Emailed Derek a couple of nights ago to see if he was out on Sunday, eager to hear his stories of his epic 600K Audax.
He replied, and as Tilley’s in Bunbury was on the calendar, he suggested a route. ‘Approx 50 from Hartford odd bump.’ he said. ‘I like it!’ I replied, looking at the GPX file that he’d sent over, and trusting the club’s Audax grand master to guide us.
Arriving on Sunday morning, there were already a few eager faces there, including, as Jim’s post mentioned, a new guest rider.
The babbling crowd were eventually quietened as I announced the two rides for the day. ‘Long run off first’, saw almost everyone disappear… Something I said? Easy falt run to Prees? The lure of the Raven cafe’s ‘Belly buster’?
Either way, 6 remained including I. There was Steve, Matt, Ian, Derek, Andy. We set off on the magical mystery tour.
There are many things discussed on club runs, and today there was an obvious and vocal political discourse abounding as we made our way through Delamere. The pros and cons of in vs out prior to the vote on the 23rd were hotly debated, but fortunately, by the other side of Kelsall, both sides had their say, and we stopped just by Willington Hall, whilst Ian kindly retrieved Steve’s light from the road (which had jogged off on our lovely Cheshire lanes), and unshipped his chain in doing so.
Soon on our way, we were treated by the fantastic route that Derek had carefully crafted, dropping into lanes that we don’t normally use, and getting the best of the Cheshire countryside on our way. There were hills (as Cheshire really ain’t that flat), and we kept a good steady pace to keep our select group together.
We turned back for the cafe, and more familiar roads through Bickerton, and dropped down to Spurstow, across the A49 and around to Beeston. At some point, Andy and Matt took off, and I am reliably informed that Andy had kept on the front until near the cafe, when Matt shot past to clinch the sprint and first chair at the cafe amongst our group.
The cafe was packed with other cyclists, including a contingent from Chester RC. We had to wait some time therefore before the usual foods appeared.
After being well rested, we got back on the road, back across the A49, then past Beeston Castle to the usual familiar route home. The Whitegate dash started early, obviously Andy demanding a rematch. From my viewpoint some way back, it looked like Matt clinched it – possibly again at the last minute.
What a ride though, and definitely a new route that we’ll use again. Around 52 miles round trip for most I think. If you are interested, then the loop is detailed below: