Sunday, 26 July 2009

Hardy Souls

*Amended - just clicked on the route link and it only showed Standedge not the whole route. It should now be fixed. Sorry folks!*

Only 2 hardy souls took part in July's club ride - myself and my brother Paul. Of those in the club who weren't at prior engagements the rest cried off - Simon saying he just couldn't get out at 8am in the storm - some rang to say they weren't coming, others not. As Paul had cycled over to the velodrome to (supposedly) meet the team he text me to ask what I wanted to do. I said we may as well ride seeing as he was already wet and I wanted to get out and ride. So, Paul set off towards my place.

At about 10:10 we set off in the rain (which was forecast days in advance) and we set off towards Droylsden and the dreaded contraflow. A left turn took us to Daisy Nook and the climb over Wilshaw to Hurst with another left turn taking us towards Lees before we got into some climbing territory on Thornley Lane with it's lovely 6 and 9% sections - the 9% being a single laned portion too. The climbing wasn't over at the top of here in Grotton either although it did lessen and maxed out at 4% before an awkward right turn (which doubled back on the road we were coming off) part of the way up a steep hill and we were suddenly hit with 7% then 9% before a long drop into Grasscroft and on through Uppermill to a visitor centre/museum where we discussed where to go next.

Despite being very soggy (the rain hadn't eased off at all) we decided that onwards and upwards was the order of the day and we continued through Uppermill to the Wool Rd junction where a few miles of climbing awaited us. Mapmyride doesn't do Standedge any justice as when the whole climb was plotted it came out at a paltry 6 or 7%, however once you break it down into sections the REAL* Standedge climb comes through. And somehow I made it to our destination on the hill - Bleak Hey Nook and it's extremely evil junction.
After stopping for photos and to cheer another few riders on up the hill, we turned left at the junction and found ourselves on a rapid descent into Delph on a road that actually had a sign warning of the angle of descent - 8%. On through Dobcross and back into Uppermill to give Saddleworth's The Cyclery a conundrum (the same conundrum I have given multiple bike shops in the UK - where to obtain a co2 cartridge holder that attaches to the bottle cage bosses. After a moment of puzzlement I took the guy out to my bike to shop him what I meant and he said what I knew he'd say: "I've never seen one of those in my life!" After searching through all his info in the shop, he came to the conclusion that they can't obtain any from anywhere. No surprise there as I've had multiple orders with multiple places cancelled as they can't get hold of them anymore! I have one on order that so far seems to still be on order; only downside is that it is coming from Australia from an Oz online bike shop!

Anyway, back to the ride. After bacon butties and coffee in a lovely little cafe we set off on the return leg in the dry! Hurrah, the rain had stopped!

After coming down through Chew Valley and Greenfield, then into Lower Mossley, just by another contraflow and roadwork area, the world could hear "PUNCTURE PUNCTURE PUNCTURE!!!!". Yup, I'd got another puncture in another contraflow. This time my rear wheel had gone, but after 10 or so minutes Paul had the tube replaced and had it pumped up with my hand pump - he didn't want me to waste a co2 canister, bless him, so he used brute force to push air into the tube! Hoping it'd hold til I got back we set off again after walking a fair way away from the blasted roadworks before pedalling through Heyrod and a turning that I knew was steep and evil, but didn't realise quite so until I plotted it on mapmyride - it averages 20% and is a little humpy in profile.

Once round here and approaching a big busy junction, with yet more roadworks, we got stuck in the middle of the road for a while (thankfully everyone else was stuck too). After getting onto the temporary road surface and up another lumpy 17% section we came to another contraflow which we opted against given my track record of punctures in them, so we snuck up a side road overtaking a car that was having problems getting up the 20% gradient at the start of it, and soon had a tricky junction to contend with before getting onto familiar territory of Stamford Park and Curzon Rd before descending down Vicarage and through Daisy Nook into Droylsden and the Metrolink roadworks (another contraflow!).

All too soon we were at my Mom's for a roast pork tea and cake (twas my Dad's birthday on Saturday) before I set off back to my place 1 mile up the road.

Standedge - view the whole climb
*The REAL standedge* - The breakdown of the climb:
Wool Rd - 43ft climbed in 0.36 mile. Max gradient 7%. Min 6%. Mostly 7%.
Standedge Wool Rd to Diggle - 253ft climbed in 1 mile. Max gradient 8%. Min 2%. Mostly 8%.
Standedge Diggle to Bleak Hey - 197ft climbed in 0.58 mile. Max gradient 16%. Min 6%. Mostly 16%.
Bleak Hey Nook junction - 16% right on the turning.

Stats - view route
Rainy (very), mild/cool, windy
Average speed: 12.3mph
Miles: 30.34
Climbed: 994ft.

SIS PSP22 Energy 500ml
Taut Isotonic 500ml


  1. I'm feeling lazy, I don't do hills like this at all!

  2. Yet another very hilly ride. It's been ages since i've attempted anything remotely as hilly. I guess i'm going to put a few hilly rides in.

  3. Only 2 people?
    That was a bit of a let down!

    Wish I could have made it now!

  4. Good going you 2. So dedicated and eager. I rode in the rain last week and didn't like it one bit. Took me 4 hrs to get the bike back up to scratch. Thats my excuse anyway. hmm you having a hell of a lotta punctures!! Any idea why? low pressure? rim tape? innertubes put on wrong? Sharp objects? bad luck?

  5. Trio - neither do I normally. You know me, I like to steer well away from anything remotely hilly!

    Red - you live in a hillier area than I do, you have no excuse ;oP It's not something I would normally have tried to ride, I have enough problems doing my hill reps nevermind anything as sustained as this was! I don't know what's up with me!

    Joby - that's nothing new. This isn't the first time it's just been me and my brother on a club ride. It was a let down as it's a route the others would have loved and they knew it was going to be rainy, yet at the club room 2 days before it was all talk of this run. Sigh....

    Crimmy - only had 2 punctures recently and that was only due to having to go through tons of roadworks. As the works near me are massive and for a massive project the roads are really messed up with crap all over the place. If they closed the road completely until they finished, the road would be closed for 3yrs as that's how long the project is going to take!
    I have high pressure, tubes on proper, rim tape. It's just pure bad luck...and crap roads!!

    As for the rain????? I hate riding in it too, mainly cos I have to wear glasses and rain on specs....not a good combo!