Cheshire Cat Sportive

For some reason I thought that shorts, summer jersey and fingerless gloves would be adequate attire for this ride. I packed them in a bag the day before as we were staying at Deb’s mum’s that night, just 10 miles from the start. God knows what I was thinking when I packed that bag. I opened the curtains and was happy about the lack of wind and a blue sky, less happy about the frost. It was -2 and I was underdressed. At least I had my armwarmers….

Once I’d arrived at Knutsford leisure centre to sign in, I joined one of the massive queues for the desks. About 30 minutes later, by now shivering with the cold, I finally set off. The sun was shining and after 20 minutes or so I was getting nicely warmed up. By the end of the ride I was glad I’d underdressed as it was nice and warm, the temperature soaring to a tropical 9 degrees.

The first 60 or so miles were pretty uneventful, apart from a puncture caused by a large piece of glass. Shimano wheels and Michelin tyres are a bad combination if you want to separate the two in a hurry, as I found out.

The climbing began in earnest with the much-hyped Mow Cop. OK, it’s steep, but it’s not that bad. Not really. There’s one short section that’s 1-in-4 but it’s quite short.


Trivia: My great-grandmother grew up in Mow Cop in the late 1800’s, I think in the house at the foot of the hill, by the level crossing.

I discovered just as I started the climb that I had another puncture! I was so keen to win a cheesy plastic medal for cleaning the climb that I carried on and repaired it at the top. More time spent fannying around trying to get the tyre off the rim. Grrrr.

More climbing followed, Biddulph Moor was a big one, so was the big one in Macc Forest (with ice), the downhill towards Bollington was a good 45mph job, I saw an Ariel Atom at the traffic lights near Alderley Edge – that was mildly exciting, the climb up Swiss Hill was cobbly and steep, I saw Budge and rode with him for a bit, I saw Twinklydave’s doppelganger riding in the opposite direction near Macclesfield (the real Dave was in Wales apparently) and I got chastised by a cyclist for doing “my turn” at the front of a group of 8 and then dropping them. This road cycling lark is full of rules and etiquette but to be honest I’ve only just got the hang of the weird hand signals (such as the waggly-finger “watch out for that big pile of horse poo” signal).

I finished in 6:43, including my puncture stops (which according to the GPS cost me 30 minutes! Eeek!).

Total distance 105 miles, 2307 metres climb

Average speed 16.8 mph

Average HR 148

return to Lee Quarry

I rode over to Lee Quarry last night, partly to meet up with Andy, partly to see what all the fuss is about the new bits of trail that have recently been completed. After the usual car-dodging near Rochdale and the big climb over Rooley Moor Road following the MTL into Waterfoot, I arrived at the quarry at about 9:30. I assumed Andy had been and gone, but thought I’m here now anyway so I might as well do a quick lap.

The new sections are superb, although some of it does seem a bit “unfinished”. Perhaps it just needs to bed in, or something. The best bit was a sequence of large, steep, downhill bermed turns. Quite tricky the first time around in the dark as despite the lighting wattage on the bars and my helmet it is quite difficult to see what’s coming next. As a result I kind of minced along even more than I do normally.

I finally met up with Andy at the end. He’d just finished bodging his rear mech as he’d crashed and bent it. “Ah fookin shite mesel” he said, recounting the horrible moment when he almost tumbled down the cliff.

We then rode back home along the road at a silly pace in order to get back before the rain started. I failed and got soaked again.

That quarry is dead good now though. The “ride over, lap and then ride back” is definitely one of my weekly routes from now on.


I’m taking the ‘guards and slicks off the cross bike this weekend. I reckon that when the weather takes it’s inevitable turn for the worst, it’ll not be that bad that I need a full-on winter roadie setup any more. Not until October anyway. Aside from that, the rear guard is rattling like an utter bastard. It’s got something to do with the fact that it’s been modified to accomodate the disc brake and because one end of it is zip-tied to the chainstay becuase there’s no brace to attach it to. I could probably attach it more elegantly if I thought about it for more than a nanosecond…but…anyway. I’m getting my cyclocross bike back. It’ll therefore be snowing next week.

Surprisingly windy last night once I got near Rivington. Loads of idiots all over the place on the way back. It was gone 11pm and there were Man City fans spilling out of pubs, into the road whilst eating chips EVERYWHERE.

A very very nice man

there’s been some big changes at work recently, resulting in me being out and about a lot more playing with ‘puters mainly. It’s exciting really, learning all the stuff I’ve been missing in the last few years and realising I’ve not forgot much of the old stuff after all….

Anyway, I was playing with the ‘puters at Hope the other day. I was simultaneously having problems with a Pro 2 hub whereby I couldn’t get the freehub off to replace the bearings and fettle it (it wasn’t LOUD any more, y’see). I asked if someone could take a look at it whilst I was there (it was miraculously in the boot of the car) and sure enough, Alan got one of his guys to deal with it while I was beavering away in the server room.

Anyway, it’s as good as new now. Freehub seizure problem cured, All the bearings, the ones in the main hub body as well as the freehub, all replaced, everything cleaned, greased and no doubt given a big, loving kiss as well. All for nowt. Alan at Hope – a very nice man. Buy their stuff. It rocks.

that’s more like it

The weather is great at the moment, no wind, not too cold, clear(ish) skies. Spot on for some cycling in the dark.

I did a loop around Holcombe Moor last night. Only 30 miles or so but I made sure it was a hard 30 miles and really put it in on the climbs. I’ve put some wider bars on the Global too – it’s transformed the ride. I can now descend and climb a lot faster.

God knows why so many people race with narrow bars. They’re officially crap. FACT. Flat 700mm bars (with bar ends YAY!) are the way ahead I tells ya.