Well with Derek doing the light weight route check the week before [sociable start and finish times] it was left to Dennis Hornby, Syd Rimmer and me to do the real thing..
We [and another 35 nutcases] gathered in the municipal car park in Poynton for a 2300hrs start !
An almost still night beckoned and it was going to be cold.
1st controversy happened at the start as we rolled out …on the back of a really large group..Syd asked whether we should stay with them for a bit.. ‘Wheres Dennis’ ? says I.. ‘oh he’ll be with the other trikies’ [there were 3 in all]
As we moved up towards the front as we went thru Adlington, we realised that although Dennis was behind, the other 2 ‘barrow boys’ were in the group we were in..DOH.!..
Oh it was too late.. we’d wait at the 1st control, the all night McD’s at Whitchurch.
and so it was,Chelford, Goostrey,Nantwich passed to reach Whitchurch with 75KM covered @ 26km/hr.. Dennis came in only about 10 mins after us and appeared no worse for wear for his solo efforts.
The night progressed without incident, we caught a few riders as we headed south and the temperature had really started to tumble as we ventured into the early hours..
Down thru Wem to the oddly named but very welcome ‘Dinkies diner’ at Ford for the next control, tea and toast consumed, we moved into the early morning. Day was breaking and the sky was lightening up [albeit behind us] and we noted a covering of ground frost on the fields. Oh , have I said it was cold?
Newtown McD’s for 6am via Montgomerry and a Breakfast wrap and a warming cup of tea..my feet were like ice blocks. some early morning revellers from the night before brightened up proceedings, it’s stange the people you see in overnight services [I’m sure that they thought the same when they saw a gaggle of lycra clad cyclists]
A straight retrace to ‘Dinkies’ saw us arrive at Ford for 9am.. I have to say it’s a bit disconcerting when the AUK in front of us ordered Sausage, egg, chips and beans …for Breakfast.. [constitution of an Ox that man].
it was warming up and I took the opportunity to bare my legs for the 1st time this year when I removed my legwarmers.
We were now on section 5 of 6, the longest stretch of 67km, but the rising wind was generally favourable, my GPS packed in on this leg and we took a wrong turn at Burley Dam, but only added about 2km to our route before we were back on track.
A stop at the Priest House at Audlam was contemplated but resisted as we headed on to Radway Green.
Now, at Radway, Dennis and I plumped for soup and a roll, while Syd had the crumbliest piece of carrot cake ever, he put his fork into it and it just ‘exploded’ it was great and lightened the tired mood.
While we were in the cafe, the promised rain arrived, but it wasn’t heavy and it wasn’t cold.
Now we have all heard of Henman Hill at Wimledon, well the organiser, Pete Hammond now has a hill named after him as well.. Hammond Hill. [also known as the climb from Redesmere] is hard enough as it is, but try it having done 290km [that man is a sadist I’m sure]
Over the climb, into Mottram and back to Poynton, 312km covered in16hrs and 15 mins including stops.. not bad..
on our way home the rain really came down..I’m so glad I was in Syd’s car.