It was a grey, dry and cool start for an August day on the 19th. Four members took a 20 mile route to The Rookery at Ettiley Heath. Unfortunately, while they ate, the rain started and they came out to sopping bikes. Not all of them had jackets but they managed to stay warm enough on the 10 miles home and overall it was not too wet.
The following day dawned bright and sunny when eight members set out for Lavender Barn. Some of the lanes were very muddy after yesterday’s rain but, despite this, they reached Lavender Barn in good time. Lunch was served very quickly and eaten in the sunshine. The only problem on the way home was a very large puddle, which turned out to be deeper than one rider anticipated and he got an unexpected soaking when he rode through at speed.
It was a nice sunny day the following Saturday when eleven members travelled to the Pickle Jar bistro on the banks of the Weaver near Northwich, although it wasn’t quite warm enough for everybody to sit outside for lunch. On the way home the Withington Wheelers 10 time trial was in progress at Lower Withington, so for a while they were passed by a succession of human missiles.
Eleven riders set off on the Sunday club ride to Fordhall Farm at Market Drayton on what turned out to be a rather eventful outing. One of their number had a gear problem and a call to Fordhall to reserve a table for lunch revealed that only Sunday lunches were available. Later, the same member suffered a blowout which needed a patch. During this stop, however, the group received a call back from Fordhall to say that their new Graze Cabin would be open, so they continued on. But 4 miles from their destination, a seemingly innocuous puddle of mucky water (possibly the only puddle in the whole of Shropshire, Staffordshire and Cheshire) brought down one of the group. Bruised and covered in muddy puddle water, he bravely decided to continue. His reward was a delicious alfresco lunch.
For the first Saturday ride of September, on the 02nd, eight riders enjoyed an uneventful ride to Minshull’s Garden Centre.
On Sunday, despite the dire weather predictions earlier in the week, ten people set off for the Cheddleton Tea Rooms. The weather along the top was considered to be like the Mistral, except slightly cooler according to one of our European touring cyclists. After lunch and a few more sharp hills, they headed back via Endon and Lask Edge, having covered approximately fifty miles with fourteen hundred metres of climbing.
The next Saturday was definitely autumnal, so it was no surprise that only two riders turned up, then bailed out half way due to the foul weather.
But the rain blew away overnight, so the two Sunday rides had much better conditions, though the weatherman used all the following words in the morning – force, gale, today, winds, rain. The weather turned out cool and blustery for the Sunday Steady Social Ride to the Fairways Garden Centre at Sutton, though the three riders did shorten the return ride slightly, missing the rain which arrived not long after they got back. Ten riders embarked on the normal Sunday ride, to Fletchers Garden Centre at Eccleshall. The group split into two, three members taking a less hilly route than the one advertised to rendezvous with the rest in Eccleshall. For them the hills came thick and fast or, perhaps, steep and slow, so they had climbed over 1000 metres by the time they stopped for lunch. After very welcome refreshments, the whole group set off for the trip back together and were relieved to complete the ride in the dry, despite one puncture.
On the competitive side, with autumn upon us, the last Club event was the 2-Up 10 mile Time Trial on the 15th August. Unfortunately, this turned into a 5 because of roadworks. It’s always their last evening TT of the season and, though treated as a fun event, there were still some fast times.
The Pro Vision pair of Jon White and Mark Wood recorded 10:56 ahead of Stephen Sladin and Andrew Burgess (Pro Vision) 11:46 and Sam Alston riding with daughter Charli (Racing Chance) 12:12. Sam and Charli are pictured at the start. Seven riders did solo rides, of which Philip Gleave was quickest in 10:55.
But this was not the last event of the season in the area. One the 20th August there were some great results for the club in the West Cheshire 12-hour TT, which incorporated the Manchester and District Time Trail Association 12 hour Championship. Ben Norbury was second with 279 miles, only about a mile behind the winner Victor Chetta (Mid Shropshire Wheelers). Ben is the M & D Champion. Steve Sladin also put in a heroic ride just 5 days after crashing in last Tuesdays club evening TT. Suffering from bad bruising and grazing he finished the 12 in some discomfort, with around 227 miles. There were 18 passages though three-way traffic controls on the course and, but for these, distances would have been bigger. Ben might have threatened Neil Skellern’s club record of 286.45 miles set in 2011. Neil was on Ben’s support crew on Sunday.
Elsewhere on Sunday, Sam Alston finished 4th in his age group in the TLI National Road Race Championships on the Holt/Farndon Circuit. Sam is pictured in the race. He said “Another attack that didn’t get anywhere!!! Bet I win the skinny leg competition!”
Finally, the club had 4 riders in the Withington Wheelers 10 on the little used J6/10 course at Lower Withington on the 26th. Adrian Pennington was there and got these pictures. In the order shown they were Duncan Poole, Kelvin Milward, Stephen Sladin and Paul Dentith.