With Nick for company, we headed by car to High Legh Garden Centre for our caffeine fix and rendezvous for the 58 mile, brisk ‘special’ ride.
As both groups gathered for the ‘grand depart’, Nick got the zip of his Gore jacket jammed in the fabric but in freeing the zip, he somehow managed to break the zip on his seat pack rendering it useless. Meanwhile, John M, John W, Ivan, Ray and myself waved off the moderates while Nick organised his gear.
Finally we set off in pursuit of Clive and the moderates, the first part of route being shared by both ride groups. We caught up with them just before Rostherne Mere and continued our brisk pace through the quiet and very flat lanes of East Cheshire until the first and only advertised mile climb of the day up towards Alderley Edge and the Wizard Inn. The 7% gradient slowed us down but eventually we pressed on towards Prestbury. Just before reaching Nether Alderley ‘Plotaroute’ directed us through a private property fortunately the error was spotted and we continued on the posted route into Prestbury and onto horrible cobbled speed bumps .
Leaving the town, we headed south of Bollington along Dumbah Road to meet the A523, where we had to go on two hundred meters of dual carriageway before branching off over a heavily brambled steep embankment to drop down to a minor road, Clarke Lane. As you can see by the photos John W and Ivan enjoyed breaking the trail through the nettles and brambles!
Clarke Lane led us directly up Kerridge Hill, a climb of about 1.5km with 100 metres of ascent, the first of 4 significant climbs before lunch which were a surprise as they were omitted from Clive’s advert about the ride!
After the descent of Kerridge Hill there was a cry of “glass“ but the warning was too late for us to avoid. The next long climb, to Tegs Nose, started almost immediately but inevitably by the time we reached the top Nick had a puncture. At this point we had 4 riders at the top of hill, 2 having already descended. No sooner had we remounted and shouted we were on our way, John M suffered the same fate as Nick. Meanwhile, Ivan and JohnW, presumably fed up of waiting for us rode back up the back up the hill to rejoin us.
The rest of route through Sutton Lane Ends and Gawsworth to Marton was incident free but it was nearly 2pm before we arrived at the Old Barn Cafe where the mods were already seated and awaiting their food. It seemed their arrival was only 15 mins before us as they were delayed by punctures.
The lunch chat of both groups was mainly focussed on the ride route and punctures and filled most of the lengthy wait time we endured for our food - it took almost an hour to be served which was strange given we were the only customers .
Finally fed and watered, the mods left first and then the brisk group shot off like a dogs after a hare, chasing the mods and wanting to make up for the time loss. The mods were caught at Swetenhams Heath where they turned right and were followed by most of the brisk group who then had to be recalled as our route took a different trajectory. Shortly after ‘Plotaroute’ tried once again to send us through private property, but fortunately the error was spotted in time to avoid the turn. The remaining journey along the flat lanes through Goostrey and Wynscham was uneventful.
The route today totalled 93km (58miles) and according to Garmin contained 880 mtrs (2887ft) of ascent. A great route that is worthy of a revisit.
Thanks Clive for your planning and to the brisk lads for their company.
See route map and/or gpx file download