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