15 March 2012
In unusually warm weather for the time of year 4 guffers took to the roads to test their legs in the first event of the year. 3 for the long 103m route and one for the shorter 72m route set off from Crewe into the Cheshire countryside. The ride is front loaded with climbing and both medium and long routes reach the mighty Mow Cop after only 15 miles. There was much excitement about the beast in the massed hoards at the start and it did not disappoint. Slightly delayed in our approach after a puncture, Mow Cop starts as you cross a railway line and then wriggles through some bends before it straightens out and you are faced with a wall of road. There are houses here and a pub that provide viewing platforms for the sdaistically inclined spectators to watch riders grind, puff, scrape and chew up the 25% gradient. The descent isn't bad either and after a bit of cramp for Peter we were reunited at the feed station. Early in the day Sam proved the sprightliest and it was his wheel that we had to follow as his efforts quickly reduced the size of the group.
The majority of the climbing over the ride then takes in some fine scenery with glimpses of Jodrel Bank and ancient ruins and a Tour of Britain favourite Gunn Hill. Though we all must confess to have ridden over without really taking much note. The run in proved trickier. On relatively flat roads large groups formed but they were ill disciplined with what felt like three large groups all fighting for the same places. It made for a nervous return and a few dicey moments since hand signals and shouts were too few and far between. Back in Crewe we enjoyed the sunshine, temperatures in the high 20s and some reflections on what we can do in the rest of the season.
Good stuff; organisation, easy access to town
Bad stuff; last 20 miles of the route was a bit dull and the groups didn't work well there.