Wiggle Bournemouth Sportive, Epic Route. A windy and hilly century ride in absolutely stunning countryside.

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Today was the Wiggle Bournemouth Sportive. It was a last minute decision to enter as I was supposed to be doing the Brewood Challenge yesterday but at about 65 miles and not a lot of climbing it was not much of a challenge!

I drove down yesterday and so was at the starting line nice and early to register for the event. I’d only had about 4 hours sleep though (can never sleep before sportives) so was feeling a bit zonked.

A quick cup of double shot coffee soon had me feeling a bit more lively and I lined up on the starting grid. We were off and I joined a group of about 15-20 riders powering round the flatter start to the ride. We averaged something like 17.5 mph which was a nice start.

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As we approached Wiltshire, the terrain started to pick up and the group spread out more. Another new county for me to ride in though!

I didn’t stop too long at the first feed stop and headed off onto the Epic part of the course towards Bulbarrow Hill, Dorset’s highest point. Just before this was the second feed stop, which was very welcome as my water supplies were getting a bit low, with all the sun we’ve had today.

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Bularrow conquered for the second time (did it on the Jurassic Beast a few weeks ago) the terrain started to flatten out a bit. Some absolutely stunning countryside though.

The third and last feed stop was quieter but still a few other riders to chat with. Then it was an easy 19 miles to the finish at the west end of Bournemouth Airport.

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Another lovely sportive in great countryside and a fab day out.

Route: click here

A midweek ride out to Dearnford Lake with a few others

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Nicole had invited me along to the ride today, along with Tim Hughes and Baz and Kacey Round. To my favourite cafe too, so who was I to refuse.

I rode round to Nic’s house in Hinstock to pick her up and then we went onwards to Newport to meet Tim. At the end of Longford Lane we met up with Baz and Kacey, who had ridden down from Lilleshall.

Tim then took us on a great route to Dearnford via a few more main roads than usual and up the hill in Clive.

At the cafe I had my usual tart of the day and then we set off back to Newport via Market Drayton. I peeled off the route at Great Bolas as I needed to get home and get on with work.

A fab ride out in great company.

Route: click here

Wiggle Cheshire Cheetah Sportive Epic Route. That was a hot one 🌞! Absolutely fab route.

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I’ve been looking forward to this one for ages now – the Wiggle Cheshire Cheetah! Starting in Crewe, the route wends it’s way to Mow Cop and then onwards past Congleton and up to the Cat n Fiddle. From there it descends down south of Macclesfield, past Holmes Chapel to Beeston Castle, before finally dropping down to Wrenbury and back to Crewe via Nantwich.

When I arrived I was surprised how few riders were there but I learnt this was the first year of the event and there were 150 riders in total. Next year they are hoping for many more and with the fab route, great staff and general good feeling about the whole day I can easily see it attracting many more riders in the future.

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I set off just after 7:30am and settled into a decent steady pace for the distance. The day was hotting up very nicely and would turn out to be the hottest day of the year so far.

At Mow Cop it was a struggle to get up there with the heat and still air, so no cooling at all. Once at the top it was along the top of the ridge (a new road for me) and then down past Congleton Garden Centre, an excellent cafe stop.

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The first feed stop was at 27 miles at Swythamaley village hall. Then it was onto the Cat n Fiddle climb via Wincle. I ended up teaming up with this nice guy called Gaz from West Yorkshire and riding the rest of the day with him. Much more fun that riding alone, as I would have otherwise, given the limited number of riders on the ride.

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The Cat n Fiddle seems to be permanently closed but a burger van was doing a roaring trade one the road so we had an ice cold fizzy drink and topped up with water. Then it was all downhill to the plains of Cheshire.

We made our way at a decent pace and were soon at the second feed stop at Carnage Village Hall near Holmes Chapel. We were now some of the last riders as most seemed to have done the shorter routes.

The third feed stop was at Bunbury Village Hall (the same place as last week on Ride Chester) and we stopped for some welcome toast and jam along with a cup of coffee.

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The remainder of the ride was very pretty, taking us along the side of the Peckforton Hills and then into the beautiful village of Wrenbury.

Back in Crewe I let Gaz finish ahead of me and so had the pleasure of being the last rider of the day to finish (it’s all about the ride and not the speed and quick cafe stops for me anyway).

An absolute belter of a day out. Great route, lovely company and a well organised event.

Route: click here

Ride out to the cafe at the Manchester Airport viewing area for lunch then back home via Wilmslow and Alderley Edge. What a beautiful day!

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I’d really enjoyed my long 100+ mile ride out to Altrincham last Wednesday so decided to do a similar ride this week, but instead of going to Altrincham, I’d go to the Viewing Area at Manchester Airport as friends regularly ride here and say the cafe looks good.

The route here was pretty much the route I did to Altrincham last week, apart from at Ashley I took the airport road and then onwards to the viewing area.

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I’ve not been here for many years and it’s changed quite a bit. Particularly loved the old Trident in BEA colours, the Nimrod, Concorde and BAE 146. The cafe was fab too – had a lovely baked potato with cheese and beans and a cold pint of lager.

The route home took me through the side of Wilmslow and Alderley Edge before cutting back onto the reverse of my Jodrell Bank route for the rest of the way home.

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It was a scorcher and I ran out of water just past Wybunbury and so the 5 miles to the Coopers Arms in Woore seemed to last forever. Once there though the very kind landlord filled up both bottles and added much appreciate ice cubes. Oh, and I had an ice old pint of lager too just for hydration purposes you understand!

From there it was an easy ride home via Cheswardine.

Route: click here

Lone Raider – Bike Chester Sportive Long Route. Fab route mainly on quiet lanes. Really enjoyed that!

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Today was the Ride Chester Sportive. This starts from the Kings School on the south side of Chester and loops round the lovely Cheshire lanes to Tatton Park near Knutsford and then back to Chester.

I got up mega early and drove up to Chester for 7am. After registering, chatting to a few riders and having my usual pre-sportive cup of coffee, I headed off to the start line.

I was expecting a lot more riders than I saw but apparently the sportive is only in it’s second year and so had about 450 in total, which is pretty respectable.

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The route headed initially into Chester itself and right into the centre, past all he picture postcard shops and alleyways. Then we went onto this fab cycleway which obviously used to be an old railway line. These are usually gravel but this one was properly tarmaced and a joy to ride on.

Not long afterwards was the one and only real hill of the ride as we passed over the back of Helsby Hill. Nothing too taxing and it was a shortish climb. Not long afterwards we arrived at the first feed stop in Northwich.

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The feed stop was outside a show home on a new estate (one of the sponsors of the ride). A really refreshing change from the usual village hall. I was looking forward to trying to posh loos inside, but found out they had a couple of portaloos round the back for cyclists use. Talk about a come down!

The ride carried on meandering through beautiful countryside and then through Tatton Park and onto a very familiar stretch of road through Knutsford and onwards to Middlewich. This is the reverse of my route from Altrincham to home.

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After Middlewich we headed over towards Bunbury and the second feed stop.

After that it was a nice easy ride back to the finish line, going alongside the River Dee into Chester on the way.

After the ride I treated myself to a lovely pint of Cheshire Cat and a leg massage. The lovely lady who did the massage said my legs were “the best legs I’ve felt all day”!

A fab route which was almost entirely lanes and taking in lots of places I’ve not cycled before. Loved it.

Route: click here

Raiders Friday night spontaneous ride and then the pub

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I was going to leave cycling for a few days to rest my legs for the Bike Chester Sportive on Sunday but spotted a spontaneous Friday night Raiders steady ride with the pub at the end and could not resist.

I rode down to Newport and met up with the others and we set off on a 30 mile route round towards Great Bolas and back. We had some faster riders out with us so we ended up a bit faster than steady but still not too bad (I’d normally be well up for a faster ride, but was conscious of my upcoming Sportive and did not want to ruin that by blasting it tonight).

Back in Newport we retired to the New Inn for a couple of pints and I arranged to be collected by Sarah as I did not need the extra miles to cycle home.

Route: click here

Solo ride to foodie heaven at Altrincham Market for lunch, quick pint in my old local and then back home via Jodrell Bank. Fab ride despite the gale force winds earlier!

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Having had 2 rest days after the Tour de Man I fancied a good long ride today, especially with the glorious weather. I’ve always fancied riding back to my home town of Altrincham and then back to my current home to Shropshire. Let’s do it!

I planned a route out through Audlem, Nantwich, Middlewich, Knutsford and Tatton Park. The winds were pretty strong from the NE today and by the time I was approaching Middlewich I needed a breather so stopped off at this nice farm cafe for coffee and a cake.

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Suitably fortified, I pressed on through Middlewich and onwards to Altrincham. in Altrincham I headed straight for the market and locked my bike up so I could head inside for dinner.

I ended up with some lovely avocado and poached egg on toast and a latte. Lovely! After I’d finished I headed round to the Old Roebuck (my old local from 20 years ago) for a cold pit of refreshing lager.

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It was then time to head off home, so I retraced my route to Ashley (no real alternative over the River Bollin) and then headed off towards Mobberley and onwards past Jodrell Bank to pick up the usual route to Jodrell Bank, in reserve.

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On the way back I stopped at the Coopers Arms in Woore to fill my water bottles up and had a sneaky pint while I was there.

It was then an easy ride home via Cheswardine to end a fabulous 108 mile ride. What a day!

Route: click here