Setting off in the grey morning light, with the wind howling around, was a little trepidatious, but to quote Phil Onixtwin “It’s January, what do you feckin expect?!”
The wind was blowing hard across us from the north-east as we headed south-west – an almost perfect crosswind. Sticking with the pack seemed like a good idea for the 5 of us Clarionista’s from North Cheshire, but unfortunately the pace proved a little much for some and so we fell back into a secondary peloton, with Graeme and myself driving the train. It was hard work and the gusts were scary at times.
First stop was the station cafe at Delamere. The next stretch took us down to Ellesmere. Martin struggled really badly down this section before getting a second wind, and we regrouped at the garage control before turning back and heading to the Raven truckers cafe.
An occasional tailwind was very welcome at this point and the food at the Raven was very good. We set off again and split into two groups, with Graeme, myself and Gary pushing on.
The ride wasn’t particularly hilly but with the wind it felt pretty tiring. As the sun set the lanes pretty quickly became pitch-black, with just my Chinese army searchlight to light the way. In the confusion Graeme and I lost Gary, thinking he’d gone past us as I stopped to adjust the light on my helmet.
As we arrived back at HQ there was no sign but he rolled in fairly soon afterwards. Martin, however, managed to do an extra 40km after taking a wrong turn. After the day he’d had you have to admire the resilience he showed to stick with it!
Ride stats : 129 miles in 8hrs 25m @ 15.3mph. 4,000ft of climbing, 5,650kcals of energy and average HR of 142bpm