Sunday, 4 July 2010

North Cheshire Clarion club run 4th July 2010

Today was the clubs 'long' ride and it was decided that the Eureka Cafe at Two Mills in Chester was the cafe destination of choice. I was the route planner for this ride and I was bricking it slightly as the only other time I had been to the Eureka was with another club over a year ago and as a 'guest' I was just enjoying the ride rather than taking much notice of the route, however I did record the route on my Nokia phone which I was able to extract and save out as a gpx file. So with that info I was able to build a route from Stretton to incorporate the cycle lanes around Chester to get us there and back.

So how did it all work out? Well setting out from Stretton we did a little local loop to get some early extra miles in which included a little hill that warmed us all nicely, then it was off through Acton Bridge before heading into the northern parts of Crowton and then onto Hatchmere. Here we split off into two groups as even though this was billed as a 'long' ride there was also a shorter 45 mile option for those that wanted to get home a little earlier. Two members headed for the Delamere cafe whilst the remaining nine of us continued on towards Mouldsworth.

At the Hatchmere crossroads we were joined by approx 10 members of the Seamons CC. We all got a bit intermingled with some of our guys sprinting off the front but the remaining four of us were stuck behind them however that wasn't a bad thing as the Seamons lot didn't hang around striking up a fair old pace of 20 -25 mph for the full length of Ashton Road. The young guys in our little group also didn't hang around as at the first opportunity they were off sprinting past them to rejoin our leading group. I being an old git was quite happy to remain with the Seamons lot and rejoined our lot at the next cross roads.

The next stage was to the west of Mouldsworth on yet more quiet country lanes and then the part I was worrying about - the actual finding of the start of the cycle track because as I remember we joined it in the middle of a housing estate in NE Chester somewhere. I needn't have worried though as my gps route was spot on and no-one had moved the cycle track, it was still just off Kingsway - much to my relief...

The cycle track itself for the first few miles through Blacon was fairly busy with dog walkers, pedestrians and kids so the pace was fairly slow until we reached a stretch that dipped into and out of Wales that was pretty quiet and was able to push the pace up once more. The next stage was over the bridge by RAF Sealand on the A550 and it's here that it got a little tricky as we were now back on busy roads. Riding an underpass under a busy main road I was sure we were on the right route and I was reassured when we were joined by a bloke from the Port Sunlight club who was also heading to the Eureka. So riding with this guy I was able to see that that my gps route was spot on and we were on the right track.

Next the Eureka itself. I had been there once before as I might have already mentioned so knew what to expect however this time unlike the last time when it was chocka it was fairly empty which meant virtually no waiting for our beans on toast. The cafe itself? no great shakes - it's basic, it's functional and it's cheap which is OK by me however the toilets are a throw back to pre-political correctness, anyone who's been in there will know what I mean...

After the cafe it was the return leg. A busy main road or two to get across, another cycle track but this time not so well kept or wide and with gates every couple of hundred yards to traverse and then it was west of Mouldsworth again but on different lanes and onto the climbing hairpin of Cob lane which I think everyone enjoyed at whatever pace they chose to climb it - the climbers out on the front belting up it and us older ones climbing at a much slower pace.

Next it was New Pale Road and up onto the top of Frodsham hill up past the telecommunication towers, riding up roads that as a club we have never ridden before and then a fast descent into Frodsham and onwards for the last few miles back to Stretton. Ride over, 70 miles completed.

So to summarise. We did lose our way on occasion but nothing much, just a missed turn here or there but a quick about turn had us back on track, the pace was good, a good mix of fast and slow and the best thing was no rain despite the miserable forecast of heavy rain and lots of wind, lot's of wind yes but no rain and the sun did briefly come out. The lanes were mostly car free, the first cycle lane was smooth and wide the 2nd not so and the terrain was varied which I liked a lot.

The Sprint
Again there were sprints but not for me today I wasn't interested I had other things to worry about, namely the route, however that didn't stop the 'young uns' from having a go. The only sprint I was involved in indirectly was the very last one of the day to the 30 sign in Stretton. I was riding on the front with Ade and I could feel Martin behind (sounds wrong that) getting twitchy for this sprint, he must have known there was a 30 coming up. I wasn't interested but mentioned the 30 sign around the next bend to Ade and the fact that the 'young uns' were just waiting for someone to make the jump. Ade sorted his gearing out just in time as 'Nitrous Oxide' Dave came from absolutely no-where bombing past us all - that was the switch, off in pursuit of Dave went Ade, Martin and his mate who does in fact have a name - John, Edit - no got that wrong he's a Peter. My thoughts was that Dave had gone way too early and yup coming around the bend there was Dave who'd given up the sprint; Ade went on to beat the 'young uns' to the win, well done that man :-)

My Stats
70.6 miles, 4hrs 36min, Av Speed 15.3, 2864 ft climbing

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