When my alarm went off at 6.30 it was still raining, and the wind didn't seem too bad. I got ready and left just before 8, and thankfully the rain had stopped. I met Dave, Derek and Iain at The 12th man and we rode up to The Glegg Arms in Heswall to meet Paul N, Phil and Steve.
The wind still wasn't too much of a problem, a little gusty but nothing too bad. We rode down to the new cycle path that goes through the Marshes and the MOD firing range! As we approached the path, and came out into the open, the wind hit. The Flags were not flapping on the flagpoles marking the range, they looked like they were made from wood.
The going got tougher the further into the marshes we rode, with a little rain thrown in just for good measure. The direction the wind was coming from didn't bode well for the main climb of the day up to Hawarden.
The new path is great, linking up with the Dee path at Hawarden Bridge train station, and it means we do not have to play with the traffic on the Chester High Road.
We were now in Wales and heading for the climb!
I wasn't wrong with my prediction about how helpful the wind would not be! The Climb isn't that bad normally, the average time (thanks Strava) it takes is about 5 minutes, today, with a strong headwind it took me nearly 8 minutes. At one point, just as the climb kicks up at the end, I think I was probably only just about moving forward. It sounds like I am exaggerating, but it was tough.
The climb then continues up to the North Wales Express way with the wind against us all the way. The last little stretch to the Left turn to head back towards Chester was probably the hardest. The wind was trying to blow me backwards off the bike!
There was a big sigh of relief from the group as we turned and the Wind was with us, for a bit. We rode through some trees, sheltered from the ravages of the weather, but the worst (funniest now) bit of the ride was just to come!
As we exited the cover of the Trees descending quite fast, as Phil shot off past me he was hit by a gust of wind that blew him from the middle of the road, right across the lane and onto the grass verge. Luckily Phil has great bike handling skills, honed on a MTB and Cyclo Cross bike.
We decided to ease off a little, which was wise as the wind didn't let up and for most of the ride into Chester we were riding leaning into the wind.
There was a hope that when we started up the Dee path the wind would be behind us. No such luck. The wind was now coming across us from the left. This meant that the first section of the Dee Path was like climbing up a hill! As we turned the corner and headed for Garden City, the wind was a little more favourable.
|Paul and Iain making the most of a breather|
The Wind was finally in our favour on the way up to Eureka Cafe and it helped with the ride up the "Never-ending Lane"
After a well earned brew and a slice of cake, only for fuel obviously, Phil, Derek and Steve headed home, and Me, Dave Paul and Iain headed off towards Capenhurst to do a loop through the lanes back to the 12th man. After all the effort in the wind, my legs were tired, but we didn't ease up, and kept to the planned route, so that the ride would be 60 miles. It is the furthest I have ridden this year, and I really enjoyed it, even with our added friend!
These are the stats from the Hawarden Weather Station.
25mph gusting at 9am, 36mph gusting 57 at 10am and 25mph gusting 52 at 11am.
I didn't post last weeks club ride as I had a lot to write about Scotland.
12 of us did a cafe and back, via the new Marsh path, and it was that warm, we actualy sat outside at Eureka! (don't believe the faces of the shivering Palefishers, it was warm!)
One thing is certain, it is nearly Shorts weather!!