There had been heavy rain and high winds the two days previously, so the Long Ride was postponed to the following week. Thursday's forecast was for yet more rain and all-day at that. I decided to ride out to Cleopatra's and see if anyone had decided to venture out; if not, I would have a Full English and ride home again. So I was somewhat surprised to see Bryan W, Keith and John W already there. Dave M soon turned up, but was out for coffee only.
The inevitable question arose, and “No”, no one had a prepared route. Did we want to ride?, “Yes”, but no too far. So I decided upon the Whitchurch area and used the new features of ViewRanger to plot a route straight over the OS map display. There were questions about how many flooded lanes we would find. I was reminded of a ride in Jan 2013 when Roy ended up riding calf deep in the lanes close to the River Dee at Holt.
So we set off up Wetreins Lane bound for Tilston and thence to Chorlton and Oldcastle Heath to emerge on the south side of Malpas. Brian explained that as his new electric Cannondale was “limited” to 15.5 mph under power, he would have to peddle hard just like the rest of us if we went much faster. The silent powertrain helped him up and down the vales of the Wyches as we peddled on to Iscoyd Park. A shimmy around Whitewell, found us on the way to Fenn Bank.
Up to now we had been through quite a few large puddles, but overall the roads and lanes weren't too bad. We turn left up a recently resurfaced narrow lane towards Alkington. Cresting the rise there is a large puddle. As leader, I venture through and proceed to have my “Roy” moment as the water comes up and over the front chain ring! The others are somewhat reluctant to follow and you can almost hear Bryan thinking about the water resistance of his power motor in the crank.
|It's not me!|
I shout instructions for a detour and head off myself to meet them about 2 miles away. We are soon into Whitchurch and now not going to the Wheatsheaf pub as I had earlier indicated. So we head out via the Tilston Road to Alderford Lake cafe. There are a surprising number of people here, and I find later on from Facebook that the lake had filled up alarmingly after all the heavy rain. You can wild water swim here and it was recently used for the swimming stage of a local Triathlon.
Lunch comes pretty quickly but I am denied a second time as the Full English is not available after 1130. The food however is good and for my three co-riders, it is their first time here. I spend time plotting a near direct route home. So out back through Whitchurch and onto the A41where we shimmy our way either side of it to No Mans Heath. Out via Ebnal Lane, we are soon back to Tilston and Wetreins Lane. The loop around would have been 42 miles
We all wanted to go directly home, so continued via Barton and the very long corkscrew lane out of Coddington to Churton. John W whizzes off home as Bryan suggest a coffee at the village cafe in Aldford. I'm up for it, but Keith decides to head back to Christleton and thence Runcorn bound.
Bryan leads me back into Chester where I discover we have all ridden 60% of the planned 100 miler. You may have noticed I haven't mentioned the forecasted rain. Well, we did have light rain on and off all day, but it didn't spoil the adventure at all.
See route map and/or gpx file download