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!

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