Sunday, 16 September 2012

The last throes of Summer?

I had the weekend off from the bike last week to go back to Scotland for a family wedding. We stayed in a fantastic lodge, and discovered some great roads and routes to explore in the future. Possibly the first Palefish CC tour next year?

The week night club rides are still well attended, even though the light is rapidly disappearing. I think some of the lads have taken it as an excuse to indulge in some retail therapy. Lots of new bright lights on show last week! The temperature is also disappearing, not that it was ever that high through the summer. I even dug out my arm and knee warmers on Thursday night!! 

The weather forecast for the weekend looked good, so to celebrate possibly the last dry, warmish day of the  summer I planed a route into Wales that would be a challenge and offer us some stunning views.
There were three rendezvous points, the Twelfth Man at 7, The Glegg Arms at 7.25 and Eureka Cafe at 7.45. We must be getting better at organising ourselves as we met each time nearly dead on. 

So, 14 of us headed down towards the Dee path and into Wales. This was the first trip into this area for a couple of the lads. 

regrouping on the Dee Path

It wasn't long until we started to climb up into the hills. The first sections up to Hope are nice and steady, but then the first of the real climbs comes up quickly.
The Steps rise just over 500ft in three and a half miles. It is difficult to get into a steady rhythm, as the name suggests, the climb rises in stages, with some false flats in between each ramp. Using the new found climbing technique I discovered in Scotland I didn't break any  speed records but I did get up without using up all my energy!

Laz at the top of the Steps.
From the Steps we rode on to the Worlds End climb. This is another tough climb, over 600ft in just over 2 miles. But the views are worth every square pedal stroke!

The start of the Descent

Palefish on top of the Worlds end
The descent into Llangollen is a tricky one, with some loose gravely single track roads, and even a ford right across the middle of a bend at the bottom of the steepest section!

The last big climb of the day was the Horseshoe Pass. I have ridden this a few times before, and never made it up without stopping for a breather! I was determined to make the 3.0 mile 1000ft climb in one go, even if it was at a snails pace! I did it, and even got a PR on strava!!
I think that I am actually getting to like climbing, and if I keep practising, and not worrying about how fast I make the distance, in time I will get quicker by default! (there is always hope!)

At the top of the climb we stopped at the Ponderosa for a coffee and to refuel ( Chip butty was the order of the day for most!) However, Laz showed us how much effort he had put with an exceptionally large refuel!! 

The benefit of all the climbing that we had done to get to the Horseshoe pass, and just over halfway round the ride, was that for the most part, it is all down hill to get home, except for the up bits!
We got back to Eureka, where we had planned to stop for a quick pit stop, but everyone, except Laz who needed to charge his phone, and himself as he had decided to go on and do a hundred miles, chose to continue and get back home.
I am very happy to say that Laz exceeded his goal and rode 127 miles, a fantastic achievement, especially with all the climbing in the morning.

I can also report that Palefish CC rider Dave Lindesay has successfully completed his Lands end John O'groats ride. Now that's a challenge I may have to rise to one day!

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