Anyway the ride, Stretton to the Tattenhall Ice Cream Cream farm via Hatchmere, Delamere and Kelsall. A nice pace was set all the way, not too fast or slow, a speed of around 16-19 mph. No real hills to talk about but of course there were some along the way however I found them all relatively easy, relative to my own previous personal experience on these hills that is. I put it down to the bike, a nice light bike with some excellent Dura-ace wheels and perhaps there is still some of that training still in my legs, the Chris Carmichael Time Crunched cyclist training. Someone remarked on how well I was climbing today, I replied saying it's the bike, he laughed at this and I started to think that he may actually have a point and this put a grin on my face.
A question, do you have a favorite road or hill you love to ride or climb? I do. On this route there is a particular stretch of road just off the A51 heading south called Crooked lane, aptly named because it's a very crooked country lane that leads onto Hoofield Lane. On Hoofield Lane there is a village pond that the lane wraps itself around to make a 90' bend, exiting the pond bend there is a 300 yard hill. As you are approaching the pond you are able to see well ahead and around the bend and up the hill. I love this bend I really do, the fact it's 'safe' and you can put some real welly into it. So it goes like this, I'm approaching the pond, I know we are near, I see the pond, I see that the bend and hill out of the bend is clear, I drop down a gear and give it some, I'm into the bend, it's like a slingshot and I'm powering out the other side and giving it everything, up up and up the hill, I look down, I'm doing 27mph up a hill!! I'm ecstatic, I'm tiring, my legs are complaining but I'm near the top now only 50 yards to go, I look behind to see the chasing pack is 100 yards back and that's it I'm at the top and drained but by the time everyone else catches up I'm good to go... I call times like this my 'Cav' moments, the moment you lose all self control and you are that 10 year old kid again with wide eyes pumping legs and screaming lungs, you know it's going to cost you but you don't care...
So after this bit of excitement it's back to the ride as we continue to make great progress and was soon at the Ice Cream Farm. The bike racks were empty bar one or two bikes and for the first time because it was warm we were able to sit outside soaking up the sun, lovely, cakes, tea, coffee - this is what cycling is all about.
Eventually reluctantly we moved on and by now the bike racks are full, lots of bling on display, whats this place going to be like in the summer? it's going to be chocker full of bikers all after cake! So we set of skirting the base of Beeston castle and head north east all the way home. As we approached the last couple of miles the usual happened, the pace upped and continued to up the closer we got to the roundabout that essentially marked the end of the ride, we were jockeying for position we were one long snake travelling at a speed just below race speed, conserving our energy until the very last moment waiting for someone to jump, waiting for someone to flick the switch - didn't happen, no-one jumped, no-one flicked the switch, we sort of just rolled up at a face pace to the roundabout and that was that boo hoo...
Right one last thing, I made mention of my weight a few postings back, the fact I was losing weight and down to 11 stone and hoping it wasn't my kidney packing in. Well 2 weeks later I have regained my weight so don't feel so weak and feeble any more and today (Monday) was my regular 3 monthly hospital visit and everything looks good. Will know for sure if I don't get any phone calls during the next few days. An interesting thing I found out today is one of the reasons I have a low haemoglobin count of 11.2 is because it's one of the side affects of one of the immunosuppressant tablets I take, should be somewhere between 13.5 to 17.5, bit of a bummer but a small price to pay for freedom from dialysis.
64.2 miles, 4hrs 3min, Av Speed 15.9mph, 2366 ft climbing (Bikehike)