Last year I was due to ride the 200km version but a business trip to India put paid to that. Apparently the roads were icy and so given my training plan I decided I’d do the later-starting and shorter 160km Safari this year, albeit rounding it up to 200km by riding there and back. It was a chilly start as I rode through Manchester to the start at Cheadle, but the sky was clear and it looked like being a fine day. Met Graeme at the start, plus Chris and then Pablo, Nikki and Michelle arrived late. Plenty of other North Cheshire riders were milling around plus some familiar faces from the audax community.
I’d decided beforehand I’d ride at a pace that got me to the first cafe first to avoid the queues, and then back before I needed lights. After riding with Chris at the front for a while the plan went slightly wrong when I got overtaken by everyone in Tatton Park after the bracket holding my mudguard on sheared off and the guard jammed between the stay and the wheel. After trying to fix it for a few minutes it went in the bin. Another stop to make sure nothing else was rubbing and I needed to ride hard to pick the group back up. As I spotted the group in the distance I saw Pablo pull over to mess with his saddle. I think it needed adjusting up to be level with the 38 spacers at the front. I left him to it and made my way past the group and then rode off the front through Frodsham and eventually picking up the leading few near the Eureka cafe, and I rode there with Ste from the club.
Fortified with beans on toast we set off back, the route taking us past Chester zoo. I saw a camel. The weather had turned out really nice – clear, crisp and not-too-cold. After another brief stop for cake we arrived back at the HQ at around 3-20pm, which meant I made it home for about 4-15pm – job done.
Ride stats : 124 miles in 6hrs 59mins at 17.7mph average. 3,868ft ascent, 4,964kcals energy used. Average HR 135bpm.