Saturday, 31 March 2012

Lost again in Cheshire!!

It is always a challenge to plan the route for the club ride. You need to consider things like right turns across major roads, busy main roads, built up areas, hills etc etc etc. You also have to have some idea of where you are and where you need to be. As a southerner, my local knowledge of the back roads and lanes around Wirral and Cheshire is getting better. but not in any way is it great. I decided to use the Garmin as a route aid today, as I had planned a visit to the Ice Cream Farm in Newton-by-Tattenhal. Our last excursion to these parts ended up with a detour, so I thought it was best to be prepared and plotted a route for mine and Paul's Garmins. As usual, things didn't quite go to plan!!

It was typical that the weekend brought overcast colder weather. All week has been great, and today it was back on with the base layers, long sleeves, Gilet and Knee Warmers. Nothing could suppress my enthusiasm though, as I pulled on my new Giro Factor shoes. I went out for a spin last night to set the Cleats up and get the right insole riser sorted, and whilst I was out, I PB'd three climbs, including my West Kirby nemesis. Now I realise that it was all psychological but I'm sure the carbon soles make a difference (at least 2mph extra!!)

Paul mentioned in the week that he needs a nickname, like Palefish, as I mention him in each ride, and today presented us with the perfect name for him, more later!
So Dave and I headed up to Bilbo's and then met up with Ian and the four of us rode up to the shop. There was already a crowd waiting for us, and Barry to open the shop!
9 o'clock was the set off time, and we didn't do too bad, leaving at about 10 past. There were 20 of us in the beginning, including Zel (the Coach) who joined us for a bit, as he is racing tomorrow. We headed out through the lanes, down the missing link, and on to Capenhurst where we joined the main road in to Chester. We negotiated the City Centre without incident, and then turned off towards Saighton. I'm sure that someone somewhere doesn't like me being in this area. As soon as we missed the first turning towards Saighton, I knew we were in for a mystery tour. Not only do I not know the area my Garmin, and Bilbo's, decided to do their own thing! my screen went blank, then decided to tell me I was on course, then promptly tell me we were off course even though I hadn't turned anywhere!! Eventually with a bit of Zigging, no Zagging allowed, we arrived at the Ice Cream Farm.
There were a group of cyclists leaving, which was lucky, as the 18 of us left filled the bike racks.

It didn't take long to settle in to a nice cup of Coffee, no cake for me today. Ian (Nipper) gave Bilbo a master class in the Garmin 800 so we could maybe do a ride one weekend without getting lost! Dave L did comment that he hadn't been aware that we were not where we should have been and congratulated me on being calm in the knowledge that I had led 17 friends into the middle of who knows where!!

The Ice Cream Farm is definitely worth a visit, either on your bike or with the family, and best of all cyclists are made very welcome.

We thought that we had been helped along by a tail wind all the way out, as the pace had been quite high at times, but we were happy to discover that there was no headwind on the way back, a first I think for our Club rides. Following Nippers route back we were in Chester in no time and then back on familiar ground along the Dee Path. With no headwind the group held a good pace of just over 22mph all the way. It was at one of the sections where you have to negotiate some barriers that Paul's nickname was formed. He is the only rider who can duck down through one set of particularly narrow barriers, that I have trouble getting through. I commented that he looked like a Hobbit, and that was it, Bilbo was named!! I'm not sure how happy he is with it, but I am sure he will let me know!
From the Dee Path it was the usual climb up to the Chester High Road and then back to the shop. Again it was nice not to have to battle with a head wind all the way. 

As I sit here writing this, my feet don't have the usual aches that I got from my old shoes, and I can honestly say that if you can afford it, get some carbon soled shoes, even my legs don't feel as though they have done a pacey 70 miles (ignore the ride average of 15.5mph, I left the Garmin on in the shop and it appears that the shop moves at 5mph, which in turn dragged down my average!)

We were discussing plans for this years Sportives that we could all enter and ride as a group. 
These are the ones we decided we could all do: 

Liverpool Chester Liverpool 08/07 (A couple of us are doing the 50 mile route on Mountain bikes!)

And also the Vita Sportive if it goes ahead in August. If you fancy doing any of them, why not sign up and ride with us. 

Next weekend is Easter, so I have suggested that we do a short, inclusive, ride out to Eureka and back, as we did on Christmas eve last year. Everyone is welcome, whatever your ability, we will leave the shop at 9.30, hopefully see you there.

Today's Ride details:

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