Sunday, 21 April 2013

Palefish Cross the Mersey!

It has been a while since I have been on a long ride. The plan today was to follow the route of a ride the club did last year, when we visited The Greedy Pig in Kelsall, with a couple of amendments.
Today was also a special ride, as we were joined by the member of the club who lives the furthest away, Rob, who drove down from Scotland to join us for the ride (and catch up with family in Liverpool!)
The weather once again threatened to be awful! After a sun filled Saturday, once again enjoyed by some of the club who couldn't make today's ride, We faced wind and rain! However, I decided to be optimistic and rode my summer bike, and didn't take a rain cape, I just wore my Club jacket (not rainproof, but very warm)
It was a little chilly as I waited in the car park of the Twelfth Man, to be joined by other insomniacs who were up and out at 7am on a Sunday morning!
Seven of us headed over to Birkenhead to meet 5 more at the mouth of the Tunnel.
I can still vividly remember the day I raced Alex Dowsett through the Tunnel, and as we rolled into the mouth of hell, I couldn't help putting my foot down a little bit! The Tunnel has been resurfaced, which I think would help me make up a few seconds on my last time trial time through there!
We exited the tunnel onto Strand St, and once again, I wish I had my video camera on the handlebars. Cycling in front of the Three graces is a great experience (If you are sad like me!) and the buildings tower over you and the Liver Birds look down at you. I will remember to take a photo along there one day!
We rode on, into the wind, to the Hotel Rob was staying at, just outside Liverpool Airport. The only puncture of the day was just round the corner, on an open bit of road next to the Airport, with the wind blowing at us relentlessly! The Garmin worked well, and only user error took us on a little detour at a roundabout in Widnes!

Another impressive structure along the ride today was the Runcorn Bridge! when you ride along the path at the side of the road, you realise just how high you are, which doesn't suit my dislike of heights  and also how high the arch of the bridge is.

Heading up to the Runcorn Bridge.

 Once over the bridge it was just a matter of climbing up and over to Frodsham, and then once again, up and over to Delamere! The Railway Cafe was a welcome sight, Half way into the ride, and wanting to be good, I only had a coffee and a toasted Tea Cake!!

Palefish CC at the Railway Cafe Delamere.

 Chris and Tuni left us and headed back, as a christening was waiting for them, and the rest of us rode on towards Kelsall, and then on to Chester. As we were not stopping at the Greedy Pig today, I changed the route a little, aiming to get onto the Greenway cycle path through the middle of Chester.

Steve Enjoying the ride
This is where the problem of trusting in a computer mapping system and routing device arise. In hindsight, I will in future check that all roads we are going to ride are suitable for road bikes. There was a section of the ride, just over a mile long, that for half of it was an unmade, dirt track, with a section of cobbles, including three bridges! I have not ridden cobbles before, not like these, and it certainly was interesting.

Not everyone wanted buckled wheels!

The same path in Winter (Thanks for the Photo Iain)
I will be taking both wheels into The Bike Shop in Moreton tomorrow after work to get them trued!

The roads seemed very smooth after this, and we motored on towards Chester, and joined the cycle path just as the rain started. I was very happy with the performance of my Jacket. Even though it isn't waterproof it did a good job of keeping me dry and warm.

The path through Chester wasn't too busy so it wasn't long until we were in Sealand and making a decision whether to go to Eureka or straight home. Home won (as most of us needed to get back reasonably early) and we took the new path through the Deeside industrial estate, and through the marshes to Neston.

The Boardwalk through the Marshes

When we reached Heswall the group split, and people headed home, I rode back to Greasby with Paul, and we were happy that we still had some energy left to enjoy the road from Irby to Gresby!

I arrived home, in time to relieve Mrs Palefish of childcare duties so she could go to the match, which was good, and then was asked by the boys if I had fallen off my bike as I was covered in mud! The bike wasn't much better, so I gave it a quick wash down and lube, ready for the next club ride.

A different kind of Spray Tan?
Finally I have to mention Phil! If he was ever to get off his full suspension mountain bike, which he rode with us today, and was at the front of the group for most of the ride, and got onto a Road bike, I don't think we would ever see him! I did the Liverpool Chester Liverpool ride last year on my Mountain bike, 52 miles, and it hurt! Today Phil has ridden 82 miles and was Wheelieing up hills right up to the end!!!!!

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