Meadow Lea, as usual, had a good turn out, in lovely sunshine. Nice to see Keith & Mike, who we haven’t seen for some time, which brought my rough head count to 18, could have been more.
Unusually, ride groups seemed to naturally form, which seemed to revolve around perceived pace of the proposed rides on offer. The usual fast group of Ivan, Clive & John rode off.
Dave H rode off with the easy rider group and I lead the moderate group of 7, which was 8, but we lost Dave M before we even got out of the car park. Apparently he only rides south from Meadow Lea, so when we turned North, he jumped ship to Dave’s group- Lol.
So it was Fiona, Elwyn, Steve T, Steve Hu, Alan and the new man (Tony) all heading to Manor Wood (Lakeside Cafe), great spot on a nice sunny day. The plan was for a slightly higher pace than norm, but all staying together, on a virtually flat route, except for Chapel Hill ( shock horror- Lol) I did inform the group before agreeing to follow me that Chapel Hill peaks at 16% and averages around 8-9% for 1.4 k - a piece of cake really- Lol. Several of the group had not ridden Chapel Hill before, which provided some conversation as we set about some of my favourite lanes.
We quickly got to Aston, which entailed a minor U turn, as it would appear the road had moved since I last rode through there- Lol. On up to Kelsall, when I heard somebody shout out “ how far to Chapel Hill”, “ 1 mile” was my response. After a couple of groans, Fiona piped up “can you let me know when we are about to turn into said hill” Just as I was about to inform Fiona, there was a shout of “puncture” from behind, which was not ideal, right at the foot of the climb.
Alan was having his second puncture of the day, as he had one before getting to Meadow Lea, I believe. After finding a small scrappy hole in the tyre, it was decided to apply a patch to the tyre before replacing the tube.
All fixed we set about the climb, which everybody seemed to enjoy, even Alan, who was the most anxious about it, but got up it without too much difficulty. After pointing out the llama’s in the adjacent field, we head along the Sandstone ridge for the fast descent to Cotebrook, which put a few smiles back on most faces.
We swiftly get through Eaton and on beyond Tarporley, with the sun still shining. At Brassey Green we turn left, down to the Shady Oak pub and my favourite hump back bridge. This leads us into our last little uppy bit, to the foot of Beeston Castle. Right turn takes us off toward Tattenhall, which we bypass by taking a couple of lovely narrow lanes ( or at least most of us did) We catch up with the offending individuals, just a mile down the road, thanks to Tony chasing them down and guiding them the right way. No names, but one of them was female and the other is tall with bonce like a bowling ball- Lol Now across the A41, the next shout from behind was “ how far to lunch”, which I think was Steve T, who was feeling peckish and to be fair, so was I. With the group informed that we were 2 miles away from our destination, we motor on past Aldersey Golf Course, Cuddington and arrive at Manor Wood, Barton, after 28 miles.
Surprisingly, we had the place to ourselves, which is very unusual, for such a nice spot by the water, complete with pink water lilies
Lucky old me managed to bag the last Welsh rarebit, which I did offer to Fiona, after she was told she had missed the last portion. However, she turned down my magnanimous offer ( well that’s how I remember it, she probably tells a different story- Lol) Food all served and conversation in full flow, I find myself feeling like the odd one out, when the conversation turns to divorce. After a query as to why he had moved home, from a cracking spot by the Pheasant Inn, Tony informed us that it was due to divorce and that it was his second one ( still smiling though) This lead to Fiona / Elwyn revealing they were both also double divorcees. There’s me, having recently celebrated our 38th Wedding Anniversary anniversary hence, the odd one out- Lol. However, I was to learn that I haven’t apparently learnt anything in life, as Fiona pointed out. Whereas Tony accepted his 2 ‘errors!’ in life ( his words) Fiona considered hers a fulfilling learning experience, inferring that my 38 years has taught me nothing about marriage- Lol.
All joking aside, lunch was now finished, even Elwyn, and the conversation went to who was heading back and unusually, nobody was. This lead to a lengthy discussion on possible routes home.
4 headed right toward the Cock ‘O’ Barton and onward to Wetreins Lane and Holt, in order to get across the River Dee and head home to Lavister & Chester for some. I turned left with Steve T & Tony, who I left only a mile later, as they went left for Bumpers Lane ( Churlton) and me to Tattenhall. I ended up with a total of 47 miles and less than 500 ft of ascent, despite Chapel Hill.
Great day, with some good banter amongst friends-Lol.
By the way, the Welsh rarebit wasn’t actually that good ( to much mustard cream-Lol)