Sunday, 20 April 2014

The Boat at Erbistock

I received an email whilst I was away in the Yorkshire Dales over Easter:

Hi Sue,

hope you are doing good and had a good Easter trip in the dales. Just thought I would mail you and thank you for letting me join your Chester rides. I had attended the Easter Sunday ride led by Stu who is such an amazing person, he took us along the beautiful country paths in and out of wales. 

Since it was my first ride in almost 3 years I was wondering whether to do 50 miles the first time, but I was like just go for it. There were times a slowed the team down, esp on the up hills!!! but they were so supportive and I managed to finish the ride in one piece!! I woke up today with aches but it felt amazing the only problem I had was a VERY VERY sore bottom!! Had bought the bike the day before with not the greatest seat!!

I still need lots of practice esp on up hills I had to even stop and walk the bike along on some occasions, so hopefully will be there for maybe the shorter rides with the ladies and hopefully the Wednesday evening rides before I go back to the 50 mile rides.

Thank you again and thank you to the team everyone of them for putting up with me and being patient.

Hope to meet you soon heard lots about you and hopefully will have a new saddle by then and padded pants!!

And some photos...

The starting line (pic by Ray)

Morning coffee at Holt (pic by Shanti)

All sat for lunch (pic by Shanti)
Outside at the Boat (pic by Ray)

(L) on the way home (?) (Pic by Ray).......(R) On arrival back at Chester, when Stu realised he had his camera with him! (Pic by Stu)

"Hi Sue, couple of pictures from the ride on Sunday. Very enjoyable day and nice to see a few new faces. Only really got about about 10minutes of rain - immediately after a fine lunch. Thanks to Stu for a good route. Ray"

Monday, 14 April 2014

Early season something

...mumbled Jo at the sports club in Farndon, looking through her Garmin for the route for today.  'Early Season Tourist Trial' is the name given to a somewhat challenging ride, early in the cycling season i.e. Spring. 

I had been allocated 'group 2' along with Jo and Stu, with a start time of 9:30/9:45, so parked at Aldford to give me a few miles pedaling to warm up, but not the full 10 from Chester (which I would also have at the end of the day!).

After finding Stu, I also came across Jen and Nathalie, who had a later start time but asked to join our group.  Stephen arrived just in time, having come in from Dodleston (where the route heads straight back to!), so 6 of us set off on the newly adjusted route since last year.  We were a bit late leaving, but bowled off up the road and back down to Farndon.  Crossing the bridge we headed to Rossett and Kinnerton. Unfortunately Nathalie had her first ever puncture, so we stopped to help and wait (as all the other groups came past!) - but we were soon on the road again.  I had got a little cold waiting, and of course suddenly very hungry as soon as we set off (why didn't I have a little snack while we were stood around?!?) and consequently the hill past the Royal Oak was quite a struggle!

last hill up to Llay.

After that climb (and a 'pocket rocket' caffeine choc) it was familiar lanes that I used to use to go to Llay many years ago, before a fab descent into Burton (40mph - weeeeee!!!)

We regrouped here as Jen was feeling it, and we climbed halfway up Marford hill before dropping and skirting round to Borras Head.  The it was downhill all the way to lunch!

Dropping down from Borras Head,
with Beeston off to the right.
After a super lunch of tomato soup, sandwiches, cake and coffee (plenty to go round!) we set off for the second half.

This took us to Tilston, then along Overton Scar.  Still some daffodils out and the sun was now trying to break through the grey.  Heading to Worthenbury I was trying to picture which gateway we took photos of the floods from in February.  

We got a bit split up near Cloy, but re-grouped for the arrival and circuit of Overton (seemed funny not stopping as this used to be the lunch stop).  Then back through Bangor (on Dee) with a big climb out and the final homeward stretch.

At the finish (not all of us)(we all did finish...)
A smashing improved route, lots of work and planning by Janet G - really good to have a 'HQ' that you return to lunch to.

50 miles!

Monday, 7 April 2014

The Raven at Llanarmon yn Ial.

Alex Ford writes

"Sundays CTC Ride - Wot no Rain?
Thank you to Bob for yesterday’s CTC ride, nine brave souls turned up at 9.30am in front of Chester Town Hall under heavy leaden skies. BBC weather centre had forecasted heavy rain and any sensible soul would of stayed snuggled in bed on this Sunday Morning. With the Sunday Papers full of Climate Change news and Sahara sand (article in Sundays Times blaming the pothole crisis on Climate Change) I steeled myself for the ride, sporting my Red Altura jacket, we waited for the off, thinking its high time I invested in a Gore-Tex Jacket. We discussed would it rain and the fact our weather can be very localised! 

We headed towards the Cross and the unusual sight of the day a man dressed as a Monk, with a huge Eagle Owl perched on his arm strolling through the town centre. No rain yet!

We headed towards Handbridge - Lache Lane-Cheshire lakes-Dodleston (a few spots of rain)- then a pit-stop at Pulford.  Where nine cyclists became thirteen and a quick water bottle and banana stop, (blue sky, that wasn’t on the BBC website!) Onto Burton Green and pass a hidden pub “Golden Grove?” (a new one on me) then passed a village called “Golly” followed by a long slow Hill climb which took it out of me, however the pack waited at the top for me and some took a “tea” stop.

Forward on through Llay and past a magnificent white building, with Miners Institute written on the front, a bacon butty was high on my thoughts as we whizzed down another hill and then crawled back up. To my final leg, too Alyn Waters Country Park and its Café. The Café was nice I couldn’t complain about the Filter coffee at £1.20 for a huge mug and the sausage and bacon toasty at £2.70 yum, although for those who like a real slab of homemade cake alas this is not the café for you, the staff were friendly and a welcome break for the party of 13 J.

And for some that know me, I do like different Cycle stands so another one to add to my collection;

It was at this point I had to bid them farewell and the hill climbs that loomed for them, as I headed back to Chester, of course myself taking a few wrong turns, but finally ending up cycling through Gresford, Eccleston and finally home [smiley face]          
Pic by Ian Mason

As for the rain only a few spots, saving itself for today and the soaking I got walking back from Morrison’s this lunchtime.

Till  the next Sunday cycle adventure [another smiley face!]"

Dave Browne  writes "Thirteen plucky riders assembled outside the town hall,  despite the onerous forecast, for another trek into them thar' hills with two leaving the ride at Alyn Waters tea stop and three joining the ride en- route. The Alyn Waters cafe was very pleasant and excellent value.

Winding our way through the Welsh lanes, soon enough the inclines appeared and it started to get very warm under the collar!. The forecast was for rain,  which did not materialise apart from the odd light shower which only served to refresh our beaded brows- and the " currant bun" even made an appearance- more than once!

Pic by Dave Browne
Pic by Dave Browne

Arriving at the Raven in Llanarmon with time to spare gave some of us the opportunity to sample the fine ales on offer- and also the Malt Whisky ! An identity crisis then ensued- are we Chester CTC or the cycling branch of C.A.M.R.A ?  Others opted for something sweeter from the desert menu. The food and service was excellent with a return visit planned.

Immediately after the lunch stop we were faced with the steepest of today's hills, with the " apple crumble" effect hindering the climb,  second only to gravity! However we were generously reimbursed for our efforts with a long and exhilarating descent through Nercwys. On through Leeswood to take "tea" at the Bridge inn Pontblyddyn,  with return route to Chester via Penyfford and Kinnerton.

Pic by Ian Mason

Another excellent and memorable ride courtesy of Bob."

Ian writes "It was a good day. 2, 758ft of climbing according to strava. Approx 45 miles. Good pub crawl with 3 rounds at lunchtime and another pub stop and round at 4.30."  

(A man of few words, but higher word:picture ratio!)

And Finally, Nosheen shared her photos looking back over Rhosesmor on her way home:

"I took these pictures on  Rhosesmor mountain, I know its not with the group but that's what I left behind the stormy clouds :). I left the Group just before Leeswood, thanks to my mio it got me home. The ride was lovely, food was amazing at the Raven inn. It was a mixture of busy roads by Wrexham and then lovely lanes, some quiet hilly. It was a challenge hilly ride and of course I had more hills to climb on the way home."

Thank you to all contributions for this blog post!