Solo ride out to Tilly’s in Bunbury and then extended the ride home via Winsford and Middlewich. Hard going with that wind but a fab ride nonetheless.

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After the Cycling Weekly 125 on Sunday, my legs were not quite totally recovered but I knew I needed to get a ride in today as it’s the New Forest 100 on Sunday and I did not want to do a longer ride any closer to Sunday. Nothing worse than starting a Sportive on unfamiliar roads with legs that are not 100%!

I opted for a 75 mile ride out to Tilly’s in Bunbury for lunch. Outbound I’d head virtually up to Dearnford Lake before heading into Wales and then onwards via Malpas and the Peckforton Hills. On the way back I’d head via Nantwich, Audlem and Market Drayton.

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As soon as I started off I could tell my legs were not 100%, but not too bad either. The main issue was a REALLY strong wind from the west. It does not seem like we’ve had that many days over the summer without a strong wind to contend with. Can’t remember previous years like this but maybe they were?

The ride out was straightforward enough and I stopped for a coffee at the Fire Station in Malpas as I went past. Next was one of my favourite bits of the ride – up through the Peckforton Hills. A really lovely road that I’d last ridden the other way round on the Cheshire Cheetah Sportive a few months ago. Loved it!

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At Tilly’s I saw they had smashed avocado on rye bread as a special so could not resist. I added a couple of poached eggs and a coffee and orange juice to make an unexpected (very) late breakfast. My very favourite breakfast too! A group of cyclists were in from Stockport (same town, but different people to my last time here) so I had a nice chat with them.

After Tilly’s my plan was to head up to Alpraham and the Wettenhall before turning southbound to Nantwich. At¬†Wettenhall I saw a sign that said Winsford was only 5 miles away (in the other direction!) and could not resist as I’ve not yet cycled round Winsford.

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In Winsford I got a bit lost and had to resort to the maps on my phone but was soon heading off towards Middlewich, to pick up the reverse of my normal route to Altrincham, heading south towards Nantwich. This took me past my usual Hopton House Farm Cafe stop so I dropped in for a quick coffee and chat.

In Nantwich, I’m told my son’s girlfriend spotted me riding through the town. Needless to say, my mind was on cycling and I totally missed her!

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Back in Market Drayton, I stopped at the sponsor’s brewery for a cheeky Blonde before carrying on to home.

A great ride out but tough going in the strong wind in places. All good training though and better than sitting around at home doing other things.

Route: click here