I'd planned a 55 miler to Maesbury Marsh, and specifically the Navigation Inn. This was because I had never visited the pub before but heard good reports. Given the prospect of inclement weather however, Ivan suggested a shorter run to the Red Lion in Ellesmere. Not wanting to go the obvious route straight to Ellesmere, I was able to amend my prepared route to accommodate the assembling riders. So off we go i.e. John M, Ken, Ray, Ivan, Tom and myself, out and running parallel to the Wrexham Road and continuing passing the local government offices before taking a left at the roundabout towards Cefn Park. A few turns later we were in Marchwiel sliding around Erdigg Estate bound for Ruabon.
The long run down to the bridge over the Dee at Cefn Mawr always seems hard work probably due to the poor state of the road surface, and the long grind up and out towards Chirk also is hard work especially into the wind. What is about wind when you are cycling. It’s always in the wrong direction, and rarely truly behind you! Over the Chirk aqueduct, we are out and up into Western Rhyn before accessing my favourite lane towards the Oswestry Iron Age hill fort. A dash passing the new buildings at Gobowen Hospital finds us on NCN455 bound for Ellesmere via Hindford.
A snake-bite puncture close to the town delays us marginally as 32 miles have now been covered. Service is a bit slow in the Red Lion, but the prices are as keen as ever, but Lime and Soda has been hiked by 100% to £1 per pint!
It just starts to rain as we leave, so I lead the charge out of town by the back lanes to Trench. From here it’s almost a straight line run via Hollybush and Worthenbury and Shocklach, to Cleopatra’s where, after 70 mins post-lunch 18 mile dash, we have completed a moderate 49 miles. A bit wet, we decide to take a hot drink and we find a few Moderates just about to leave. The run back into Chester was very wet with roads awash, so at least the bike got a free jet wash on the way home!