I joined the long run, led by Ian, heading for Dagfields – whilst Alan Silver led the shorter run to Audlem – the two groups stayed together for quite a few miles.
My strategy as usual was to suggest Kevan should volunteer for the front of the group in the hope that he’d set a sensible pace – I should know better and encouraged by various partners (Graham was the first culprit quite early on) he went a bit fast – so the rest of us ended up having to suspend conversation to keep up to the 20+mph pace that they set on several stretches.
Ian’s route was great, through quiet country lanes, via Bunbury and Aston, then South of Audlem. At this point however we took a wrong turning and ended up riding 6km in the wrong direction towards Newcastle – and to make matters worse this stretch was ridden at breakneck speed with some of us at the back struggling to maintain contact with the group – the riders at the front were doing a fantastic job considering they were riding into a headwind. Eventually someone realised we’d gone wrong and we rode back up a busy A51 past Bridgemere Garden Centre to Dagfields, by which time everyone was glad of a stop.
Then back on a fairly direct route through Wynbunbury, Haslington, Warmingham and Middlewich. Initially the pace was steady but soon the inevitable racing started, with various riders taking it in turns to go for glory on the Bostock road. Hats off to young Andy, who at only 15 copes with these long rides with apparent ease, and has enough energy to race up all the hills.
We’d done 68 miles when we got back – average speed 17.3mph – not bad for a v. windy day. Many thanks Ian – a good day out.