Saturday, 14 July 2012

A tribute ride to Tim's Toumalet challenge.

Today, Palefish CC rider Tim is in France to ride the "Act 2" of the Etap.

As you can see from the graphic, it is a challenge, taking in one of the most famous climbs of the Tour De France, the Col du Tourmalet.

To get ready for this ride Tim has regularly been riding out into Wales to get some climbing miles in his legs, so for today's Palefish CC ride I thought it would be good to pay tribute to Tim's challenge by doing some Welsh Hill miles ourselves.

If you are a regular reader of the Blog, you will understand how much I wasn't looking forward to this ride. Even though I have lost a lot of weight, and had plenty of practice on the hills, I still hate them!!! But if one or your mates is going for it in such a big way, you just have to go for it!

The plan was to start early, 7.00 at the Glegg arms in Heswall, so that we could get along the Chester High Road before it got too busy. There were 8 of us that met up, which is a great number to manage on a ride like this, and we are all of similar ability.
We rode down the High Road in pairs, working together to keep the legs fresh, past Eureka Cafe and down to the Dee Path. The Weather looked like it was going to be on our side today, and as we reached the Bridge over the Dee I took of my Gilet as I was warm enough, and over heating doesn't help with climbing!!

Once we had passed Bretton the climbing began. We headed up to Hope then the first of the big climbs today, The Steps!
I have been up this road before, and I really didn't like it. It is one of the worst kinds of climb as just as you think it is flattening out, it rears up in front of you again! In total the climb is 3.6 miles, and it has an average of 3% (nothing compared to Tim's ride today! His first climb is 10 miles long and an average of 7%!!)
Happily all the winter riding, and weight loss seems to have worked. Although I am still at the wrong end of the rankings on Strava I did improve my time by 4 minutes and nearly 2mph ave.

The road to the Horseshoe pass continues to Climb past the Llandegla Mountain Bike Centre, with a little downhill rest before the Climb starts in earnest. Coming from the Ruthin side the climb is shorter than from Llangollen, only 1.5 miles and an at average of 5.2%.

At the top we had planned to go down the other side and back up ( 3.5 miles down and then back at 4.9% ave) We had a vote and decided that we would leave the climbing to Tim and stop for a coffee and some beans on toast!! However, Dave and Jon did go down for a couple of miles and then back up again.

It is the first time I have stopped and had a coffee at the Ponderosa Cafe, usually we get here a bit later and the place is packed with other two wheeled machines, but today, as we there here earlier, it was quite.

Paul and Mark post Beans. Paul is brandishing his new Palefish CC Membership Card!!

Jon brought along some Haribo Gold Medals for us, to celebrate the first Palefish CC hilly club run!! There was a lot of talk about coming back and the different routes we could take. I think the Ponderosa may become a regular stop for the Palefish CC.

Not the usual two wheel variety seen at the Ponderosa!

Before we left the lads got together for a team Photo. These will look better in a few months time when we all have our club Jerseys. I received the draft designs this week from Ken at Bio Racer, and the lads have been voting on their favourites. We should have a decision by the end of the week and then the order will be placed!!

The advantage of a circular route is that if you have climbed all the way to the half way point, you are treated to a good downhill run, apart from the uphill bits, on the way home.

The Winding road to the Ponderosa can be seen in the distance.
 We came back via a more direct route through Pennyffordd and Hawarden then back up to the Chester High road.

Surprisingly, today's ride was uneventful, except for Jon's scary speed wobble coming back down from the Ponderosa Cafe. I'm not complaining, as it meant we could spin along without having to stop for mechanicals or punctures, but it certainly doesn't make the blog as interesting!!

Congratulations have to go out to Mark. Today he did his furthest ride, with the most climbing he has ever done! Well done mate, although I still want to know what you have done with the old Mark?

Today was also the first time I have worn my new Met Sine Thesis, which I purchased this week from The Bike Shop in Moreton, using my Palefish CC discount!!

Although it is slightly heavier than the Giro Aeon I had, I didn't notice as the ICElite composition and the Gel02 pads made it very comfortable. Check out this link for a full review
I also like the design, and matt paint with green detail, as it should fit with the new Jersey theme!

Paul L, Dave L, Pete, Jon, Mark, Dave C and Paul R
This graphic shows our Climbing for today, not quite as impressive at Tim's will be!

Today's ride details

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