Monday, 31 August 2009


It's been a busy old week for me what with working and then trying to fit in some riding and walking. But I managed it and here it is in glorious technicolour for you: (apologies for the long post too):

Wednesday 26th
I decided to go for a walk over at Dovestone reservoir and head off by bus to get to Chew Valley Rd before starting the walk at the end of a new housing estate and going along a dirt track until I reached Bank Lane. Walking along Chew Rd i made the decision to head up the valley to Chew and maybe over to Laddow Rocks, so I set off along the dirt track that takes you pretty much vertically up the side of Indian's Head until you reach the old tram line path which I continued on until I got to the bridge which then takes you over Chew Brook to Chew Rd itself.
After getting onto the main works access road I plodded on up the hill until i reached a little inlet and pond pretty much 95% up the steep valley. At this point the clouds rolled in and threatened rain, so rather than getting soaked with no shelter, I headed back down to the 3 reservoirs in the base of the valley.

Once back at the sailing club I made the decision to walk around all 3 reservoirs. Off I set round the Isle of Skye end of Dovestone, past Yeoman Hey dam wall and along it's side with an access brook on my left, fir trees on either side of me and onto Greenfield dam wall, across it and thus began the fun.

The opposite side of Yeoman Hey isn't a solid path, it's a narrow dirt path that first climbs then falls again, is very squelchy and unstable underfoot and has some big steps down to do from boulders. Bear in mind I'm scared of heights and this had a sheer drop to my right just yards from the path and you can see why I was holding onto the grass each time the path dropped a little. Not that grass can help me if I did fall!
After a while I was back onto terra firma and the gravel path on the far side of Dovestone again, passing Ashway Gap and coming into the car park.

After a brew and a rest I plodded on along Bradley Lane past the back-to-back cottages (very sweet) and began the descent back to the bus stop.

Stats - view route
Cool, windy, cloudy.
Miles: 9.8
Climbed: 968 ft

Sunday 30th
The Middleton CC club ride ride involved me riding over to Heaton Park to meet up with the other riders: Joe, Steve C and Mike. After leaving the flat late I sprinted my way over the 6 miles to the park and found I was early by about 10 minutes! All too soon the others arrived and we set off to meet John W at the Sheepfoot/Bury Rd junction and again were early. Once John arrived we set off (myself with expectations of hilliness that I'd not be able to ride).

We set off and had the fun of going through Agecroft and the valley it sits in (steep sided at that!) before heading over to the A6 for the straight run pretty much to the destination. The route out was pretty boring really as the A6 is a busy(ish) but pretty non-descript road with roundabouts to keep you awake and not much else going for it until you get to the Bolton end of it. Myself and Mike were busy gabbing away a lot of the time anyway and quite often left the others behind, so kept stopping to let them catch up.
Once on Chorley Rd and heading towards Blackrod the roads got a little bit crap. Very rumbly and huge vibrations were making my pelvis (injured bit) and hands (eczema ravaged and nerve damaged)hurt. At this point I asked Joe what he'd done with all the hills as I felt like I'd not even gone uphill at any point of the ride bar Agecroft. He forewarned me that they'd be coming up soon. As I'd ridden near Adlington with Amy and Vikki I'd sussed out that it's be hilly there, but I thought it'd be more hilly on the way there.

Turning up Railway Rd in Adlington and I was soon rewarded with climbs up Babylon Lane and Horrobin Lane to the Great Barn where we all got tortured by wasps!

The return leg was good through the forest and out onto Chorley New Rd for a stint to the Reebok Stadium. At this point I left everybody behind without even realising or trying (maybe my riding has gotten better?) but they caught up at the junction for De Havilland Way and it's joyous roundabouts to get us back onto the A6 again where Joe and John were forever telling us we'd be back at Pendlebury Hospital and our turning. Myself and Mike were convinced we'd missed the turning but were proven wrong as it loomed ahead of us.
Joe had terrible timing along this road as he waited until Mike had passed and I was passing our next turning; so u-turns were in order.

Coming back through Agecroft and we all realised that we had the worst bit to come as the climb back out to Scholes Lane was long and steep (much longer and steeper than the other end). To make matters worse my chain slipped twice while climbing this hill and I very nearly came off at a mini-roundabout plonked halfway up it, but I got to the top and continued on our merry way.

Nearing Heaton Park I mentioned to Mike that my bike sounded a bit like a steam train, to which he agreed, and we both thought it was my rear brake catching the tyre each revolution. When I got to the Park and Joe, John, Steve and Mike had all gone their routes home, i looked closer at Everest and found (to my horror) that my rear wheel had slipped a little and was actually rubbing on the frame. To think I'd ridden all that way and climbed the hills with my wheel like that; I certainly didn't feel like it was causing any problems and it didn't feel that the climbing was harder than I'd normally find it.

After correcting and tightening things up I plodded off to a welcome pint of milk and huge tea at moms before putting more miles in by heading out through Daisy Nook and Ashton, Audenshaw and Openshaw before collapsing on the sofa at home.

Stats - view route
Warm heading out and cold heading home!
Miles: 62.59
Average speed: 12.8
Climbed: 1161ft

Monday 31st
I'd planned to ride with Joby and do one of his routes that he tweaked after I sent him a copy of one of mine. After chatting with Mike yesterday he asked if he could come along too.
So, after meeting him at Ryecroft Hall (after we'd gone to differing places to meet! Whoops!) we set off to meet Joby at the Morrisons in Hyde/Mottram. We thought we'd be 30 minutes so Joby had a pootle around while we rode there. As it was we got there early and had to wait for Joby (sorry for messing you about).

When he arrived, quick introductions were made and we set off with the fun of Mottram Rd ahead of us. I'd forewarned Joby that both Mike and I had ridden many miles the day before with over 1000ft of climbing so we were pretty shattered already; I also forewarned Joby that I'm absolutely crap on hills so to expect to drop me and have to wait at the top of them for me. My predictions were correct as they left me behind and seemed to shoot off up the hill, but were happily (?) waiting for me at the roundabout. Once round there and we shot off down the hill to Mottram Moor and hurtled past cars at warp speed, sadly not breaking the 35mph zone on our pcs.

Once onto the A57 and around a mini-roundabout we had to turn right at the next mini one and I was forewarned that the hills would be coming thick and fast. Primrose Lane is a bit of a climb in itself with 1 mile of 4% but nothing would prepare any of us (except Joby cos he'd ridden all of it before) for the hell that was to be Chunal!
An average of 10% for 2 miles is not an easy thing to deal with, least of all for crappy non-hill climbing me. It's suffice to say that I suffered. I suffered big time. It'd be tough riding it on fresh legs, never mind knackered ones with a pinging pelvis. We all decreed that we'd be walking some of it.

I rode 98% of the bugger and walked the most evil bit. Whether they did or not, i dunno. Maybe they were saying that to ease my mind? Either way, I did my best and tamed the beast. But only with several rest (or is that dying) stops along the way.

After all that up must come a down and boy did it. An amazing descent into Hayfield more than made up for the pain of getting to the top of Chunal. Once at Hayfield we pootled along the slightly lumpy Hayfield Rd into New Mills, where we made the decision to make it a little easier on the legs and head along the A6 through Disley and into Hazel Grove.

At this point myself and Joby decided we'd try to out sprint each other coming along here and were frequently triggering the 'slow down, 30' signs and passing each other at warp speed: Joby maxed out at 37mph and I at 38.4mph. Boy, we were flying!

Up the lumpy Torkington and Otterspool Rds (I'm usually coming the other way down them) and soon we saying our goodbyes as Joby headed off to meet Gaz for a ride and Mike and I set off home.

At Bredbury we turned off along Ashton Rd (again I usually come the other way along it) and flew down the descent before facing the climb back out again into Denton. Shooting through Crown Point we turned off to head back to the Fairfield/Droylsden border where every little hump in the road made us feel we were climbing Mt Everest. Dunno about Mike, but my legs were so devoid of energy that they felt like they were falling off, so I didn't really want to go up Ashton Hill Rd - it's only a little humped bridge but it can feel like hell when you're whacked!
We got up and over that ok and pootled on through Droylsden centre and along until we reached the Haddon hall on Lewis Rd where we said our goodbyes: Mike had the fun of climbing up Berry Brow to get home and I set off again to my parents before heading home to my place.

Once home I looked at the speedo to check my maximum speed coming from Bredbury and down the descent by Castle Hill Rd: I'd managed to hit 48.2mph! Jeeeeeeez!!!!!!!

It was an awesome ride, with leg-busting climbs and great company. Thanks again guys for waiting for me at the top of every climb!

Stats - view route
Warm and humid but with a bastard of a headwind all the way round.
Miles: 36.99
Average speed: 12.5
Climbed: 1273ft


  1. Seems like a good day was had by all, Shame I couldnt make it, at least you wouldnt have been last up Chunal then, not by a long way :0)

  2. Two great rides there; and doing them back to back was always going to be tough.

    I'm sorry to hear your pelvis is still giving you trouble.

    38mph up the hill to Disley. - Wow. I wasn't that quick coming back down the hill the other way.

  3. Gaz: I dunno bout that. Joby said he'd struggle and he was off in a flash (compared to me that is). I think I averaged about 4mph up the blighter!
    There's no way your hip would have coped with it gaz, so don't worry too much bout missing it.

    Red: it was mega tough. If I ride back to back at all it'll be a real easy one for the 2nd ride, so i don't know what possessed me to do the Chunal route the day after Rivington!
    The 38mph was coming down to Disley not up. There's no way I'd get that speed going up anything. I was mighty impressed with it regardless.

  4. Oops, the pelvis always was going to give me problems for a year or two anyway - my consultant said so, so it was no surprise it was giving me gyp, but I didn't expect it to be quite so bad. A week of anti-inflammatories and glucosamine should do the trick. I'll find Sunday a breeze (hopefully)

  5. Congratulat Joby on his fantastic effort too. - I can't seem to leave comments on his blog.

  6. Twas a very enjoyable ride and thanks for the company. Much better than having to do it on my own.