Would it rain – that was the question – answer later!
Ivan had finally put his paint brush down and rode out with John W and myself to Rose Farm for a “gentle ride”. Well most of the pace was at 20mph so this was going to be the order of the day!
There were quite a few assembled today, so I led a brisk ride out to Alsager with Nick, John W and Ivan accompanying me. We got off on time, or would have done if my rear wheel hadn't deflated during coffee time. It was quickly sorted by John W – no doubt plenty of experience care of those massive Audax rides. Thanks John !
So out we go down the usual dry lanes to Wettenhall and Church Minshull and onwards to Bradfield Green. We motor through Coppenhall and thence into a few new lanes around Maw Green. Ivan's local knowledge was invaluable here. We are soon out of Haslington and riding Holmshaw Lane to Oakhanger.
We head north on Nursery Road to run right by the M6 then crossing over to arrive near The Plough pub in Alsager. Again Ivan's local knowledge confirms that the Wilbraham Arms is a better choice. So a mile or so later we are in the pub ordering up.
The food here was fine but the service longer than expected. However we were out of the shower that wetted the roads. Lunchtime banter was as varied as ever, but it was time to go as a menacing large black cloud seemed to be heading for us. We exit via Bechton Lane on our way to Wheelock Heath. Then there is a 6 mile long run down small lanes to Wimboldsley.
We can't avoid Winsford, so I navigate through various housing estates to finally leave the town behind by going down bumpy Blakeden Lane; this runs behind the Cheshire Police HQ. It is now an easy run back to Utkinton via Oulton Mere. Here Nick peels off homewards as we three head up the hill towards Utkinton.
I decide to have a coffee at Rose Farm as it is only 1500. Dave M had kindly offered to sort out my rear mech so I meet up with him for what turns out to be a transmission transplant. As I leave there is that big menacing black cloud again. So I head off bound for the other side of Chester. At Christleton the roads are awash and so it was so all on my route home via the A41 but thankfully no actual rain.
So only 45 miles around today but at over 16mph, and mid 70's mileage for me when I'm back home. How we missed a downpour I don't really know! A very useful workout for next week's 101 miler to Stone.
See route map and/or gpx file download