTC for the last year and the rides have been the best I’ve done or likely to do.

For God,s sake don’t get some perceived perceptions about the CTC from reading the likes of this site. It is an organisation full of helpfull, selfless people. Some you could call quirky but a jolly good bunch in all. If your wondering where you are in the scheme of things the CTC ride at about 13 mph average  on the flat.  Club riders are about 17 mph plus. You’ll get a lot more help should you encounter a problem from the CTC than you would from any club, this particually goes for women.  Should you be able to keep up with the pace.

Racing biased clubs are not female friendly at all, it’s quite a step for first timers to do a CTC ride when they don’t realise quite what they have let themselves in for. There is a social/networking side to the CTC that the racing clubs just can’t capture. 

Back home to a session on the scales which has me at 81.6 Kg a new low. I’ve a Lifestyle and Weight Management Followup class to attend.

Throughout the ride the two Daves are sprinting for village signs with old Dave getting beaten on all but one I gather. He is hampered !!! on a loaned Carbon Fibre bike with full Dura-ace. Every time he gets beaten on a climb its because he has 39 x 21 on the cassette. If it’s not the cassette it’s young Davids weight. Wild claims of 60 Kg including the bike get bandied about. All in good fun. Age might have something to do with it too. David is waiting for GCSE results.

Link to Google Map of Ride

Link to MotionBased Player of Ride

MotionBased gives you my data for the rides. If you download the course (crs) you will be competing against me. The elevation metrics are real. On the climb up to the ford I can see my heartrate as 101%  and anything more than 80% is in the hilly territory. Don’t forget my metrics are for a 48 year old bloke who is relatively new to all this. A couple of time trials and the TLI events dosn’t  make me a racer.
For me to see 101% effort means it was a tough climb.

I’m now trying to make these ride write ups as appealing as I can to a broad cross section of internet browsers.  Given that I started from such a low level, I’m really pleased how things have come on. I’m under no illussions that I have reached the top of the tree because although it might be a personal best for me it might be someone elses off day.

With around a 100 people a day visiting the site through various Google searches I do feel motivated to keep up what I am doing. That’s 3,000 a month, 36,000 a year that have come across my recent story. It is powerfull life changing stuff.

I’ve been called Mr Motivator by two separate individuals in the last week and I did wonder what it was all about. The first was from one of the girls a the spinning classes about the calories I had burnt and the site, the second was at the Lifestyle and weight management followup class. Basically I keep going back to the followup classes once a month even though my programme has finished to keep me on track.
If I don’t go back once a month I’d be a medical statistic rather than someone who has turned his life around.

Covered a fair bit in this post which started out as a North End ride. I’ve been doing this for a year and 99.9 % has been positive.  For me it is a form of online diary, if your name makes the pages I’m not going to forget it. One of the most enlightening things is how much this has increased the circle of people I know and more so people that know me but I haven’t met yet.

Ok, enough rambling, it’s the Wild Wales on Sunday. Guaranteed to give me a challenge. Haven’t got anyone to ride with yet but sure to hook up with someone.