Hawarden usually spells hills in Wales and the first twenty miles of today’s ride will confirm this. Meeting at the Gallery tea rooms, my brisk colleagues today were John M and Ray. Weather forecast was a fine morning and rain approaching from the west from 15:00. With drinking cups empty, the three of us set off just as Dave and Liz arrive, it was only 10:25!
Heading on Wood Lane to Burntwood, we take the junction for Mount Pleasant and we're only half way up this roll knowing the next twenty miles is of similar terrain. Cutting across Buckley Mountain, we cross the A494 (Mold Rd) at Altami then continue towards Northop and The Green. Another upward climb maxing 18% To Rhosemor. It was quite spectacular up on the Halkyns today, blue skies and little wind and no traffic. Just up hills. Continuing on, passing Rhes-y-cae and Lixwm, then passing an old watering hole The Crown inn.
Crossing over the A55, we pass Pantasaph and the Franciscan Friary. At the end of the road it’s right to Lloc, Sarn and Trelawnyd. Although riding on the A5151, it’s quiet of traffic but any approaching cars from the rear is picked up by Ray's new Garmin Varia and the call goes out “car rear, car rear” and whoosh it’s passed safely.
The final little roll uphill is to our lunch stop the "Eagle and Child" at Gwaenysgor. We were well greeted and rear doors opened so we had quick access to the outside but the warmth inside was more inviting. So Hot Pot and tea all round with a little dismay from the landlord. He thought we'd arrived for Christmas menu and a few beers. Those were the days.
|The peloton - somewhere!|
Clive had sent a WhatsApp message to the brisk group to say have a good ride but be careful down the steep 33% hill down to Gronant (as this was the original route). This put a little nag in our lunch time chat and a look on the map showed a lane cutting across the ridge to Gronant. So we changed the planned route to the new lane.
On leaving the pub, we immediately take a lane opposite the inn and enjoy super flat tarmac for a quarter of a mile before the grass starts in the middle of the road then this gives way to ruts then follows the deep ruts filled with water. If you've ever looked up at Gronant hill you would notice a huge mast, this is where we are. A walker is happily meandering towards us and we ask if the "road" is passible on a bike. Answer was an E mtb bike would or may make it and that did it, we continue on regardless. My thoughts this morning “We’re to get back to Chester for 15:00 and here we are at 13:30 walking a by way for a mile negotiating fallen trees after the wake of two recent winds and the clock is ticking”.
|The lane to Gronant|
Arriving at a spec of tarmac, Ray drops his rear wheel out and clears the mud from his brakes and John untangle branches from his wheels. Oh dear! Clive would be proper proud of this track. Back on a road we soon descend into Gronant and arrive on the A548 Prestatyn road and we’re again peddling at pace.
It's an enjoyable sprint on the coast road sharing the lead as we now have a strong head wind to battle. Passing through Flint and Shotton, we head up to Hawarden rail bridge and the Greenway home. Not today though as they are still renewing the deck. Not perturbed, we cycle up to the workers at the Chester end but the over-zealous worker wouldn't let us pass, 5 decking boards require fixing. So we turn around and back to the coast road and Queensferry. Our route now is the Blue bridge and the cycle path along the river all the way to Sealand Rd.
The head wind was strong and we were down to 15/16 mph and it was hard going, plus we had a light rain and the forecast was actually correct as it is now 15:00. Joining the Greenway on the Sealand Rd it’s not to long before we all go our own way home but the rain had eased and we were dry.
A good day out I hope, speaking for the others, and a route of 65 miles ridden although we didn't return to Hawarden (which would have been 45 miles all round) . On this occasion we climbed 3154 feet and only descended 2996 feet so we was robbed of a little. Probably the route after lunch!!
Thanks to John and Ray for no grumbles.
See you all at Meadow Lea next Thursday for our Christmas lunch ride.