With the flash snowstorm on Friday it was touch and go whether this ride would be on. But a big Saturday and overnight thaw meant that we lined up on a relatively mild Sunday morning ready to go. I say relatively mild because although it wasn’t cold, there was a very strong wind, and the chance of rain. As we rode south-west the lanes were pretty clear, with only the odd patch of melting snow. Wet roads meant lots of puddles. Puddles often hide potholes, as Chris found out as he hit one and managed to puncture both tyres. As we continued, the block headwind was okay in some of the more sheltered areas but the long, straight 10km drag into Ellesmere was truly awful. Directly into the wind and exposed, it took serious effort to push through. And that was taking it in turns on the front – solo riders have my very great respect!
Turning back on ourselves, the wind on our backs was immediately apparent and allowed us recovery time after our earlier efforts. The roads had been pretty wet so far, with many large puddles, so when we saw another we just rode into at around 18mph. Very quickly we realised this wasn’t your normal large puddle, as we decelerated rapidly and realised the bottom bracket was submerged. The deceleration meant we had to pedal. Pedalling meant we had to fully submerge our feet in the water, and push through. It was freezing! Two more floods of similar depths and we arrived at the Raven cafe freezing cold and damp.
As we set off I realised my rear disc brake wasn’t working, and it appeared that riding through the water had removed the pad! There was one more flood which we wimped out of and navigated round – although I subsequently found out some riders waded through it! The rest of the ride was pretty tough, including a snapped spoke near the end for Chris. The time off my bike caught up with me and I was very, very tired at the end.
Ride stats : 129 miles in 8hrs 20m at 15.5mph average. 4315ft climbing, 6607kcals used, average HR 137bpm