I looked out of the window at 7-30am and was greeted with a traditional North Manchester torrential downpour. And worse, the wind was howling through the trees. Part of me thought, briefly, about going back to bed, but I knew that if I did I’d be annoyed with myself for the rest of the day. And anyway, the ride was in Cheshire, and it tends to rain less there!
When I arrived at the lay-by where the club meets there was nobody there. At least there was no rain but I thought I’d be off on my own. As it was a few turned up but only one member, Lee, was up for the training ride.
The outbound leg was pretty uneventful. The wind was behind us which meant coming back would be a bit of a struggle, but we made decent enough time until we reached the familiar level crossing at the bottom of Mow Cop.
This was Lee’s first attempt at Mow Cop. I’d warned him to save something for the ramp, especially as he was on a 34-25 ratio. But off he went in front of me. He’s probably 3 or more stone heavier than me so he must have some power as he made it to the foot of the ramp and then powered up that. If you’ve never done Mow Cop before, it starts off with a steep section from the level crossing before getting marginally easier for a short while. It then steepens again until you see the ramp and the 25% sign after about a mile of climbing. The ramp is only about 100 yards or so before that flattens but it’s a real sting in the tail. So big respect to Lee for getting up on his first try.
The descent was quick and exciting and we stopped at Congleton Garden Centre coffee shop. They took a fair while to bring our order but I have to say the poached egg on toast was done to perfection.
One more decent hill out of the way and we turned towards home and into the very stiff headwind. Lee was struggling a little now so tucked in behind me as we pushed into it. About 10 miles out from the end the inevitable rain started, and my speed involuntarily slowed as the stinging rain drove into my face.
By the time we reached the end we were pretty soaked, and Lee had a fine splattering of mud that had made it past my speedracer mkII mud guards! Unbelievably that was the first ride of this winter where I have felt cold.
Ride Stats : 61.78 miles in 3hrs 56mins @ 15.7mph average. 2,561ft of ascent, average HR 155bpm and 3,617kcals energy used