Monday, 3 August 2009

Solo Standedge

While Gaz took part in the Manchester arm of the Skyride and as the weather promised to be nice on Sunday I decided to have a re-run of the club ride, but all by myself this time. It turned out to be an interesting day!

After dressing in the finest Quickstep livery (bar my Lampre helmet) I had to become a hybrid of teams as the weather when I left home wasn't too warm, so my Discovery Channel windshell went on, but was swiftly removed again after 15 minutes as I'd warmed up quickly and was beginning to overheat and get all clammy. Yuck!

I set off towards Droylsden and promptly got stuck in the tailbacks that'd already built up in the contraflow a mile up the road and sat there for 10 minutes or so before the green light let me turn off towards Littlemoss and the small climb out of Daisy Nook to follow the same route I took last Sunday complete with all its climbs.

Once I got to Uppermill I remembered that the Saddleworth Festival was on so was prepared to have to go elsewhere for lunch on my return leg through the village. Once on the Wool Rd I prepared myself to make Tom Boonen and the rest of the Quickstep team proud as I launched myself up the Col du Standedge. Well, I say launch, but what I really mean is a 7mph crawl. Hmm, I'm not even sure I'm proud of that speed, but I did manage to maintain the speed I had last week up here, so it wasn't too bad.

Once I got about halfway up I spied a pair of cyclists further up the climb. This pair seemed to be getting closer and closer to me. Were they slowing down, I wonder? As I passed them (not sure how that happened!) I looked down at the speedo and I'd somehow picked the pace up - not much but obviously enough for me to overtake. Sadly my glory was short lived as a group of cyclist sped past me up the hill and round the corner out of sight. Damn those superfit people!!

At the junction in Bleak Hey Nook I stopped to watch a helicopter take off, fly around and land again, and repeat this quite a few times. Not long after another cyclist passed me and stopped for a breather round the corner facing the direction I was headed in. He looked whacked!

I mounted Everest and set off in preparation for the rapid swooping descent into Delph. Somewhere along here I lost the other cyclist (at least, he started out following me). I enjoyed the descent so much that I must have looked like the Cheshire cat to anyone who saw me fly down the road.

After a brief section on the flat the road began to kick up again. After a mile of climbing a lovely (not) 10% portion of the road, and not remembering this part of the ride at all, I though it wise to stop at a bus shelter and look at the map on it. Mmmmm, I was enjoying the descent so much that I'd completely missed my turning and was halfway to Scouthead and I didn't particularly want to be heading in that direction. I rode on until the next available turn that'd take me to Diggle and that was when I hit the wall.......Wall Hill Rd that is! I'm so glad that I was descending this road and not trying to get up it as it is evil - signs on it suggest 11% gradient. In places it's 13 or more. Anyway, it's a nightmare junction to get around as it's a very tight left hand turn with the road dropping sharply from the main road. But it made for a good descent despite ending up with 2 hounds barking at my ankles!

Back in Uppermill I stopped at Saints cafe for a bite to eat and had a wander around the festival grounds (in the park behind the cafe), made a few friends and then unlocked Everest from her railing and set off home.

Down through Chew Valley and through Mossley, past where I punctured last week (roadworks have gone now and the road was cleaned) and onto the horrid roadwork section in Stalybridge where the lights are out - it's a large, very busy junction on a hill and with the traffic lights out it proves an interesting junction to turn right at. Thankfully the contraflow further up the road actually stops the traffic moving at anything more than a snails pace; so, provided there're no cars turning right onto my road, it was easy to get out by trailing a car going my way!

Then it was a case of sneaking back up the 20% hill (behind a van that was struggling big time) before getting back onto easier territory towards Mossley's 5 way junction.

Once over there I set off back up a hill I'd already climbed once this ride towards Park Bridge and had the joy of a messed up road - it's steep, twisty, often slick with leaf-litter, single file in most parts, and Tameside Council have decided that it needs to have chicanes, speed humps AND rumble strips too!

After all that fun I stopped off at Daisy Nook for a bacon butty before setting off back up another once-ridden climb to Bardsley before swooping round the one-way systems and getting onto the fast-paced dual carriageway that leads towards home.

A stop at my mom's for her roast pork tea and a welcome rest and soon I was back home with the comforts of a hot bath, a comfy sofa and the Top Gear boys.

Stats - view route
Rather warm, sporadically cloudy and breezy.
Miles: 35.38
Average speed: 12.4mph (smidge quicker than last time)
Climbed: 1207ft


  1. For someone who doesn't like hills you're doing some very odd routes!


  2. Ahh is that why you are doing so well, emulating your hero Boonen and using banned substances :P I aint racing against youuuu :) Only messing. Take it as a compliment ( ihope) You've done way more riding than me these past couple of weeks I feel ashamed. I meant to ride to work today but got up at 9.50 when i started at 10.14.... not good. At least my bikes are still sparkling :(

  3. Red - I am aren't I?!?! I think it's down to having ridden it on the club ride and finding I could ride it, I then want to get better at riding that route. Doubt I'll get much better at it though.

    Crimmey - Like the time I had a steroid injection in my knee the day before the track champs??? Mmmm, dozy duck! My bike is still rather mud splattered from the very wet club ride and Sunday's effort.