Another 330am start and straight in to Mow Cop Station road (killer mile), which was a good call as it was over quickly. The descent down to Biddulph was a mix of dark and light… has the trees covered the road I need my lights. The ride up and over Biddulph Moor and down to Rudyard Lake was slow and steady as I was waiting for the climb up and around the Roaches. The section between Rudyard and Tittsworth Reservoir was more uphill than I remembered.
I have never undertaken the climb up to the Roaches so I was a little surprised by how easy it was. The only real steepness was as you pasted between the farms before you dropped on (climb on) to the Roaches road which takes you up to Roach End. The route circles back and joins the main A54 road (Allgreave), this section offers little surprise, but the little climbs keep your legs warm.
The decent into Wildboarclough was nice but there are potholes so be careful. The road has a gradually climbs which leads you to the A537. During this section, I had a bird of prey following me along the riverside which was excellent. The junction at A537 offers excellent vistas. The next significant kick is the climb up to Kettleshulme. However, the descent off the other side into Whaley Bridge is excellent, I even overtook a motorbike which was procrastinating. However, the cobbled climb at Bollington was not necessary!
As always a stop for Coffee at Costa in Marple was lovely as the staff are always friendly and willing to fill the water bottles. I had a warm sandwich this time has I had not had any real food for about 14hours, this was a good call as I felt ready for the second half of the ride.
Leaving Costa behind I was ready for the long climb out of Marple but to be honest, because I just put it into an easy gear and plodded my way up I reached the top and the right turn feeling strong. I will definitely use this strategy again. The push for Macclesfield offered some unexpected climbs but there was a nice duck pond has you skirt Macclesfield. I came across a lot of cycling groups/ clubs during this stage.
The final push for the A54 road (Allgreave), offers a climb with a sting in its tail (Withenshaw Lane)… I did not have the leg to get me over the steepness of the climb. Once I arrived at the top I saw the next climb on the A54 up to the anterior waiting for me (Croker Hill). However, from previous rides, I know that it was a fast descent down to the crossroads and the left turn to Bolsey Sawmill, which quickly arrived. The last real climb was up onto the Cloud which you traverse before dropping into Congleton.
I was going to head to the car but I changed my mind and stopped for an ice scream at Congleton garden centre which was a great decision as the next section along the bottom of Mow Cop, back to the car, too forever.
Organisor: Chris Keeling-Roberts
Audax List: Audax Ride List