Today’s North Cheshire Clarion club run was supposed to be a long run, it being the first Sunday of the month and all that. The route was going to take in Swiss Hill in Alderley Edge, the climb up to the Cat and Fiddle and b roughly 75 miles in length.
Following the current trend of Sunday rides being hugely popular, 19 people turned up. This in itself is amazing, with the longer rides generally having an attendance of between 5 and 10 since they started. So we needed to split into two groups with Andy W leading one and myself and Sarah leading the other. Andy’s group set off whilst we waited for the requisite 10 minutes – which also allowed “Lucky” Gaz to fix his first puncture of the day.
When we did set off we managed a staggering 2.3 miles before Gaz had his second puncture of the day. Meanwhile Martin managed to snap a valve off an inner tube in the pump meaning that the group had now gone through more inner tubes than miles at that point!
I can’t really recall if we had puncture number 3 and then the crash, or the other way around. Anyway, riding down a lane we came up behind a group of other cyclists and a farm tanker came the other way round a bend rather too fast, spooking this group and causing one of their number to swerve in, and the rest to hit the brakes. Three of our guys went into them and ended up in a heap on the road. We stopped for some considerable time whilst one suspected broken finger was strapped up and a buckled wheel and various other problems were repaired. We’d managed 18 miles in about 2 hours.
We decided it would be prudent to abandon the planned route, head up Swiss Hill and stop at the Wizard Tea Rooms and replan a route back.
Swiss Hill is a cobbled hill with a terrible road surface that peaks at about 16% gradient. It is very, very technically challenging. The wet cobbles, moss and damp leaves meant that when stood up on the pedals the back wheel was spinning and I had next to know grip. Sitting back on the saddle immediately starts to lift the front wheel. However, I managed it at a reasonable rate and can now tick that one off in my book!
After a stop at the Wizard we plotted a route that would get us back to the start in a sensible time. Carrying on would’ve had us out in the dark and we didn’t have the right lights.
The rest of the ride back was fairly uneventful apart from two more punctures in quick succession within 5 miles of the finish. Until then we’d managed a fairly good and quick pace.
Ride stats : 48.6miles in 3hrs 13m – 15mph average riding speed. Total climb 1184ft, energy used 2006kcals