Sunday, 31 May 2009

MCC Club Ride - Glossop

The weather forecast for the May Middleton CC club ride looked stunning - clear skies, wall-to-wall sunshine, light breeze - and it certainly lived up to it, as I rode to meet my fellow riders a few blocks away from my place.

Myself and Paul expected a very small gathering of club members (as has happened on the previous times we've led rides) and were pleasantly surprised to see a turn-out of 5 other riders - Simon B, Arthur, Joe, Steve & Janet C. Steve & Janet had ridden a 10 mile TT the previous day and Simon had ridden with Rochdale Triathlon Club (with Chris Newton (yes, THAT Chris Newton) leading the ride into the hills he loves), so it was expected to be a slow day, especially with me not really riding anywhere since the injury with the climbs that this ride held.

After a very quick off-road stint to cross the canal we took the group into Fairfield and past the lovely new canal side apartments before heading towards Audenshaw and alongside the old Robertsons Jam factory, which is sadly being pulled down. Up and over the M60 and soon we were heading towards Dukinfield with Paul leading and me bringing up the rear to ensure that there were no stragglers - it's ok if I straggled seeing as I knew the route!

Once in Hyde a climb with max gradient of 6% sorted out the fit from the not-so-fit (me) with Paul and myself bringing up the rear. The other riders hadn't had an enforced 3 month ban from bikes; nor were they riding classic steel machines; nor were they carrying a little extra weight. They were all on alloy or carbon frames with compact gearing and hadn't lost the strength in their legs due to not being able to train. Paul stayed behind to ensure I was ok, seeing as previous rides didn't have climbs as long as this.

Once at the top of Mottram Rd and safely around/over the horrid motorway roundabout, more climbing brought us to Mottram Moor and the super fast descent down Mottram Moor down to the A57 Woolley Lane and the final descent to the outskirts of Glossop. After descending so fast, it was a trifle mind-numbing to then be pootling along at the speed of a snail as we hit traffic and tail-backs on the narrow road into Glossop Centre and the cafe opposite the Market Square.

After receiving funny looks from the bikers outside the cafe - it's a biker cafe in both respects of the term, and they looked at us as though to say 'where's the engine?' - we joined the queue inside for yummy food. Not entirely sure where Simon puts all his food - huge burger, chips and gravy were all snaffled down by this guy!

Soon we were heading back home. It was all going so well until Simon punctured and it seemed to take forever for his tyre to get back onto the rim. I told Paul that I'd head off up towards Mottram Moor seeing as I knew I'd be so slow climbing back up it and that I'd meet the rest of the guys at the top, most likely up at Roe Cross. So off I went. Once across the river my speed dropped and the gears were clunking down towards granny as I began the long crawl back up what I'd previously hit 40mph coming down. Legs spinning I expected to see my lungs clinging onto my teeth as they held onto life; but no, for some odd reason I was managing to just spin my way up the hill. Bizarrely, I wasn't too sure if I was happy with that! The worst was yet to come though as I turned off Mottram Moor and tried to get up Roe Cross Rd and past the little frog in the stone. By now I was in the granny gear and wishing I had a great granny gear as I ground my way up towards a welcome rest and breather.

A rapid descent followed with me passing half the group who had shot off, only for them to pass me again due to unforeseen circumstances. As I happily hurtled along I hit a pothole or lump in the road (dunno which) and saw one of my bottles come flying out of its cage and head towards my face. Luckily my quick reactions stopped the inevitable thwack in the mush as I managed to catch the bottle between my knees. Still hurtling along, looking like a right numpty and coming up to a set of red traffic lights I had to take swift action and swoop into a side road to slam the brakes on and catch the bottle before I could either unclip or fall over!

After another mile of descent we were heading through Stalybridge and past Stamford Park and its boating lake towards the Ashton/Mossley border. After Steve, Janet and Simon turned off for home, soon Arthur, Joe, Paul and I were heading through Daisy Nook and Littlemoss with the intention of getting Arthur back to the Manchester Velodrome and his car.

Once at the velodrome car park a brief chat with Arthur boosted my confidence in my riding ability. Arthur is one of the clubs best riders with not much slowing him down, so when he said that he thought I'd done amazingly well on the ride as there were some tough climbs it went down very well. He said I'm a better rider than I think and jokingly told me not to get fit if I can ride like that when not fit!

Personally, I am impressed with how I did. the last time I came out this was was when I was fit and I struggled more then than I did this time. Granted my legs felt like they'd run out of gas by the time I got to Glossop, but I managed the worst climb of the ride in the way home without stopping; and that for me is a huge thing.

Stats - view route
Glorious, hot, clear, sunny
Maximum speed: 40
Average speed: 12.1
Miles: 27.66
Climbed: 899ft
Time: 2:15

Climbs -
Hyde - Mottram. 2.86 miles with max 6%
Woolley Lane. 0.43 miles with max 8%
Mottram Moor. 0.54 with max 8%
Roe Cross. 0.99 with max 13%


  1. Found the cause of the puncture and it was the rim tape!. I was at home looking at my bike and I suddenly heard a small whooooshing. 2 wheels in a day I thought, something isn't right. The other inner tube had gone!!! So whats the common denominator. Tyres? - no punctured. Spokes? - no sign of coming through . Inner tubes? - possibly but brand new and good brand nah . So nice new veloflex rim tape fitted and no probs. Surprised I haven't had a fault earlier. Not found the location of the bottomless put I put my food though.........

  2. That's not good Si! You not have rim tape fitted in the first place?

    Even Paul commented on your bottomless pit - still, it didn't seem to cause you any problems.....