With the acquisition of a Garmin 205 the much awaited re-run of the Cheshire Cat was on the cards. Now the Garmin is a simple device - it does not come with any maps nor can you buy or load any. What you do get besides the usual normal bike computer info - speed, distance, laps etc is a gps device that partnered with a route planner such as Bikehike is great for giving you enough basic info in order for you to navigate your route. You get an icon that represents you in the middle of the screen and a black line that represents your route, put your icon on the black line, follow the line and you are on course. Simple.
Anyway with the Garmin loaded with the 66mile route we (me & Phil) set off from Knutsford heading south. Nothing to report for the first 20 miles just flat roads all the way. Stopped for a banana and a photo a couple of miles away from 'Mount Doom' then with some trepidation we set off to do some hill conquering. Approaching the level crossings that marks the start of the so called 'killer mile' we were psyched up for the climb only to be stopped in our tracks by the barriers being down. A couple of minutes later we set off again. The road starts to ramp up fairly quickly after the level crossing then its nearly three quarters of a mile with gradients of around 10 to 15% with no letup.
The last time I rode Mow Cop I walked but this time I was determined to beat it, and beat it I did. A steady climbing pace got me to the really hard bit. On the 25% gradient by the pub there was a bin wagon coming down. One of the bin men saw me coming. By the time I reached him half way up the 25% I was panting like a dog barely staying upright and he said laughing as I went past "you must be #@%^#ing mad", panting like Meg Ryan in When Harry met Sally all I could splutter was "yes.... yes.... yes........... definitely". After the 25% the climb continues for a couple hundred yards at around 8-10% which does feel like it's flat after the 25% but obviously it's not - but that's it... done...finished...Mow Cop conquered. Give me my medal...
Moving on past Mow Cop the only hill that caused me any real problems was Macclesfield Forest. This time there was no ice unlike the previous time we attempted it but the final 50 yards had me beat, my legs could handle it but my heart felt like it was about to explode - I was starting to see venus, jupiter, mars, pluto and every other star and planet in the universe so I caved in before I fell off. I did manage all the other hills though so well chuffed.
A great ride albeit a slow one, the weather was good and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Looking forward to next years official Cheshire Cat in March.
Time 5:08, Av Speed 12.9, 5490ft climbing