Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Cheshire Cat

So, the wait is over...... the alarm clock fails!.......... up in a panic, just glad that all was prepared the night before and it was quite literally up, wheetabix and out! On the road towards Crewe at 6.40am a little latter than had planned, but not that late I was stressing. Clear roads, yeap even the M6, but unfortunately the sky wasn't looking the same, the forcasts during the week had not been good. Off at junc. 16 and heading for Crewe every car seamed to be carrying a bike, although why would anyone else would be up this early................... the clocks had gone forward so losing an hour.
Entering Crewe, the pre-event nerves rose and instead of heading straight for the start and the "large" car park, I joined the others trying to find off road parking. Minutes to the start of signing on I decided my original plan was best and headed to the Start..... and an half empty car park..... even better the £2.50 charge was lifted! Locking up I headed for signing on and joined the lengthy queue, which in fairness didn't take long to get through. Timing "chip" and number in hand off back to the car and time to change and prepare the bike.
Looking towards the start a few eager souls were already queuing, "leave it a bit" I thought, messing a bit longer, number straight, Chip in right position..... "lets check the queue" looking over the carpark it was now massive and 1/2 way around the car park. 40mins later we were off.
In groups of 40 or so we started, these groups soon losing a few and catching a few, finding your "pace" was easy, and "we" where speeding along nicely at 22mph, could I keep this up?. A few junctions, hills, catching and dropping riders saw us leveling out at around 18mph until Mow Cop came into view. The Castle ruins at the summit where visable for miles and the thought that we had to climb from the level we were currently at did make me doubt if I could climb "the hill". The final bend before the road went "UP" opened up and the view of riders slogging, pushing and falling was a bit how you imagined maybe the D-Day landings or the Somme to be! It was a killer of a hill, but the feeling on reaching the summit was well worth the pain, the smile on the 40mph downhill after broken only by the munching on my ZipVit ZV8 Bar!

The Cheshire View on Mow Cop - its steep!

The first fed stop was most welcome as I was quite literally bursting for a "comfort" stop, this done I was away, more in the country now and some great flowing up and down, another climb and I caught a group who where working well, for some 5 or 6 miles we pedalled at close to 30mph! Turns at the front, resting at the back, had the second fed stop not got in the way I think we may have carried on till the end at this pace.

A quick stop at the second fed station as I was having trouble with jumping gears, luckily nothing more than a slipped cable which once tighten was fine. Leaving the groups behind I was riding alone for a while but still managing a steady 20mph, well I though I was on my own, turning right at a junction I could see I was "pulling" around 12 riders with me..... I thought I had been struggling a bit but clearly not as much as these....... Crewe was in sight and the devil in me pushed on leaving my "friends" and catching another group until just before the finished when they left my as they sprinted for their personal glory........ but I had climbed Mow Cop and felt good, as a training run for the Dragon Ride I think it went well...... 193rd out of 736 who did the 67 mile option.

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