Today was the day I’d been preparing for. 111 miles and over 6000ft of climbing, My longest ride and my biggest elevation in a ride, both in the same ride! If I’m not ready for this now I never will be!
I got up early (5:50am but with the clocks going back an hour last night it was really 4:50am) and drove up to Crewe. The car parking was at South Cheshire College and I’d popped by yesterday to register, so as to speed things up this morning,
I thus rode the 1.5 miles or so to Queens Park where the event was due to start. I arrived and popped into the cafe for a pitstop and a cup of coffee to warm me up. I bumped into Jacko from the Raiders, who had ridden up to Crewe from Newport earlier!
Once on the start line, they started letting riders go just after 8am. I was soon on my way and wending my way over towards the killer mile of Mow Cop, the first climb of the day.
We got stuck at the level crossings at the start of the climb but were soon on our way. I took it very steady but the going was tricky with so many cyclists everywhere, weaving every which way as they battled to stay on their bikes!
At the top we headed off up past the mast and down the other side of the hill onwards to our first feed stop at Biddulph Moor, at the top of the next hill. Here I filled up with supplies and had a very nice cheese sandwich. I also bumped into a couple of other Raiders for a quick chat. Interestingly enough, you could clearly see the Cheshire Plain from the car park and Jodrell Bank in the middle, very close to our next feed stop at Goostrey.
On I plodded, down past Rudyard Lake next and then the climb of Gunn Hill. This was a long climb but not too steep so I just dropped to a low gear and ground it out. Enjoyed that!
Next it was down into Winkle and past the brewery before climbing the last major hill of the day just before Macclesfield. Then we dropped down onto the Cheshire Plain and the going got much easier, and faster!
In no time I was at the second feed stop in Goostrey and had a welcome cup of coffee. By this time things had warmed up considerably and I ditched by leg and arm warmers. Much better! On the way out of the feed station I went past Paul Evans from the Newport Club, who was just arriving.
The next section took us through Northwich before heading round the far side to Weaverham, Just before the third and final feed stop at Cuddington, Paul caught up with me and we cycled together for the remainder of the ride, chatting away as we went. Great company!
The third feed stop was the nicest one with all the local volunteers very chatty and asking us all sorts of questions about the ride.
Then it was onwards into the lovely Delamere Forest. Really loved this part of the ride and was wondering to myself why I left it so long to come back to this beautiful place.
It was then on to a few more smaller climbs near Kelsall before dropping down to the flats and the run into Nantwich and onwards to Crewe and the finishing line.
At the finishing line we were presented with our medals and Paul and myself retired to the beer tent for a well deserved pint. We sat chatting for ages and by the time we got back to the car park, realised our cars were the last there!
A really great day out with a fab route. Absolutely loved that!
Route: click here