Bank Holiday ride out to Jodrell Bank. Training for Tour De Manc this weekend.

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I’d promised Nicole and Tracy I’d take them on a ride out to Jodrell Bank as part of Tracy’s training for her Italy end to end ride later in the year. Today was the day!

We’d planned to ride out to the Priest House in Audlem for breakfast and then carry on to Jodrell Bank from there. We arrived a bit later than expected at the Priest House and had a very hearty breakfast … a bit too hearty if I’m honest but it’s all good fuel for the ride!

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We arrived at Jodrell Bank and headed into the cafe, which looked busy with Bank Holiday day’s out. Luckily we managed to bag a table quickly and were soon having lunch. This blog is starting to sound like a diary of cafe stops rather than cycling methinks!

After lunch we headed off on the usual route towards Congleton and then Alsager, Audley, Madeley etc etc. On the way past I pointed out the killer mile of the Mow Cop climb.

We were going to stop at the Swan With Two Necks on the way home but opted to carry on as everyone’s GPS batteries were running low and we were worried about missing the end of the ride.

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Back in Hinstock we retired to the Falcon for a well deserved pint.

A great ride out with reasonable weather, although it was wetter towards the end. Always love riding this route.

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It’s such a perfect day … for a ride to Dearnford Lake for lunch. The cycling kit faux-pas day!

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I’d arranged a longer ride out with Nic today and we decided to go to Deanford Lake for lunch as the weather was so good. I drove over to Hinstock as I needed to pick up Sarah’s bike, which Sandie had been borrowing for her visit from Australia.

With it being so sunny I opted for the lightest colour kit I have – the Free Motion jersey from Gran Canaria. Uknown to me, Nic had exactly the same idea and we ended up looking like an old married couple, riding with matching kits on – doh!

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A beautiful ride to Dearnford with wall to wall sunshine and virtually no wind, Perfect! Once there I had to have my ‘tart of the day’ as it’s always so nice.

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On the way back we tried a different route than normal, heading left at Calverhall and going into Market Drayton via Longslow. All worked out as planned so we continued the theme and took a different route back via Stoke on Tern and Wistanswick.

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Another fab ride out in totally perfect weather. Loved it!

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A fab sunny ride in between work. Stunning weather!

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I was busy catching up with work today, after yesterday’s day out of the office at Buckingham Palace with Isaac collecting his Duke Of Edinburgh Gold Certificate.

It was a beautiful day though and I was yearning to get out on my bike. Nic messaged and said she was off out for a quick 20 miler mid afternoon and did I want to come. Is the Pope Catholic? Of course I did!

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I rode over to Hinstock and off we set on the alternative 20 mile ride we’d scoped out a few weeks ago. A glorious day to be out on the bike too!

After we arrived back, I headed off straight home to carry on with work.

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Mainwaring Arms for lunch and back via Eccleshall for no Belgian beer. Fab weather.

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Today we were riding with the Aussies to the Mainwaring Arms in Whitmore for lunch and then stopping at the Merckx Belgian bar in Eccleshall for a sift one on the way home.

I rode over to Hintsock and we all set off going clockwise on the route we’d scoped out a few weeks ago now. Another fab day weather wise which made a good ride even more enjoyable.

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Loved the part of the ride just before Whitmore where it takes you up into the hills and has some lovely views and hidden woods (did not see the wild deer this time though!).

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At the pub we all sat outside for our food. Another lovely baked potato with cheese and coleslaw, washed down with a pint of Joule’s finest Blonde. Lovely!

After lunch we headed off to Eccleshall and found the Belgian bar was unfortunately shut. Close but no cigar! Instead we went the Joule’s pub next door and sat in the beer garden round the back.

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Once back in Hinstock I headed straight home as we were all meeting up for an evening meal later in the evening at the Hinde’s Head in Norton In Hales.

Another fab ride with great company.

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Great ride out to Dearnford Lake in the sunshine for lunch with friends

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This weekend Nicole had some friends from Perth in Australia staying and I’d been invited along to the various rides with them. Today was a leisurely ride out to Dearnford Lake for lunch.

I cycled over to Hinstock from home and met up with the others and off we set. We were going a different route than normal and got ourselves a bit lost in Market Drayton (see the picture above where we were debating the best way to get back on track!).

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Once we’d worked out how to rectify the routing error we were back on the usual route to Dearnford but in the reverse direction to normal.

It was beautiful weather and we opted to sit outside by the lake for lunch. I had to do my usual ‘tart of the day’, which was absolutely delicious.

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We then set off back to Hinstock on the reverse route and via Tibberton. At the end of the ride we retired to Nic’s for a beer and then I made my way home via Childs Ercall.

A really great ride out and lovely to meet Dave and Sandie from Australia too.

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Ride out in the lovely sunshine with Nicole, plus from and to home. Quite a few new roads mixed in there too!

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I’d been dying to get out on my bike all week but it’s been raining every day and just not nice for a ride. Thursday dawned and it looked much better so I arranged to meet up with Nic for a nice 40 mile loop.

I took the scenic route over to her house and then we set off towards Cheswardine and then onwards via Bishops Offley, High Offley and Gnosall. Lots of new roads for me on this section which is always good to do.

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After Church Eaton we headed off to High Onn and then Great Chatwell and Lilleshall. The weather was nice and sunny and so much better than the last few days.

As we arrived back in Hinstock, Nic headed off home, as did I, via Childs Ercall and the quickest route as I needed to get back to work.

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A fab ride and great company as usual. Loved it!

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London Revolution 2017 Day 2 complete. That’s a full circuit of the capital and surrounding counties done.

 

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I was up very early today as I’d not managed the best night’s sleep and was anxious to get on the road. Breakfast was nice (porridge, scrambled egg, beans and some bread) and ¬†then I dropped my overnight bag off and headed off for the start line.

There was quite a queue for the start as everyone seemed to be up around the same time but we were soon heading off.

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The first part of the ride was pretty flat and reasonable fast, towards Marlow and the bridge over the River Thames. After this the elevation kicked up as we approached the Chiltern hills.

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Just after we passed High Wycombe we saw the Thames Valley air ambulance in a field and people said the road was closed. Hope it’s nothing too serious but with the air ambulance it probably was :(.

A quick diversion was soon worked out after chatting to some locals outside their house who were cheering us on. Not long after we arrived at the first feed station at Princes Risborough. I was chatting to a guy in the queue for coffee and he was telling me it was a fellow cyclist who had had a suspected heart attack which was the cause of the road closure earlier. I spent the rest of the day hoping the cyclist was ok, as did most of the other riders I’d imagine.

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The Chilterns came next starting with a brutal climb up a very steep road to the top. After that it was unrelenting hills, one after the other. Great fun but a little more challenging than normal on tired legs from the 100 miles and lots of climbing yesterday.

Eventually the hills relented and it was the second feed stop in a park at Chiswell Green, a suburb of St Albans. It was lovely and sunny by now so I treated myself to a nice ice cream. Another really well stocked feed stop with crisps and sandwiches again.

The last part of the ride back to Lee Valley was tough going as my legs were tired by now but I kept plodding on and after a nice section through Epping Forest, we headed past the M25 and into the London suburbs.

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The only thing of note here is 1 mile from the finishing line a guy right in front of me pulled up very quickly to stop at a pedestrian crossing and in trying to avoid crashing into him I ended up going over my handlebars and landed on the road. Thankfully only a  grazed knee and sore hands.

All too soon I was back at Lee Valley and crossing the finishing line. I collected my medal and headed off to get my overnight bag and head off on the long drive home.

An absolutely fabulous weekend with a great route, great organisation, fab weather etc etc. Would I do it again? You bet I would!

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London Revolution 2017 Day 1 complete! Another Century in the bag!

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The weekend I had been building up to and looking forward to for months now is finally upon me!

I got up really early at 5:30am and had breakfast in my hotel room before driving the half a mile or so to the event HQ. The parking was really easy with marshals everywhere directing you to a safe spot in the field adjoining the Lee Valley Athletics Centre.

I got my bike and overnight case out and walked over to registration. Registration was quick and easy and you even got given a sticker for your crossbar with details of all the major climbs and the feed stops on. I’d made my own one of these already but this was way more detailed!

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Once my case was dropped off, I headed off for a quick pre-ride Latte and then the start line. All too soon we were off and riding down through the streets of London towards Tower Bridge.

I would like to say I enjoyed this part of the ride, but with cars to dodge everywhere and frequent stops at traffic lights it soon got a bit tedious. On the plus side it was amazing to see pedestrians everywhere stop to cheer us all on.

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Once over Tower Bridge the route headed pretty much southwards through the suburbs of London and onwards into the lovely Surrey countryside.

I always find it amazing the way the built up area of a city literally just stops and you are in lovely countryside, soon forgetting the built up area of the city.

Just past the M25 we stopped at the first feed stop at a sports field in the village of Hurst Green. What a fabulous feed stop it was too with lots of facilities and even more cyclists!

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I’d been having trouble with skipping gears when riding in the big ring so stopped to let the mechanics look at the bike while I stocked up of food to power me for the next section of the ride. The mechanics managed to fix most of the issues but I had a nagging issue when in big ring front and back and the chain skipping to the small ring at the front for the rest of the weekend.

The next section of the ride was really lovely as we headed over towards Gatwick Airport, watching the landing planes come overhead and dreaming of the exotic destinations they might be flying in from.

The next feed stop was at Ewhurst cricket club and just before the start of the hardest climb of the day, Pitch Hill (or Bitch Hill as we were all calling it!). Lots of options at this feed stop too including crisis and sandwiches – it was like having a really good packed lunch!

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Suitably fortified, I headed off for the last section of todays ride, to Windsor Racecourse and the overnight camping.

Pitch Hill lived up to it’s reputation with a long, slow climb which ramped up to a 20% switchback and then upwards some more. I really enjoyed the climb and was soon at the top and enjoying the fast and flowing descent on the other side.

Another climb followed soon afterwards but it was not too bad and then the roads flattened out all the way to the overnight camp.

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Highlights of the last section were riding through Virginia Water with all it’s big houses and then through the Great Park on the way into Windsor.

After crossing the finishing line at the racecourse and clocking up over 100 miles for the day I headed off for a much needed beer or two from the old London bus that was converted into a bar.

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I then headed off to get allocated my tent, collect my luggage and get changed for the evening. The evening meal and breakfast tomorrow were both included so I walked over to the racecourse grandstand for dinner. A nice meal of pasta, pulses, salad and lime pie. Lovely!

After exploring the event festival village and another pint I headed off for an early night and to try and get to sleep in a tent (my first time camping!).

A fabulous ride today in a totally different area than normal and a century ride too! Loved it!

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Quick leg stretch to check out the ride HQ for tomorrow after the long drive from home. 1 puncture, 1 inner tube, 2 gas canisters and a trip to Halfords to replenish supplies later…

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I’m starting the London Revolution 2017 tomorrow so drove down today and am staying overnight just down the road from the start location of the event.

I arrived in good time and thought I’d go for a short, easy ride to stretch my legs after the long drive down to London. But where to go as all the roads are seriously busy round here?

Looking at the map, the local balancing lakes have a decent looking paved path round them so I settled for a ride up to event HQ to check that out and then continuing around the lakes.

Nothing much going on at event HQ as everyone was busy setting up, so I carried on with my ride.

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How wrong could I have been about the paths round the lakes. I could not actually access them as it’s all fenced off so had to go along the canal towpath up one side of them and return via the main road.

The towpath was quite gravelly and I ended up with a puncture on the back tyre by the time I got to the top of the path. It took me some 20 minutes to get the tyre off as it was so tight on the rims! Then the first gas canister mis-fired so I had to use my second spare.

This meant I only had 1 inner tube and no gas canisters left for the two day London Revolution event. That’s not going to work!

I stopped at event HQ on the way back and bought 2 inner tubes off them but they did not have any gas canisters so I rode to the nearest Halfords and picked some up there.

An eventful ride to say the least!

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