Despite Dave M recommending to Laurie Mason (the organiser) that I do not lead a group, I found myself leading out Group 3 at 0830! There were twelve of us including Graham and Vicki. The other riders were from all over and I knew none of them. My first task a week ago, had been to decipher the the route sheet which was more like a knitting pattern instruction with lots of hieroglyphics. I seemed to have got it about right as we headed for Overton village hall via Holt and Threapwood.
Stamina is needed on this ride not only for the distance but for the mountains of food at each stop. So we all tucked in to cakes after 90 mins riding in the cool morning air. Off again the route was straightforward going via Ellesmere to Queen's Head. Thence into the lovely border lands in South Shropshire.
Lunch was at the village hall in Four Crosses and we arrive just as Group 1 (who had started at 0800) were entering the hall for lunch. On the way down we had also overtaken Group 2 (who had started at 0815). Lunch was substantial, but soon my group were keen to get back on the road again. So off to back to Overton via Crewgreen and Rednal airfield and Ellesmere. Here, all the group fancied an ice-cream so went down to The Boat House by the mere. I decided to make for Overton village hall for a longer rest. I was the first to arrive of all riders, and had remarkable restraint in not attacking the piles of sandwiches and cake before the others finally arrive.
So the final leg is back to Duddon and it's high 20C and it's hot! We decide to call the Carden Arms to see if they are open - and they were. So we all pile in for a welcome pint. Arriving back at Duddon with just a 100 miles under the tyres, we find yet again we are the first group back.
We collect our certificates and many decide they would like to go home for a shower rather than wait for the other three groups to turn up for the certificate ceremony!
See route map and/or gpx file download