For once, in addition to the usual fine hospitality and fantastic food, John managed to organise a ride with good weather. I must say that it took most of us by surprise and we all got a bit giddy and rode to the first checkpoint in record time. This despite the local council’s best efforts to scupper fast progress by resurfacing long stretches of road by simply dumping gravel on it, as appears to be the fashion these days. More on road re-surfacing later.
Following the first control the next section of merit was to follow the canal path into Chester, although I simply stopped for a bar and a chat with Nephi, and a bit of a watch of the rowing club practising effortlessly on the water.
As I’d stopped most of the audax had continued on so I rode along solo until the road started to kick up and then slowly, in small clumps, I caught and passed them until I found myself back at the front and on my own. I was expecting the climb up to World’s End to be tougher into the wind but it was fine, and there at the top was the Van of Delights waiting with sandwiches and cakes, most importantly the famous rockie road.
From the van there was a bit of a slog into the wind over the moor but then a lovely fast descent through the forest and down the Ford at the bottom. The last two times I’ve ridden across – this time I took no chances and carried my bike over the stepping stones.
Beautiful country lanes weaved up and down following a stream until it opened into the Llangollen Panorama.
A final stop for coffee and then it was a relatively flat and fast ride back across Cheshire. Of course, it being a John ride, there had to be some off-road bridleway. Coming out of this and onto the road the council were out dumping gravel. It turns out that they apply a layer of sticky tar first, which stuck to my tyres, along with the gravel, and decelerated me alarmingly! After I’d picked them all off it was, sore knee aside, relatively plain riding back to the finish at John’s. A brilliant day.
Ride stats : 132 miles in 7hrs 59mins at 16.5mph average. 6,458ft ascent, 4,628kcals energy used. Average HR 122bpm.
Strava ride here
NB – photos and videos via GoPro Hero 3+