5 go up Mam Tor

Jim, Geoff, Stuart, Christine, Mark, Kevin and me were at the gates this morning at 9.30. Destination, the No Car Cafe. I haven’t actually established whether, if you were to turn up in a car, you would be refused. Anyway, it’s a great place. This was a ride we did the week before Wild Wales last year and well worth repeating; lots of fast flat, steep up, steep down, drag up, drag down. Something for everyone.

We picked up Iain at the Grange and then Phil at Davenham and the nine of us proceeded on our merry way. Regular readers of this nonsense may remember that last week my front wheel disappeared down an enormous pothole. Well, as luck would have it, exactly the same pothole did exactly the same thing to me this week. Third in line and obviously aware of the pothole, the really stupid thing was that I swerved to miss it and swerved straight in to it, drawn in to it’s inky blackholeness. They don’t call me the next Sagan for nothing. Oh no, that’s someone else. More of him later.

Puncture fixed, thanks Jim for waiting. Thanks everyone else for waiting at the 3 Greyhounds getting an early drink in. I don’t mind really, just painting pictures with words. Outside Goostrey, Stuart flatted and, Captain Oates-like, he suggested we leave him as he, ‘may be some time’. After a small amount of protestation we did. 8 little indians left.

We nearly went through Swettenham, Congleton and Gawsworth but missed them all before arriving at Broken Cross where, the pull of the west being too much, Kevin peeled off to head for more familiar pastures. Just the magnificent 7 now.

We skirted Macclesfield, then through Prestbury and Bollington before eventually reaching the day’s first objective, Blaze Hill. Geoff had dropped off the back at this point for a little machinery fettling but soon caught up as the road reached skywards. Always a good one to wake you up Blaze Hill, if you are cold at the bottom of it, which i don’t think any of us were today, then you certainly won’t be cold at the top. So Iain, Mark and Jim broke away and did their own thing, Geoff went past the rest of us and set off in pursuit and we all eventually reached the summit. I spent the whole climb thinking i would have done much better with a lower gear. Got to blame it on something. Jim fettled with his rear brake at this point, it sounding like a poorly mouse was stuck in his hub. Mark and Christine turned right at the main road while we turned left and so we were now 5.

Down and up and down and up we went on the road past Kettleshulme and to Whaley Bridge. It was along here that we caught and passed Tom Pidcock (yes that one, our newest World Champion, awesome job) with a female member of the GB Team. I hasten to add they were on their bikes, not at a bus shelter or anything. Jim, Iain and I lead the fast descent in to Whaley Bridge, I would have gone faster but for a lack of a higher gear, again, got to blame it on…

The road from Whaley Bridge to Chapel en le Frith (meaning Chapel in the Forest) is a draggy affair and Jim was pleased to take the front and pull us along for many a mile and then up the lower slopes of Mam Tor (Mother Hill). My cadence was not quite comfortable, i needed to turn the pedals a touch quicker, so I crept to the front to be comfortable and was there for at least 3 tenths of a second before Iain had the bright idea of going twice the speed leaving us to jostle and scrabble for position. Eventually the 3 amigos got a gap leaving Phil and me to scramble up mother alone.

No sooner could I say, ‘good god, is that my heart-rate’, before we reached the safety of the cafe.

Beans, tea, coffee, coke ordered, Jim regaled us with a tale of a faulty bike shop, perhaps one to avoid. We also found out at this point the surprising news that Iain has a side-line in all-in wrestling and immediately after our ride he was off to a tournament.

Anyway, the cafe is great, you should go, great local food, free top-ups, friendly service, good prices and strange beer if you are so inclined.

Leaving the cafe you get cafe legs to the power of ten. There aren’t many cafes that have such a drag right outside the front door. Still, this loosening and warming up was needed as very soon we headed back down Mam Tor, a nice long, fast descent.

After the climb back over to Whaley Bridge we turned left and very quickly encountered the delights of Long Hill. Aptly named if ever there was one. Phil’s legs were a bit shot by this point and he rode up at his own pace, i was doing OK until on a short downhill i allowed a small gap and got myself in the wind, from there i couldn’t get back on and the gap to the 3 amigos grew in a steady and sure way.

We regrouped at the top where the road turns right for the fast descent in to the Goyt Valley, turned left along the reservoir and up the nice hill out of the valley to Derbyshire Bridge.

A free-for-all on the way down the ‘cat’ saw Iain and Geoff get a gap, me and Jim catch and pass Geoff, Jim drop me setting off in pursuit of  Iain, me after Jim and Geoff after me, with Phil at the rear, all like some human, cycling, Tom and Jerry chase. I felt and heard something amiss going down the cat and sure enough when we regrouped I found some rear mudguard stays had broken away and were now swinging about doing their own thing. Nothing could be done about this but enjoy the rattle.

Up through Macclesfield and down the road of the old (and much better) downhill course, Phil said to me that he was in bits. He didn’t realise how prescient his words were. With both hands loose on the top of the bars a small bump in the road was encountered, hands came off of bars, chest now on bars, front wheel waving wildly, it looked like he had saved it before succumbing to gravity and a very nasty and thorough fall. Aside from punching the tarmac, he had hurt his knee and came down heavily on a shoulder. In addition of course the bike had been badly scraped and every piece of clothing; overshoes, tights, gilet, jersey, gloves, all torn. Brake lever banged back in to place, chain back on, Phil got back on and off we went with Geoff doing a long fast turn on the front for about 12 miles through Siddington, Lower Withington and to Twemlow.

We went the usual way, back through Goostrey and to Allostock with Phil turning left at the 3 Greyhounds towards Middlewich and a long lie down I think.

Steadily back to Davenham and Hartford where Iain and Geoff peeled off leaving just me and Jim. I stayed with Jim through Weaverham to Acton Bridge to get some extra miles in before saying my goodbyes and meandering home down the quiet lanes.

An absolutely packed day, a long day with, at times, positively warm weather. The best part of 6000 feet of climbing, a couple of days worth of calories burnt and 102 miles covered, this was definitely a day to remember. See you all soon. I hope you are OK Phil. Pictures courtesy of Jim.

Ok, so start sheets just about finalised prior to next weeks Round 1! Look forward to seeing you all next week #bringthesunshine

This might sound like a daft question but the 10 TT on 3 May is for setting your handicap. Don't all riders who participated last year already have a handicap time? I understand that we all should turn up because otherwise there would only be a few newcomers who haven't already got a time. Also, we may be quicker now than we were last year. Just asking. ... ’Expand’’Hide’

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Can anyone shed any light on this,, ? I did a Zwift race tonight, started off ok in a bunch , then found myself alone for the entire race, crossed the line, but It didn't seem to end so I just warmed down a bit and ended my ride,,, ended up with a dnf, my ftp was 254 and power was 3.1 w/kg should have seen me reasonably well placed, I'm a bit baffled! ... ’Expand’’Hide’

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Heads up for tomorrow night, road closed at the bottom of Northwich road, says until tomorrow but we will need to check. ... ’Expand’’Hide’

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One of the 'must ride' races in the 2017 Cyclocross calendar takes place at Blists Hill Victorian Town in Shropshire on Saturday 8th July.

THE QUEEN VICTORIA CYCLOCROSS RACE is a truly unique off-road cycling event; sponsored by LUDGATE FINANCE and broadcast on SKY TV/VIRGIN Bike Channel it attracts over 300 riders from across the UK all competing over a course like no other.

With officials dressed in Victorian costumes and spectators enjoying traditional Victorian entertainment including barrel organs, steam engines and a funfair you would be forgiven for thinking this is all just an excuse for some summer fun – and for the spectators enjoying a real ale or two from the authentic Victorian pub it undoubtedly is.

But for the riders – this is serious stuff. It isn’t badged “Britain’s craziest bike race” for nothing. Entries are now open and the organisers are encouraging anyone to come and have a go, from novice riders to experienced cyclocross riders. Entrants can use either mountain bikes or cyclocross bikes, but prepare for a challenge! This is a tough off-road cycle race, for adult and junior competitors alike.

Each race takes in several laps of a gruelling circuit featuring pavements and cobbled streets, wooded trails, steep hills (including the ascent of the Hay Incline Plane) with riders having to carry their bike over several parts of the course. The event will also feature the Telford Balance Bike Championship.

Promoter Nick Jeggo said “We are delighted that once again we are receiving generous sponsorship from Ludgate Business Finance. The event has become one of the favourites on the Cyclocross calendar with people travelling from all over the country to take part. The event has grown year on year and we’re looking forward to an evening of family fun combined with top class cycling action”

Steve Grice Director of Ludgate Finance, himself a keen cyclist with Newport Shropshire Cycling Club said “ This is a great fun event, and we are very happy to be headline sponsor again, meaning it can be televised so more people can enjoy it. It’s a real have-a-go race for all comers”

Taking place at this World Heritage Site located in Shropshire’s beautiful Ironbridge Gorge there is much to enjoy for spectators and riders alike and with the town’s Victorian pub, traditional chip shop and café all open to provide refreshments a great family atmosphere is ensured.

Competitor Entry: cyclotours.co.uk/qvcx/race-entry/
Gates open 17:15, first race 18:00
Spectator Entrance fee: £4 (Children under 16 free - must be accompanied by an adult) for further information visit www.queenviccx.co.uk
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Upcoming Events

18:30 WVCC Club 10 TT – Gents 2-up
WVCC Club 10 TT – Gents 2-up
Apr 26 @ 18:30 – 21:00
  WVCC Club 10s 2017 – Gents 2-up A war up for this year’s TTs! For new riders, just come along and have a go. It’s all about you and the clock, and measuring your[...]
09:00 Ron Sant 106km Audax
Ron Sant 106km Audax
Apr 30 @ 09:00 – 16:04
Ron Sant 106km Audax @ Winnington Park Rugby Club | Hartford | United Kingdom
106km cycling event starting from Winnington Park Rugby Club, CW8 3AA. Controls at Eureka, plus 4 information controls. After an early climb over Mersey View this is a predominantly flat ride through Cheshire lanes. Passing[...]
18:30 WVCC Club 10 TT – Practice 10
WVCC Club 10 TT – Practice 10
May 3 @ 18:30 – 21:00
Practice 10 – a place to set your handicap for this year’s Guardian Cup The Guardian Cup is a season long competition based on a points system. The cup is awarded at the club dinner,[...]
10:00 MTB Dairi-Pak Borderlands Challe...
MTB Dairi-Pak Borderlands Challe...
May 6 @ 10:00
22 miles, charity event. Entry and details here. We usually try and start off in a pro-looking group, (but it never finishes like that!) at close to 10am.
19:30 Committee meeting
Committee meeting
May 9 @ 19:30 – 21:00
Longer run, at a steady pace.

Club meeting times

Sunday runs:

09:30 - Winnington Park Rugby Football Club - see calendar for updated start times (Most runs 10:00 during the winter months)

Tuesday evening (informal - usually a small gathering!)

20:00 onwards - Winnington Park Rugby Football Club

Wednesday runs:

10:00 - Hatchmere

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