Monday, 27 October 2008

Alas, poor summer has gone

Can a club ride categorically be called a club ride if only 2 people ride it? It turned out to be a family affair as only myself and Paul could make it. As it was just the two of us we decided to have a later start time - so even more extra sleep was in order!

I set off to meet Paul at 11:15 and we set out towards Dunham Massey; all wrapped up warm against the inclement weather. The weather soon showed its nasty side as we were battling our way along Pottery Lane in an icy 17mph headwind, which later had a touch of sleet and rain in it as we cycled through Didsbury.
Crossing over the Mersey at Northenden, we saw first hand exactly what the weather can do as the river was massively swollen with all its flood basins in operation, bridges closed off, cycleways and footpaths under water, eddies (whirlpools) and bricks and masonry floating rather quickly along the immensely fast-flowing current - and the levels had actually dropped by the time we saw it!

As the weather was not at its best, we decided to go the direct route up Dunham Road to the Park Road junction - having to bypass a very large flooded section of the road by Suffolk Road; up along Smithy Drive to the main entrance to the park and blam, straight into a tailback caused by so many people wanting to get into the park. We squished in alongside the waiting cars and found our way to the barn for lunch, only to find the queues were pretty close to trailing down the stairs. So, we decided to head back out for a wander round to the deer park.

We found this fellow lay in the trees with no other deer about until we noticed the signs that said the deer were all in a temporary enclosure due to it being the rutting season. All but this fellow; and stags are highly dangerous during this time.....!

For lunch we decided to try a pub in the nearby Dunham Town, but changed our minds when we saw that the Lavender Barn Tea Rooms (Dog Farm, School Lane. Open 10-4) were open and stopped for a welcome sandwich and brew. The tea rooms are in a very pretty converted barn on a small holding growing lavender.

After lunch it was time to head home, but as we got to Black Moss Rd we found the road had flooded the whole way across and for some distance down it, right by a bend. As we didn't really want to double back on ourselves for some distance, we decided to ride through the water. I went through first, water coming up almost to my ankles as my feet were at the bottom of the pedal stroke. Paul had it easier as his bottom bracket is higher on his mtb than on my roadie, as his feet didn't get quite as wet as mine! After that it was a case of heading along Dairyhouse Lane (with more flood water to get through), onto Sinderland Rd, Manchester Rd, Marsland Rd, then once back near Wythenshawe Park following the outward route back home.

See the route here

It was an excellent ride and one I will definitely do again, both winter and summer all year round.

Boring bit:
Temperature - 12 degrees
Max speed - 21.6mph
Average speed - 12.5mph
Miles - 32.41

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